• Canguru

Investing in an IT system but not getting the return you expected? 

Learn why and how you can avoid this in the future.

Why is change hard?

People don’t like change. Our entire human being is designed to keep everything stable and in an optimum range even when our environments change. Some people prefer stability more than others but in general people don’t like to change.

Introducing a new IT system and making sure it’s adopted within the impacted teams, in other words making people change their behaviour, therefore isn’t easy. 

Not only because we are designed for homeostasis but our daily habits, routines and behaviours are part of our identity. Asking people to change is asking them to abandon a part (big or small) of their identity. For example when you implement a CRM system and you get instant reports, the team member previously known as the excel wizard can’t identify as excel wizard anymore.

Telling people to adopt the new system without any further support, therefore, in most cases fails. 

By connecting, training, coaching, and supporting the impacted teams during the entire project you can guide them to adopt the desired behaviour. This might go a bit slower but will help long lasting adoption.


How does CANGURU approach change?

We base our change management approach partly on the self-determination theory. This is a psychological theory by Deci and Ryan about motivation that is based upon three basic human psychological needs. The theory has been researched in multiple contexts with varying groups, from children to students and employees. The self-determination theory can help you introduce an IT system and facilitate employees to adopt the IT system. Why? Because making sure these needs are met will free up energy for your employees to learn something new and will keep them motivated.

1. Autonomy

People have the need and desire to be active agents of their own life. This does not mean people want to be completely independent from others (see third psychological need), but they want to feel in control by, for example, having different options when impacting themselves. 2. Competence

The desire of feeling skilled and capable is the second basic psychological need that people experience. People want to master tasks and learn a variety of skills.

3. Relatedness People want to belong, they have a need to be connected, interact and care for others. 


Of course, these are individual needs meaning that one individual has more or less need for autonomy, competence or relatedness but in general every person experiences these needs.

Keep in mind this isn’t only important for your teams but for the entire company as research has found a trickle down and trickle up effect. This means, if a manager has an unfulfilled need, he/she will pass this on to his/her team. In a lesser extent this works bottom up as well. Of course the trickle down and up effect can be positive as well.


How can you translate these needs into concrete actions during project implementation?

  1. Communicate about the upcoming change and what you expect from the impacted team.

  2. Involve the teams who will be impacted by the project during the exploration phase so they can give their ideas.

  3. Communicate with noncontrolling language, avoid saying you must or should and try to use consider and think about instead.

  4. Give the teams and/or individuals in the team options to choose from, for instance let them decide when they will start working with the new system or how they prefer to be trained.

  5. Let the team come up with best practices or a way of working with the new system.

  6. Foresee enough training and ‘playing’ time for the impacted teams

  7. Focus on the effort of learning new behaviour and way of working (process) instead of the outcome (result) or how fast they are adopting the change.

  8. Interact with people through respectful inquiry (ask open questions and really listen to people’s ideas and/or worries) and act upon it when possible.

  9. Lead by example, you can’t expect somebody to change their behaviour and way of working if you aren’t adjusting yourself to the new way of working.


Self-determination is only a part of our change management approach and it is completely integrated within our project management approach.


Do you want to know more about change management in IT? Contact us and we are glad to set up a custom approach for you.

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©2020 by Canguru.

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