How Debreuck Neirynck Introduced A New App to Coach Partners
THE INTERPLAY OF SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT AND CHANGE MANAGEMENT
“Are you able to develop a new price and planning application for us?” A question that at first glance seems simpler than it is. Development is one thing, introducing the new software in the organization in a smooth way, something completely different.
A story which illustrates why new software development and change management have to go hand in hand. Discover the interesting collaboration between Debreuck Neirynck and Coach Partners.
Efficient and Consistent Price Management
With over 400 buses and coaches, 600 employees and 8 offices spread over Belgium, Coach Partners is a well-established coach company, providing both passenger transport and travel organization. As each establishment had previously used its own pricing and planning system, it was necessary to provide a new software solution that focused on both consistency and efficiency. It’s important to note that there are many factors that have an impact on the price: the amount of drivers, whether it’s a domestic or foreign trip, fuel prices, the amount of parking space, etc. Something that makes an efficient application even more necessary. In addition, the processing time to generate an offer when asked by a potential customer had to be reduced. Last but not least, it’s crucial to deploy a smart application, which monitors constantly all the variables. This in order to see which parameters are profitable and which are too expensive. So, the scope of the project in short: developing software which guarantees an efficient and consistent price maintenance.
On top, there’s another tremendous challenge. New software and a new application translate into a completely new way of working. In other words, an enormous challenge in terms of change management. A new software application always creates resistance among users. It is therefore important to properly guide these users and to convince them of the necessity of the renewal. By means of a clear and transparent guidance, the implementation can be carried out more efficiently.
A Well-defined Delivery Plan
For assignments that have a major impact on the internal business processes, it is appropriate to handle a staged, project-based approach. This to allow the change to take place in phases and to deliver and implement the new software in a successful way. The full delivery plan was aligned with all the key values of the change management process. In addition, it was decided to carry out the rollout of the new application per establishment, in order to guide the organization through the transformation in a controlled and well-coordinated way.
The latter requires an efficient collaboration between the Coach Partners workforce and the people of Debreuck Neirynck. A collaboration in which Debreuck Neirynck took the lead in the area of project management. This with the purpose to provide the best possible guidance to employees throughout the entire implementation process. Throughout the whole process Gert Handschoewerker, business analyst at DN, took on the role of project manager.
Now, let’s have a closer look to the overall delivery plan for the rollout of the new CP-Engage.
1. Change Management
In the first stage, it is important to give the involved employees a good idea of what awaits them. This by means of a demo of their role / activities within the new application. This demo is done in a small group so interaction can easily take place and the necessary questions can be asked.
2. Installation and configuration
After everyone was informed about the upcoming changes, the necessary information had to be gathered to carry out the configuration correctly. During this period the required installations were also executed.
3. Startup of users
Once the installation and configuration were done, the most crucial part of the full process had to be tackled: educate the users on how to work with the new application. To make sure all went smoothly, it was decided to provide each user with a personal training. No classic classroom explanation, but practical guidance for the (key) users in performing their tasks in the new application.
4. Gathering feedback
During the first use by the employees, all kinds of questions come up. These questions are treated in the startup and/or included in the backlog of the application. When the feedback is a “blocking issue” in which the functioning of the organization threatens to be compromised, this will immediately be treated as a bug.
5. Final delivery
Once the users are trained, feedback gathered, required configurations executed and bugs fixed, it’s time for the final delivery of the application. This takes the form of a well-described and defined delivery document.
Avoid Shock Therapy, Establish Internal Calm
The moral of this story: developing new software is one thing, implementing it efficiently and smoothly in an organization is another kettle of fish.
It requires a well thought-out step-by-step plan, defining the complete setup of the process. Only by means of such a plan, it is possible to avoid shock therapy and to prepare the users for new things to come. It’s a way to persuade users about the force and necessity of the renewal, something crucial when implementing a brand new application.
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Debreuck Neirynck developed a new application for us for efficient and consistent pricing and planning. But more important is the smooth way in which they implied this. They delivered a very clear delivery plan and all our employees were well prepared for the new things to come. Absolutely a good piece of change management.