Change management focuses on people, and how they move from their current situation to a new one.
Anyone who has been through a major organizational change knows that change doesn’t happen in isolation and that unintended consequences are to be expected. Change management is a process that plans for and monitors change so that it can pull the reins in when chaos threatens.
The three major constraints involved in change management are scope, budget, and quality. All three of these constraints must be monitored closely so that any problems can be identified early and addressed before they can grow and cause further problems.
Making your change management process as friction-free as possible requires defining change management in context, ensuring the elements of successful change management are in place, and being prepared to tackle tasks that are typically involved in change management.
First, Define What Change Management Means in Your Context
If you are responsible for managing a particular change in your organization, your first task is to define what change management means in your situation and within the context of your organization. You must be able to define the change itself (“Accounting will be switching to a new software system because the old one is no longer being supported.”).
What specifically will change management require in your situation? Maybe part of the process will be gathering input from affected people on which new software vendor to select. A preliminary time scale for the change will help you clarify change management tasks. Defining who is directly affected and who is indirectly affected is a critical aspect of change management. You should also define what you want successful change to look like once it’s completed in terms of efficiency, resources saved, and even improved morale.
Elements of Successful Change Management
Successful change management that minimizes friction typically includes these key elements:
- Sponsorship by those at the highest executive levels. Senior leaders should understand why change is necessary and should be prepared to act if their particular assistance is needed.
- Buy-in from everyone who is directly or indirectly affected by the change. This is often easier said than done because change is tough even when everyone knows it’s necessary. Still, it’s important to communicate candidly with everyone affected from the start.
- Involvement of the right people. Different people with different skills will be needed to design and carry out changes.
- Impact assessment. The impact should be estimated before the project begins, monitored as it happens, and thoroughly assessed at the project’s conclusion. “Lessons learned” can be invaluable in future change management situations.
- Communication. Frequent communication among everyone affected by the change is essential. In addition to formal communications, consider creating a dedicated channel on your company’s group chat system for this purpose.
- Readiness. Successful change depends on helping everyone get ready for it by providing accurate information, necessary training, and help resources.
Typical Tasks Involved in Change Management
The specific tasks involved in change management depend on many factors, but you can expect to encounter these tasks on the way to successful change:
- Ensuring that all affected people understand the reasons for the change
- Identification of change agents involved in specific activities, like design, testing, and problem-solving
- Assessing and planning for the training needs of those affected by the change
- Organizing and delivering communication messages concerning the change
- Assessing the impact of change on people at several points throughout the change process
- Ensuring affected personnel have the help and support resources they need
- Identifying and tracking “success indicators” to help ensure change stays on track and fulfills goals
The right change management software can be the key to ensuring that change management processes are well-oiled and productive. IdeaScale is a cloud-based platform that is perfectly suited for change management. It allows users to gather ideas, identify the best ones, evaluate ideas for business relevance, and use those ideas to transform business practices in a manageable way.
A great way to get started in your pursuit of outstanding change management software is to download our disruptive innovation infographic. We also invite you to contact us at any time with your concerns and questions.