Change Management is a term that is often misunderstood by many organizations and individuals. It is confused with similar terms such as managing change or project management
Let’s be very clear with the myths surrounding change management:
- Making technical changes in the project, doing gap analysis, technical up-gradations is NOT Change Management
- Only communications, (creating awareness around a thing) for example announcing the organization’s push on social media channels is NOT Change Management
- Project Management is NOT Change Management (many project managers won’t agree to this, but it is true!)
What is Change Management?
Change management is a discipline that focuses on a structured approach to transition teams, individuals and organizations from their current state to their future state
To provide a better context, here are a few examples:
- Reorganize corporate structure
- Implementing new software in the organization
- Quality improvement process
You can learn in detail about change management, it’s importance and types here
The focus of this article is to provide a head start on “How to efficiently structure a change?”
How to bring change in action?
A change management model consists of 4 stages:
#1. Determine the need for change
Change is the only constant
We all know this, and we always keep our brains prepared for the changes to show up until the work on the project is going on. Still, when the time comes, most of us find ourselves in jeopardy and not understanding how to accommodate the change. Why? Well, most of the people in my experience would answer this as “the change came last minute, it’s all so messed up!” or “the deadlines are always there which leaves no room for proper planning” etc. etc
But the truth is, this happens only when you have the mindset that says, “let’s first finish the work, we will see when the changes will come”. For a change to be properly implemented, it requires attention right after the first release or first milestone. A change manager should also evaluate the needs continuously based on several factors such as — the growth of the project, project development plan in the context of the set vision, dissatisfaction among customers and team members, quality of the delivered project, etc
A change can only be accepted by the employees and clients when you establish a need for urgency!
Pro-Tip: Track the risks, issues, and changes that keep coming into your project. Use a project management tool to track these changes in a better way!
#2. Prepare and Plan for the change
A business case detailing the scope of change, purpose, priority, and benefits is a great start to lead the change process. With a compelling business case, it becomes easy to build a team that supports the change process and is a mix of people with both skills and seniority levels
Every change management plan should consider the impact of change on both the ‘Individual’ and ‘Organizational’ level
It is important for this team to connect with employees on an individual level, connect with the organization on business aspects to build a positive acceptance and support system. This team should establish a vision and strategy to implement the change with the focus on emotional aspects to drive the change management process
Pro-Tip: Create a plan that demonstrates the cost and time associated with the changes in scope
#3. Implement the change
This is one of the most difficult things to do! Why? Because as a change manager you have to address a lot of concerns such as:
- Involving people and keeping them in confidence by answering all the ‘why’, ‘how’, ‘what’ & ‘when’ questions
- Ensuring a smooth transition and overcome the resistance shown by employees, both at the same time!
- Ensuring that project remains on track with the set milestones
Change management requires strong and consistent communication
A proper training plan to help employees, clients, and organizations to adapt to the changes is also an important aspect of the change management process
#4. Sustain the change
To ensure that the process was managed successfully, various metrics are applied to measure the adoption and satisfaction levels. For instance:
- Performance metrics
- Audit plan
- No strong leadership to drive the change process
- Persistence to keep going with continued resistance
- Absence of right culture in the organization towards the change
- Lack of consideration of the existing workload on employees
- Inability to boost the morale of employees to ensure commitment towards the change
A good read: The hard side of change management
The mind map (Change Management Process) image added above is a detailed plan for implementing change management. View it as a mind map on MindMeister
I hope this mind map helps you get started or improve your existing change management plan!