Going to OpenOffice, Step 1 Unfreezing

“Unfreezing” is a term I took out of a text book about organizational change. People have their ideas “frozen” about how things should work, so the first thing you should do to change them, is to do some “unfreezing”.

How did I approach “unfreezing” with OpenOffice:

  • Say the organization is going to change (gasp)
  • Email them with more information on WHY, and how they can learn more
  • Speak rationally and honestly, if it’s money, say that. If it’s more flexibility say that. If it’s both, you get the idea…
  • Get feedback (I used a google docs form, somewhat ironically)

What should be in the feedback? Most will not just want to change, you should expect that. Feedback let’s you identify what concerns they have and see if they are legitimate (or if you can easily explain them away). It’s also essential to determine what different use cases are covered by different users.

Training: Take the feedback and engineer some training to cover the common 80% of users. (For the other 20 you can do advanced training later). A key part of training is to make sure the users have OOo installed on their machine, so they can follow along and get used to it. Another important training item is how to convert a .doc to .odt, etc (and redo any formatting that breaks).

Get more feedback on training and see if the users feel better about switching and also if you are doing a good job in training. When you think the
organization is ready, switch to OpenOffice opening all .docs, .xls, and .ppts (I haven’t done that yet).

Oh right and make sure everyone gets this:
Internal docs: use .od* (ods,odt,odp)
External docs (and no external editing): use .pdf
External docs (and need to edit): use .doc, xls, ppt

So, Planet, what do you do differently?

Random Picture from India..

3 thoughts on “Going to OpenOffice, Step 1 Unfreezing”

  1. >It actually works fine if Openoffice is the default document editor. I just collaborated on a document today with a co-worker and saved it in .odt, and since OOo opens every document there wasn't a hitch. Of course…we won't be sending this document to any external companies.

    Even if people don't have very much technical knowledge, it isn't very hard to understand that the only time they will need to change the format is when they send it to outside sources.

  2. >Open Document is an ISO standar, therefore it could and should be used externally too. Lets push these doc and xls away:)

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