Implement a Robust Change Management Process
Change management is a loaded term. Too often, it’s viewed as interchangeable with project management activities, such as training and communication. Sometimes it gets a somewhat superfluous reputation because it draws on the “people side of things” rather than more measurable and technical aspects of change. Other times, it gets confused with IT change management – or version control.
In reality, change management should be a structured approach for ensuring that changes delivered by projects are thoroughly implemented and project benefits are realised. Such approach should exist in parallel with project delivery and should take a long-term view beyond the project lifecycle. If done well, change management becomes your spyglass into project success.
We recommend that a structured approach to change management encompasses the following aspects:
• Assess change impact, including risks and requirements.
• Build and maintain a plan for change, by reconciling it with the project plans typically owned by PMO. Unlike your general project plan, a change plan would look beyond the project lifecycle and account for things such as ongoing support, continuous coaching and training, and KPI measurement and analysis.
• During project transitioning, a change governance body such as Change Advisory Board should validate the business’s readiness to operationalise.
cibsys recently conducted a change process review for a corporate services client. One of our key recommendations was to introduce a Change Board with clearly defined roles and responsibilities in the delivery process. The role of this board was to ensure that all the changes were assessed from both technical and business perspectives, to orchestrate cross-project changes, and to provide oversight for any changes in production.
At the end of the day, change management is not project management. It needs to be regarded as a critical value-adding process, needs to be budgeted for, and needs to be approached in a structured manner.