Which Change Management Checklist Is Right For You?

Which Change Management Checklist Is Right For You?
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If you’re not yet using a change management checklist, you’re not doing your job properly.

Organizational and IT change management are complex processes. There is a lot to consider. Forgetting even one aspect of the process could mean failure.

And we all know what percentage of change initiatives fail.  

That’s why I rate so highly this CEO’s guide to change management. Partner this with your favorite change management checklist. Then you’ll have all you need to beat the odds that are stacked against you.

We’re going to take a look at some of the best checklists for managing change. Then you can decide which one is right for you.

Prosci’s change management checklist

Prosci has come up with an excellent checklist of questions for planning change.

  1. Are you using a structured change management methodology?
  2. Are you customizing your change management plans?
  3. Does your approach include a model for how individuals experience change?
  4. Does your project have the necessary sponsorship?
  5. Are your sponsors prepared and able to fulfill the role of sponsor?
  6. Have you created an effective communication plan?
  7. Have you engaged managers and supervisors in the change management program?
  8. Do you have proactive and reactive resistance management strategies in place?
  9. Do you have systems in place to gather feedback and measure change adoption?
  10. Have you implemented reinforcement mechanisms?

What I like about it is that it places a high value on the use of a change management methodology.

Reputed change management methodologies include Kotter’s 8 step process. There is also Lewin’s 3 stage model. Both of these look at the psychology behind effective change management.  

Another valuable aspect of Prosci’s change management checklist is that it refers to sponsors. This is the “active and visible participation” by leaders within the organization. Where they lead, others will follow.

This checklist also talks about resistance management. Resistance to change is the biggest threat to change managers. This is addressed in Lewin’s unfreeze-change-refreeze theory.

Stakeholders must be motivated to change by the belief that, if they don’t, they won’t achieve their goals. This feeling overcomes their resistance to change.

Culture mapping is also a useful tool. It will help you to understand the existing organizational culture and the mentalities engrained within it. This could turn out to be your biggest ally in the battle against resistance.   

Prosci also offers a downloadable checklist for your change management approach.

Torben Rick’s change management checklist

Torben Rick has a change management checklist of questions divided into six steps.

This is useful because the six steps correspond to important stages of the change management process.

  1. Laying the foundation
  2. Learning what we need to know
  3. Planning the change process
  4. Making change work
  5. Embedding change in the organization
  6. Reviewing the change

Torben Rick places a lot of emphasis on the planning stages of the change process. When you start planning a change initiative, you need compelling reasons for the change. For business leaders and also for staff.

And you need to develop ways to make the change seem unthreatening.

You also need documented plans for executing the change. It advocates the creation of a “guiding coalition”. A skilled and authoritative team of people must champion the change. This comes from Kotter’s 8 step organizational change model.  

The need to embed the change in the organization is highlighted. This features in both Kotter and Lewin’s change models. If the change doesn’t become part of culture, old habits are likely to return and the change won’t stick.

Tasmanian Government’s (AUS) change management checklist

The State of Tasmania in Australia has produced a downloadable change management checklist. It’s actually a Word document template. So you can adapt it to suit your organization.

  1. Target outcomes agreed.
  2. Success measures agreed.
  3. Outputs agreed.
  4. Governance agreed.
  5. Reporting requirements agreed.
  6. Resources approved and allocated:
       * Financial;
       * Staff (Permanent/Contract);
       * External (Consulting/Supplies).
  7. Assumptions and constraints documented.
  8. Risks and issues identified (Risk Management).
  9. Related projects identified.
  10. Stakeholders identified.
  11. Project activities and milestones documented.
  12. Business systems plan documented.
  13. Communication Strategy documented.
  14. Communication materials prepared.
  15. New procedures documented.
  16. Training Plan documented.
  17. Training materials prepared.
  18. Organisational readiness assessment.
  19. Resistance mitigation plan documented.
  20. Key performance indicators agreed.
  21. Review plan in place for ongoing feedback and monitoring.

Unlike the other checklists, it’s extremely task oriented. So it is handy from that perspective. And, like the others, it’s based on solid principles of change management. For example, organizational readiness is referenced. So is resistance mitigation.

Whichever change management checklist you choose, make sure you use it. Get organized! Because, as Winnie The Pooh once said:

“Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it’s not all mixed up.”  

Christopher Smith
Chris is the Lead Author & Editor of Change Blog. Chris established the Change blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to Change Management.
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