Blaming poor user adoption on “User Resistance” may be convenient and it may shift the onus for taking action from you to the users, but it may not be accurate. There may be other factors causing your adoption problems and the responsibility for taking action may fall on YOU, not the users!

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Changes can be quite difficult. As one has to balance the myth of user resistance with also the issue of listening to granular to the users. Sometimes users will not know what they want or be resistant at first to change. But at the other side just plowing forward is not the answer.

David Dejewski

I’m inclined to agree with Jason’s opening paragraph.

I resist the use of the term “user.” It’s become sort of a nameless, faceless, de-humanization of people who are eager to use automation to help them do stuff more efficiently.

I doubt that people are as resistant to technology as some assume. Latest statistics on purchase of technologies, and market share of companies who produce technology well indicate otherwise. A lot of people are buying technology and applying it quite well to their lives. Resistance to iPod or iPhone – not much. Resistance to the new iPad, well…

The point is when the people designing a product do their homework on the people they are designing the product for, the resistance they get is much lower. When the people designing a product focus merely on the bits and bytes / the elegance of the code – when designers don’t viscerally understand the environment their tools are being deployed into – or when cost, schedule and performance overshadow operational outcomes – resistance is high.

Market research and engaging ‘customers’ would go a long way towards improving outcomes.

Scott Span

I read the post. I’ve led change management around multiple federal ERPs and I agree that blaming the “user” is not always correct, and blame in general resolves nothing. I agree with much of your “Things to think about”. I’ve found that all to often user adoption is slow due to poor communication, weak change management, and often lack of proper management of client expectations.
In several ERP implementations I’ve worked on, user resistance was high because the users themselves were simply ignored, or their needs and wants were not assessed from the onset, so the technology being implemented could not be properly designed to fit the role the user must perform daily. Government agencies often hire large firms to implement their technology, and only sometimes to manage change and communications in parallel. This approach is not always successful. I’ve worked for the large firms, I’ve worked for the small firms, and now I work for myself as I became frustrated with exactly what you mention here. The “users” have a responsibility to adopt the new system, but they can only do so if their opinions and needs have been heard, the changes and reasons for them have been communicated, information is given to them about their new roles, and training is provided – throughout the implementation.