Change management is a complex discipline. Many projects have a number of moving pieces which can make trying to implement change complicated, to say the least. The following tips detail a variety of steps you can take to improve your chances of success when implementing change.
Determine What Needs to or is Likely to Change
To successfully manage change it is necessary to specify what exactly you expect from the process. What is the outcome you would like the change to bring about? Determining this enables you to take the next step in the process and outline the goals that need to be achieved to bring about the specified outcome. It also helps to answer the question why the change needs to occur and what benefits making the change will bring about.
In most cases the change you will be overseeing applies to a process or product of some sort, or a result realized from the planned change. As you clarify the goals that need to be achieved and the steps needed to achieve those goals, you should also identify the personnel and resources that will be involved in bringing the change about.
Gather Relevant Data
Before jumping into the process of implementing the desired change, take time to acquire the data necessary to support your planned approach. Once you have begun the process, measure your progress towards milestones and analyze what you can do to improve the process. Not all changes are equally easy to measure, but the more accurate your measurements the better able you will be to make adjustments as you move through the change process.
The data you gather can be used not only to monitor the level of success the change process is achieving but also to improve communication and to enable you to more accurately assign incentives to employees. There are a number of apps you can use to gather and analyze data related to the change process. These solutions enable you to model different outcomes based on different inputs. Running these models can save you time in the implementation process by allowing you to try out different approaches virtually before committing to a specific course of action.
Make a Case for Needed Changes
To shepherd changes to completion in any organization, support from upper management is essential. Being able to make the case for change to your company’s top executives is part of the change management process. To increase your chances of success in this regard, take the time to properly prepare for making your case. This can include the following:
- Recording the reasons supporting the change, using whatever presentation material will be helpful in making the case (slides, charts, graphs, case studies, etc.)
- Defining who the major stakeholders in the process are
- Building a business case
Devise a Strategic Change Management Plan
After gathering data, establishing buy-in, and determining as accurately as possible exactly what the change process is expected to achieve, the next step is to draw up a strategic change management plan. A roadmap of this type is used to outline the various actions involved in putting the change into effect. It should also specify the starting point in the process and the end point – which is the point at which success in implementing change has been achieved.
Your roadmap should specify the project’s scope and its goals, as well as the resources, both personnel and material, which will be required to put the plan into effect. It should also include a budget detailing the planned expenditures associated with the project. Build a certain amount of flexibility into the budget if possible, as changes in the plan could require greater expenditure than originally estimated.
When making changes, communication is key to keeping things on track. Anytime you depart from business as usual, the chances that unanticipated outcomes may occur increase significantly. Effective change management not only brings about planned change but also ameliorates any unforeseen consequences that arise during the change implementation process. To accomplish this, robust communication is essential.
To encourage effective communication, the following approach can be used:
Measure and Manage Risk
While all companies must change at some point to remain competitive in the modern business world, the process is not without risk. Effective change management takes into account the various risks which may be encountered during the change process and weighs their impact against the benefits to be derived from making the change. A major principle of the discipline of change management is that the disruptions caused by the process of changing should not exceed the benefits gained from making the change.
To facilitate this, risks must be measured and managed so they don’t jeopardize the project as a whole. One risk that is frequently encountered in the change management process is resistance from those who prefer that business continue as usual. Unless this resistance is addressed proactively, a company’s employees and customers can thwart changes by simply refusing to accept or utilize them.
Transparency about the change and its benefits is recommended when it comes to getting people to accept change. Other risks include business disruption as new systems or practices are introduced. If the risk of introducing such systems or practices is judged to be substantial, the change management process may involve running parallel systems for a time until the new systems have proven themselves.
Monitor Results and Revise as Necessary
Your change management plan should not be static. It is all but impossible to anticipate all the ramifications involved in making a change, especially when complex operating systems are involved. As a result, it is imperative to keep a close eye on the results of the change process every step of the way. This enables you to make revisions to your strategy and implementation as needed to ensure the process is not derailed by unexpected deviations from the plan.
Nuvro is a robust online project management tool that helps improve your chances of success when implementing change. With Nuvro you can gain control and peace of mind over all of your projects, tasks, team members, workload and everything else important to your company. In addition to the project, task and collaboration features found in most PM tools, Nuvro also provides a company dashboard, a team dashboard, team member performance reviews, secure document management, an internal alternative to email and more. Nuvro is perfect for busy teams looking to accomplish more. Learn More…