CHANGE MANAGEMENT SERIES: Executing a Software Change

/, Organization, Productivity, Tech Tips & Resources/CHANGE MANAGEMENT SERIES: Executing a Software Change

Thanks for joining us again for the third and final post in our series about changing legal software.  Last week, we covered why change is hard and how to prepare for a software change.  The week before, we covered why change is ethically necessary.  Today, we cover how to actually execute a change.  Once you’ve finished this post, check out our full eBook “Guide to Changing or Implementing Legal Software” for a full recap and concrete action plan documents.

Once you’ve prepped your law firm staff for the transition to a new software system, you must now survive the actual process of changing over. There are some core strategies that will help you survive any technology change even if it includes software and hardware.

  • Flexibility. Entering the implementation phase of your technology change with a flexible attitude and policy is critical to keeping staff frustration levels low. You must be willing to adjust your expectations around workload and office hours. Consider giving your staff more time to complete tasks and letting people go home early after a hard day of dealing with technology-related issues.
  • Time management. Schedule your time and the time of your employees wisely. Don’t overbook meetings and work on technology transition dates.
  • Raise awareness. If your technology change will impact customers let them know how they will be impacted and in what timeframe.
  • Check in with your tech contact person. Check in with your contact at the technology firm. If your contact person has changed, make sure the new person is on the same page with your team regarding how the technology change will be handled.

Follow best practices for hardware disposal. If you’re disposing of hardware, be sure to follow practices that protect client data and the environment. Consider recycling retired hardware.

  • Purge unnecessary documents. Triage your digital files and determine which you will keep and which you will archive.
  • Schedule a training. Once you’ve set up your new system, arrange trainings for your staff.
  • Collect questions and concerns. Once your employees are using the new system, get their feedback. What’s working? What’s confusing? What are the unexpected problems that have come up? Take all of your questions and concerns to your point person. Go through this process 30/90/180 days after you’ve implemented a new software system or other technology change.
  • Schedule a follow-up training. Once you’ve had your initial training and you’ve received feedback from your staff, schedule a second training where questions and concerns will be addressed.
  • Adjust your expectations. You shouldn’t expect that business will go on as usual during a technology transition. Staff won’t be able to perform to their normal standards until well after they’ve adjusted to the change. Accept and support this as much as possible.
  • Integrate new technology. You should integrate your new technology into your existing processes. And check in with staff to find out what their new pain points are. What is working or not working with the new system integrations?
  • Schedule ongoing training. Learning new technology tools isn’t just a one-shot deal, it’s an ongoing process. Even with familiar systems, you should have ongoing training opportunities for new and veteran employees. Don’t allow anyone to skip these trainings. Remember, software gets new updates all the time that can significantly improve your productivity. Your employees should understand how to utilize these software updates. Working in non-updated agile software is just as bad as holding on to outdated systems!

When it comes to effectively implementing new technology changes, the time to act is now. While making software and hardware changes isn’t easy, it’s not optional either. Law firms who fail to use technology tools that will benefit their clients risk being negligent in their duties. Plus, once the switch is made many law firms grow and thrive like never before – the pain of the process is well worth it!

By |April 2nd, 2019|

About the Author:

For years, Josh has helped lawyers become more organized, productive, and profitable. A trained litigator, Josh came to Smokeball from a large east-coast law firm where his practice focused on franchise, insurance, marine, and general litigation. His work with Smokeball, and his continued passion for what he does each day, is driven by a desire to help lawyers and their staff do better in every way. Knowing well the stress and strain put on today’s legal professional, he regularly focuses on improving work and life in the law. He has traveled the country working with and learning from lawyers and their staff. Josh speaks regularly to bar associations about successful law firm practices and other legal topics. Recent notable engagements have been with the Chicago Bar Association, the Illinois State Bar Association, and the Missouri Bar’s Solo and Small Firm Conference. In addition to his work at Smokeball, Josh serves on the Writing Resource Center staff at The John Marshall Law School. Besides legal technology, his research interests include judicial decision-making, jury decision-making and psychology, and legal writing. He has written and overseen research exploring causal effects of sex/gender on federal appellate court decision-making, and assisted with research for a forthcoming textbook on judicial decision-making. Additionally, Josh sits on the Board of Directors of Chicago-based Community Activism Law Alliance and on the Board of Directors of Chicago Fringe Opera Company. Josh holds his J.D., cum laude, from Washington University in St. Louis, where he served as a Senior Editor of the Wash. U. Law Review, held the prestigious Thompson Coburn Research Fellowship, served as Research Assistant to then-Vice-Dean (now Chancellor) Andrew D. Martin, and clerked at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. He holds a B.A. in Political Science and a B.M. in Music Performance with Honors Scholar distinction from the University of Connecticut, making him a Huskies basketball fan through and through. Follow Josh’s activity on LinkedIn, and keep up with new articles on the Smokeball Blog.