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There is a risk involved in any change

Every time we undertake a change, we are taking a risk.

We set out to achieve a certain outcome but we know there’s a high risk that things won’t always work out as hoped:

  • It may take longer, or
  • It may cost more, or
  • It may not achieve the desired business outcome

The same risks exist when selecting a new technology solution.

So, how do we usually deal with the risk?

Approach 1: We avoid the risk by avoiding the change

If change means risk, then no change means no risk, right?

We fight to keep the status quo for as long as possible so we don’t lose money, time, or reputation.

And while we keep the status quo, our competitors take the risks and gain the rewards.

Approach 2: We go ‘all in’

We feel the fear and do it anyway.

It may take longer and cost more than we had guessed, but we’ll get something delivered.

In time, people will hopefully forget the time and money involved.

It’s not a bad approach if you have plenty of money to throw at the problem.

Approach 3: We tread carefully

We know we have to do something and we know it involves risk, so we try to mitigate the risk.

  • We develop detailed plans and designs
  • We seek buy-in from all stakeholders
  • We document what we think we want to the nth-degree
  • We seek detailed RFP proposals from 3rd parties
  • We evaluate these proposals with balanced scorecards
  • We select the preferred 3rd party vendor
  • We negotiate the nitty-gritty details about what we think needs to be done and by when
  • We involve Procurement and Legal to lock down the contracts

Then, and only then, we get on with actually doing something.

And when our plans don’t match reality?

We work hard trying to get reality to match the plan.

It may take longer and cost more than we hoped, but we’ll get something delivered.

And hopefully, that something delivers a desirable business outcome.

It does not have to be this way

Internet-based technology and solutions allow us to try things:

  • Before we know what we want
  • Before we know what’s possible
  • Before we know if we can trust the word of the vendor

We can try before we buy.

Place a small bet.

Learn something.

I promise you, your next bet will be better informed.

Small bets. Small steps. Small spends. Small risks.