Understanding the “Bumper Car Strategy” and How It Can Help Your Microsoft Dynamics Implementation

By Tom LaForce | July 24, 2023

Recently, a Stoneridge team event got me thinking about how clients can approach Microsoft Dynamics implementations as they guide their team through learning and utilizing a new solution.

When I learned that our work team was going to Whirlyball, I asked Bing what it was. I found out it was a team game that involved shooting whiffle balls at a goal while moving around in bumper cars.

I've dubbed this the "Bumper Car Strategy", and my goal with this blog is to explain it to you in hopes it will help you and your team to operate at peak performance when implementing a new software solution such as the ones in the Microsoft Dynamics suite.

Bumper Car Strategy: Be Alert When Managing Your Microsoft Dynamics Implementation

As a kid, I loved bumper cars. After finally being tall enough to drive one myself, I quickly learned the importance of looking around so that when I saw a hit coming, I could take evasive action or brace for collision. It was only when some random kid snuck up from behind that bumper cars became less fun.

After playing my first game of Whirlyball, I noticed my neck hurt. After a couple more games, the reading glasses that were hanging from my shirt were missing. It had been 40+ years since I drove a bumper car, and that may have been part of the problem.

Microsoft Dynamics implementations

Above: the author not following his own strategy and about to lose his glasses.

The main problem, however, was that the game itself prevented me from sticking with my strategy of paying attention to what was going on around me. Whenever my focus shifted from driving to catching, passing, or shooting the ball; I would get smashed, never seeing it coming. Clearly, I couldn’t play and drive at the same time. And based on the photo, I can see I’m not following my own rules and am about to lose those glasses hanging from my shirt.

A Microsoft Dynamics Implementation Requires the Same Strategy

Implementing software is a lot like driving a bumper car. The project’s technical work consumes most, if not all, of the team’s attention. Timelines, budgets, testing events, data migration and validation, bug fixing, and dozens of other activities are more than most human beings can pay attention to on their own. This means nobody is paying attention to the people, and that’s when problems start.

Someone’s Going to Ram into Your Project

In Whirlyball you could feel reasonably sure nobody on your team would intentionally smash into you, but everyone from the other team would do whatever they could to keep you from reaching the goal. Ideally, many of your coworkers will feel like they are on your team and help you get your project across the finish line. But that’s not everyone.

Some people are unaware of what’s going on and will accidentally smash into you. Others are afraid your software is going to make things harder for them. Some thought they had a better idea and will do what they can to prove they were right by causing problems for your project.

To overcome this, you need another set of eyes (and ears) to focus on end users, making sure their voices are heard and their needs are addressed. This is what change management accomplishes on the project. While you drive the technical implementation, they keep an eye on the end users.

When I play this role for my clients, I stay alert to people who could hurt the project. One client told me to “let them know if the train is going off the tracks.” Sound familiar? They were asking me to tell them if some random person was about to slam into their bumper car.

There are going to be people who can throw your project off track. That’s a given. It’s much harder for them to do so when you see them coming. If there’s going to be a problem, you want to know about it sooner rather than later, so you can prepare. Better yet, you can prevent it from happening. Make sure your project has change management, so someone always has your back.

Stoneridge Can Keep People from Smashing into Your Microsoft Dynamics Implementation

If you just need some assistance, we’ll help you build out change management plans and be there to check in on the progress you are making.

If you expect a lot of challenges, then we’ll partner with you from the beginning to success. We can help you predict, prevent, and mitigate people-side risk.

Click here to learn more about our change management services, or visit this link to contact us.

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