This is a follow-up to my colleague Peter Mirus’s article about Talent, Time, and Tenacity being indispensable aspects of a successful software implementation.

Any of you who know me probably also know that I’m an avid participant and fan of endurance sports. So with the Tour de France in full swing and my colleague Peter Mirus having recently written about the importance of tenacity in software implementation, it struck me that there’s no better example than the Tour for the importance and value of tenacity for achieving most any goal. And particularly the goal of successfully implementing a new information system.

In the Tour this year, we’ve seen many of the obstacles that riders face… some traditional ones such as bad weather and cobbles (poor Chris Froome!), “bonking” or running out of energy, and even rookie fans in England who think it’s a good idea to take a selfie facing an oncoming wall of cyclists going 30+ mph.

Despite these almost inevitable setbacks (selfies aside), the riders charge on. Do they adjust their tactics? Certainly. Does the overall team goal change? Not in a broad sense. As Mark Cavendish crashes out, Mark Renshaw steps up to fill his role, and with Froome out Richie Porte steps up to fill his shoes… er, cleats. Months of disciplined training and a clear understanding of their goal enables these teams to adapt to unforeseen but inevitable complications that emerge.

The Community IT cycling team (#hyperbole) had the opportunity to put this into practice recently at the Air Force Cycling Classic. We had planned out exactly what we thought it would take to win the Corporate Challenge and had the riders to do just that. But it was going to push the limits of our team. When the race started 10 minutes late, the pace we had trained for was no longer going to be sufficient for achieving that goal. We had to make a quick decision to split the team into groups that could do 7 laps and those who could do 6. It paid off, and we won by a single lap over Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Clark Construction. Had we tried to stick to the original plan, we would not have achieved our goal.

With our event, as with the Tour teams, a clear sense of the goal and good planning to understand what it will take to achieve it (i.e., disciplined preparation), puts one in a position to deal with the unexpected circumstances. Unforeseen circumstances with software implementations may include a limitation of the solution that did not come out in the initial evaluation, the departure of a key team member, other initiatives demanding the attention of project participants, or more. With clear outcomes, a solid project plan in place, and disciplined execution underway, as obstacles arise they are identified much earlier and this offers a much better opportunity to adapt. Project teams can absorb the unforeseen circumstances and keep charging on toward implementation success.

If you suspect your implementation project is in need of additional leadership capacity, Community IT is only an email or phone call away!