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The Mid-Implementation Trough of Despair

If you’re in the middle of implementing new software and you’re feeling negative about it, don’t worry. It’s normal.

When you’ve selected your new system, there is excitement about finishing the buying process and wrapping up your RFP. Then implementation begins.

Even the best-managed implementation project can feel like a slog at times. Add to that the discomfort that arises from learning a new system, and it’s normal for your optimism and enthusiasm to flag somewhat.

Chances are that you were an expert in your old system, and now you’re learning something new. Learning can be an uncomfortable process.

The process of acquiring a new skill has been described by the “conscious competence” learning model. The Trough of Despair is a natural part of being in the Conscious Incompetence stage of this pyramid.

You can mitigate the effects of the Trough of Despair somewhat by managing your project well, investing in change management for your people, and prioritizing training.

It’s probably not possible to eliminate the Trough of Despair entirely. But knowing that it’s normal can go a long way toward reducing its impact.

Don’t give up! Making progress feels good. Try to learn something new every day about your new system. Before you know it, you’ll be an expert in your new system. Goodbye, Trough of Despair. Hello Peak Optimism and Enthusiasm!