One of the most frequently overlooked and most misunderstood components of business initiatives, projects, and implementations, is the concept of change management. It seems intuitive on the surface—“we’ve done the research and analysis, and implementing XXXX will make this (team, process, output) more (optimized, cost efficient, faster, secure), so it’s a no-brainer that the actual users will agree with and adopt this change!”
The reality, however, is that unmanaged changes, whether as a defined initiative and outcome or typically smaller (and seemingly innocuous) in-flight changes to an effort, represent one of the biggest failure risks a business will encounter. There is a reason that entire change management frameworks were created and that people specialize in the change management discipline. It simply can’t be an afterthought or a “bolt-on” concept at the end of a piece of work.
In the IT space, the benefits are (again) so seemingly obvious, that we can often be lulled into a false sense of faith in the common sense and understanding of the people who will be using the output of the change being implemented, and even worse, skipping critical steps like documentation and governance because they seem so “obvious”. Here’s just some of the reasons behind using methodical change management practices:
- Improved documentation of enterprise systems
- Greater alignment between suggested changed and what gets implemented
- Better starting point for automation initiatives
- Understanding of why systems were made/configured/designed
- Ability to reverse-engineer changes made to existing business processes and infrastructure
- Better ability to identify what can be safely eliminated or updated
IT projects typically involve significant change, and managing that change effectively is essential to ensuring project success. In this blog, we’ll explore some of the key principles of change management for IT projects.
- Understand The Need for Change: Before you can effectively manage change, you need to understand why the change is necessary. This means identifying the problem or opportunity that the project is intended to address. You should also involve stakeholders in the process to ensure that everyone is aligned on the need for change and the project’s goals.
- Plan For Change: Once you understand the need for change, you need to plan for it. This means creating a change management plan that outlines how you will manage the change, including timelines, resources, and stakeholders. The plan should also identify potential risks and mitigation strategies.
- Communicate Effectively: Communication is essential to effective change management. You need to communicate the need for change, the benefits of the project, and the impact on stakeholders. You should also communicate the status of the project and any changes to the plan. Effective communication builds trust and helps to manage expectations.
- Involve Stakeholders: Stakeholder involvement is critical to the success of any IT project. You should involve stakeholders in the planning process, as well as in decision-making and implementation. This helps to ensure that their needs are met and that the project is aligned with the organization’s goals.
- Manage Resistance: Resistance to change is common, but it can be managed effectively. You should anticipate potential sources of resistance and develop strategies to address them. This may include providing training and support, addressing concerns, and involving stakeholders in the change process.
- Monitor and Evaluate: Change management doesn’t end once the project is complete. You need to monitor and evaluate the project to ensure that the change is successful and that the benefits are realized. This includes measuring the impact of the change on stakeholders, as well as on the organization as a whole.
Project and initiative planning and execution can be monumental efforts from both cost the cost and resource perspectives, and undertaking these efforts without a good change management framework and expertise in place is akin to jumping out of a plane without a backup parachute, or driving across the country without a seatbelt. Sure, everything could work out in the end, but the results could also be catastrophic when your shiny new process or capability or tool doesn’t work, because of unforeseen ripple effects up- and downstream in your organization. Whether your change is developmental, transitional, or transformational in nature, you HAVE to account for every angle and risk associated with change in your unique business. The TechFides team has an extensive track record in not only successfully managing large-scale technology initiatives across multiple countries in global IT organizations, but in managing the acceptance, understanding, and adoption that determines the success of these endeavors.
Call today to see how our experts can guide you through the process of effective change management and more. We’re available and ready to help your business it’s the next big steps.