My name is Shay Cleary and I have worked for the MN Supreme Court Information Technology Division for the past 4 years as a documentation specialist. My division is responsible for the technology used throughout the Minnesota Court System. Sometimes, the technology we implement, causes widespread change.You are responsible for providing service to the public, support to judges, attorneys, and processing court cases.You have been charged with implementing a new computer system in your county that will replace the software you and most of your staff have used for their entire career- many for close to 20 years.You have three months to do itYou worry about falling behind, losing staff, and failure
The Minnesota Courts are implementing a new court case management system called MNCIS which will replace the current 20 year old technology used to process the over 2M court cases that the courts handle each year. In addition to being based on old technology, the current system is not relational and does not easily share information between counties. For example, you could receive a parking ticket across the river in Ramsey county, and could not see the case from Hennepin county using the current system. MNCIS will change all this and allow for information to instantly be shared statewide.
A court case management system is used to process court cases, maintain court calendars, and process financial transactions. such as filing fees and speeding tickets. This is basically the computer system used by counties to do everything and is THE biggest technology change they will likely ever have.
MNCIS is being implemented county by county, and currently 23 of Minnesotas 87 counties have bee implemented from the old system to MNCIS. The entire state is scheduled to be completed at the end of 2006.Statistically, 50 to 75 percent of change initiatives fail. Lewis, L. (2000). Communicating Change: Four Cases of Quality Programs. The Journal of Business Communication, 37, 128-155
Technology and public sector changes are at greater risk of failure. due to the perception that technology will automatically make people change, and that changes in the public sector tend to be more pressured, have tighter timeframes, and have higher levels of burnout. Public sector change is also more frequent and thought of as a more negative experience than in the private sector
A recent example of this is the FBIs consideration of scrapping a 170M computer system overhaul which is experiencing problems getting off the ground due to rapid turnover, system development, and resistance among agents and employees to the change.
New York Times, January 14, 2005
To reduce the chances for failure, at the Minnesota Supreme Court Information Technology Division, we have turned to change management tools. One of those tools is-
An implementation plan for court administrators, managers, and supervisors to use as a guide for implementing their county in a three month time frame.
Change management activities have been incorporated into the implementation plan with the intent of helping staff prepare court staff for change. A change management activity is basically any activity that supports the change effort. Some of the activities contained in the implementation plan include: Staff kickoff event, vision statement, meetings, emails from management, focus groups, brochures, newsletters, office decorations, and staff celebrations. The court administrators, managers, and supervisors in a county are free to use as few or as many of the activities as they deem appropriate for their county, but wouldnt it be great if they knew which activities worked best?
This leads me to my research question which is:Can we identify our most effective change management activities? By identifying our most effective change management activities, we can focus our efforts on the activities that work and eliminate less effective activities. Doing so will save time and resources for the remaining 65 counties to still complete their MNCIS implementation and potentially be of benefit to future software rollouts.Web based survey emailed to 191 court staff, including court administrators, managers, and supervisors after their county completed their MNCIS implementation. This group was selected because it includes the court staff- who are the audience for the change management activities; and the court administrators, managers, and supervisors who are in charge of selecting which activities are used in their county.
Survey consisted of 13 questions, which asked respondents which change management activities were used in their countys implementation and then to evaluate the activities used individually. Respondents were next asked to evaluate the activities overall as to their ability to help them feel informed, prepared, feel they had opportunity to ask questions, and feel they had an opportunity to voice concerns. Finally, the survey asked for demographic information to determine if certain activities were perceived as more effective than others based on factors such as age, years of service, and whether or not respondents were management level (court administrator, manager, or supervisor).81 of the 191 surveyed responded for a 42% response rate.Of the 81 respondents, 22 were court administrators, supervisors, or managers- or those who decided which activities were used.
Almost all the counties surveyed used all of the activities.
Staff kickoff, emails from management and meetings were used approximately 90% of the time.
Office decorating, brochures, and focus groups were used less than 65% of the time.
When respondents were asked to individually rate the activities used in their county as to their ability to prepare them using a scale ranging from Poor to Excellent-
Approximately 75% rated the staff kickoff and emails from management as excellent or good.Approximately 70% rated meetings for MNCIS as excellent or good.Approximately 45% rated newsletters and office decorating as excellent or good.
All the other activities fall somewhere in between. What this tells us is that the activities of the Staff Kickoff, Emails from Management, and Meetings are perceived by court staff as being more effective at preparing them for their MNCIS Implementation, while the activities of Newsletters and Decorating the Office are perceived by court staff as being less effective at preparing them for their MNCIS Implementation. (notice how I say perceived)
When asked if the activities surrounding their MNCIS implementation made respondents feel informed about the changes associated with MNCIS-
78% agreed/strongly agreed7% did not know15% disagreed/strongly disagreed
As a whole, the activities are effective at making court staff feel informed abut the changes associated with MNCIS.When asked if the activities surrounding their MNCIS implementation made respondents feel prepared for the changes associated with MNCIS-
67% agreed/strongly agreed12% did not know21% disagreed
Although over half indicated the activities were effective and preparing them for change, with 12% not knowing and 21% disagreeing, there is room for improvement here.When asked if the activities surrounding their MNCIS implementation provided them with adequate opportunity to ask questions-
83% agreed/strongly agreed7% did not know10% disagreed
As a whole, the activities are effective at making court staff feel they had an opportunity to ask questions. When asked if the activities surrounding their MNCIS implementation provided them with adequate opportunity to voice concerns-
80% agreed/strongly agreed5% did not know15% disagreed/strongly disagreed
As a whole, the activities are effective at making court staff feel they had an opportunity to voice concerns. For those that indicated they had a vision statement, when asked if they thought their countys vision statement was useful in preparing for MNCIS-
Only 50% agreed/strongly agreed37% did not know14% disagreed/strongly disagreed
This shows us that the vision statement is not perceived by court staff as being useful in helping them prepare for MNCIS. Notice how I said the vision statement is not perceived by court staff as being useful in preparing them for MNCIS.My results showed a statistically significant relationship between having a vision statement and feeling more informed, prepared, and having the opportunity to voice concerns.
Referring you to the chart shown here,- of those who had a vision statement, 77% agreed/strongly agreed the activities overall made them feel informed, while of those who did not have a vision statement, only 48% agreed/strongly agreed the activities informed them.
The relationship continues with 89% of those having a vision statement indicating the activities prepared them, while only 58% of those without a vision statement indicating the activities prepared them.
Remember a couple slides back when I showed you that the vision statement was not perceived by court staff as being useful in helping them prepare for MNCIS? This relationship shows that it was in fact useful in preparing them, despite their own perception.
Finally, at 91% those who had a vision statement felt the activities allowed them to voice concerns as opposed to only 62% for those without a vision statement.My results also showed a statistically significant relationship between decorating the office and feeling the activities overall prepared them for their implementation.
Again, referring you to the chart,- of those who decorated the office, 79% agreed/strongly agreed the activities overall made them feel prepared, while of those who did not decorate the office, only 52% agreed/strongly agreed the activities prepared them.
This is interesting because decorating the office is an activity that many view as meaningless and a waste of time.
Finally, there was a relationship between court management and the overall evaluation of the activities.
Court management, consistently rated the activities individually and overall better than non-court management staff.
96% of court management felt the activities informed them, compared to only 72% of non-court management78% of court management felt the activities prepared them, compared to only 63% of non-court management.100% of court management felt the activities provided them with an opportunity to ask questions, compared to only 76% of non-court management.Finally 100% of court management, felt the activities provided them with an opportunity to voice concerns, as opposed to only 73% of non-court management.
The 100% on the court management for the opportunity to ask questions and voice concerns is not surprising as being court management, the would be the individuals being asked questions. The most popular activities as rated individually by the respondents in preparing them for the changes associated with MNCIS include:
Staff kickoffEmails from managementMeetings
The most effective activities included the:Vision statement for informing, preparing and voicing concernsOffice decorating for feeling prepared
RecommendationsCourt management should use change management activities, specifically the activities of the staff kickoff, emails from management, meetings, a vision statement, and decorating the office for the remainder of the MNCIS implementation.
Court management should realize they view activities differently than non-management and take this into consideration when assessing how an activity went.
Studying change management activities should be continued, both for the remainder of the MNCIS implementation and in future software projects.