A reader asks: My director (my boss's boss) has tasked me with researching new software (project/resource management) for my team to use. She asked me specifically because I'm good with technology/systems/organization. I've found a few good options that seem to fall into the categories of (1) offering more features that we want but are more complicated, or (2) offering fewer features but are simpler/easier to use. In an ideal world, I would prefer option 1 because I know that the obstacles can be overcome with training, and then we have more features to use. But many people on my team are (a) not tech savvy, and (b) averse to any change at all. One of these people is my direct manager. Part of me wants to say that I shouldn't care how much people *want* to do new things; if they want to work in the 21st century, they should accept that you need to have a basic level of understanding of how computer systems work and be willing to learn new things as technologies change. But I know I don't have the authority to push that on people, and I know that my manager won't hold people to that standard because he'll be one of those balking at having to learn a new program. I know that my director should then be the one to push this, then, but I'm not sure how much she is going to do that. So I guess my question is: when you know that people are going to balk at a new process/program, do you take that into account when setting up the process, even if it means not getting the ideal? Or do you just go with what you think is the best solution, and push it through?
It depends on a range of factors:
In your case, I’d go back to the director, tell her what the trade-offs are between the two types of systems, and ask her for guidance. You could even prepare a recommendation that offers two different systems – laying out the advantages and disadvantages of each. When you do this, you want to be very upfront about your concerns that some people on staff will balk at learning the new technology of the more sophisticated system. Don't downplay those concerns because you think those people are in the wrong; if you do, and then the new system never takes off because people resist it, its failure might potentially reflect on you. You'll boost your own credibility by being honest about the likely reception on your team.