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Upgrades - Moving too fast or too slow

Do you need to be moving faster or moving slower or are you just right?  There are times when you need to be doing any one of these or maybe all three.  Sometimes progress is moving too slowly and you need to speed things up.  Other times things are going too fast and you need to slow them down.  What we hope for is that we are moving at exactly the right pace.

Users and Management will either follow your lead or derail things.  They either are on board of they are pushing too fast or dragging their heals.

Here are some tips to this "moving" question.

When things are moving too slow...

  • Start thinking about the needs of tomorrow and start talking about them with your coworkers.  This will start them thinking about changing things and generate a desire to move faster.
  • Get signed up for Beta programs with the software you use.  Get others involved in seeing what the next release will look like
  • Have your reseller come in and do some demos
  • Gather a list of features that you can instantly embrace.  List also those that "fix" your problems and those that will increase your productivity.
  • Try to put a number (cost) on the lost productivity that happens when using old tools.  If something takes 10 clicks now and only takes 4 clicks in the new software, that's a 60% increase in productivity.

When people want you upgrade too fast...

  • Define the cost of upgrading.  Include software cost, training, lose of productivity and more.  It is not cheap!
  • Find out who else has moved to the new software and see how they are doing.  Bring the data, both good and bad, to management to review.
  • Get in the habit of planning your upgrades.  Plan out the whole process and then work the plan.  Most people will respect your timeline if there are no other outside influences for upgrading, like client demands.
  • Make sure you have and answer for the "when" questions.  If you do not have one, then people will force one on you.
  • Most people I talk to are skipping a release.  So if they upgraded to 2006, they will be waiting until 2008 comes out to upgrade.  Trying to upgrade every 12 months is tough.