A Story of Colossal Implementation Failure – But Not The Kind You Think

I have spent 25 years in the software implementation business. I have two principles for success that I’ve told each of my clients:

  1. Trial and error is not an implementation strategy, and
  2. Don’t do a terrific job customizing the new software to work the way your old software does.

If you can follow these, you are well on your way to success.

So, here’s a personal anecdote along these lines.

My story starts last week when I finally caved in and upgraded my Blackberry to the new Samsung Galaxy SIII running Android. I loved my Blackberry and the ability to push email was revolutionary (key word is “was”) and the ability to be notified every time an email arrived was revolutionary. On my Blackberry, I had an envelope with a red star to tell me I had new emails, and I could consolidate multiple email accounts into that single notification. I loved that.

After two days of playing with the new Samsung, my son asked how I was doing. “I’m doing okay,“ I said, which he knew meant “not so good.” There was no joy and elation that came with my new toy. “What’s wrong?” he asked. “I’m just struggling to get this to work right.” I said. He asked again, “So, what’s wrong?”

I explained how my Blackberry worked and that I was having problems configuring email and getting notifications. “I cannot even tell when I get a new email,“ I told him. He gave me a puzzled look. “And, I can’t even look at the screen and see anything that tells me I have new messages.” He was somewhere between a smirk and panic. And then, I said it “I just want it to work like my Blackberry!”

At that precise moment, I was struck in the head with a lightning bolt from one of the implementation gods. Worlds collided as I realized that I had just said “I just want it to work like my Blackberry!” I just broke one of my own rules, but I saw the light. With that, I just handed him the phone. “Here, do what you can,“ I surrendered. ”Show me the new way.”

He has been on Android for more than two years. In about 10 minutes, we had straightened out email, completely fixed notifications, worked on the menus so I could easily access the things I use, download a few apps that he loves, identified some shortcuts, and generally “fixed” what I had done in two days to make my new phone work like my old phone. The ‘new’ way not only gave me what I want, but tons more.

So, I like my new phone 100x better now that I hired a qualified configuration consultant (my son) who could put my trial and error to rest and stop me in my tracks from butchering the entire Android platform simply to make it work like my old Blackberry did. Now, maybe I need a change management consultant who can work with me on the “voice recognition” stuff?

In any event, the clouds have cleared, the thunder is gone, and the skies are crystal clear, and if you send me an email to, my phone will alert me to your email, allow me to read it in two swipes, and I can reply faster than I wrote this blog. Now that is progress!

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2 Responses

  1. […] own personal experience of trying to get his new phone to act like his old phone.  (That post is here, in case you missed […]

  2. cheryl pavlacka says:

    Love this story. How true it is! I will use this in my implementation design meetings, if I may!

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