Change Management Zones: How to Roadmap Your Change Process

With a roadmap, we can segment our change process into change management zones.

These zones will help us turn change into a manageable process with specific goals, clearly defined objectives, and team members who remain accountable.

Let’s see how.

Mapping Your Change Process into Change Management Zones

When roadmapping organizational change, there are two essential components: time and business area.

Designing change around these two factors can help us clarify goals, stay on track, and communicate with others in the organization.

Below, we’ll look at these two in greater detail.

Zone 1: Map Change by Time

Most change managers will be familiar with this process.

Popular change models, such as the Lewin model or Kotter’s 8-Step Change Model, segment change by time.

Change management tools such as these are very valuable assets in your toolbox.

Using Lewin’s change model, it’s possible to map a change program into three segments:

  • Unfreezing – Breaking down old habits and ways of thinking
  • Changing – The process of transition toward the new state
  • Freezing – Reinforcing and cementing the desired change

These three stages are rather broad and non-specific.

Therefore, when roadmapping a change management program, it pays to establish objectives for each time period.

Objectives can and should be very specific. For instance:

  • Obtain 50 employee surveys from a specific department
  • Present a SWOT analysis to certain executives
  • Identify or hire a change champion within each affected department

As you can see, these goals are very specific and targeted. This specificity is required for roadmapping to be successful.

Your time periods should also be specific. For example:

  • Period 1 – January 15th to February 22nd
  • Period 2 – February 23rd to April 1st
  • Period 3 – April 2nd to June 1st

Naturally, each period can be renamed according to your specific change program.

A digital adoption program could include phases such as:

  • Test Program
  • Pilot Program
  • Go-Live
  • Post-Go-Live
  • Evaluation

To repeat, the most important thing when roadmapping change management zones by time is specifics – specific goals and specific time periods.

This specificity will ensure that:

  • Targets are communicated clearly and effectively
  • Everyone understands what is required, when
  • People are held accountable

In addition to mapping out change programs by time, you should also zone out business areas.

Zone 2: Mapping Change Programs by Department or Area

Change programs can be somewhat simple or very complex.

Complex change programs can go on for extended periods of time, affecting many departments.

Restructuring a business, for instance, can impact:

  • Several departments
  • Multiple business areas
  • Dozens, hundreds, or thousands of employees

To keep your change management program organized, zone out a program by its area of impact.

For instance, if a digital transformation effort impacts six departments, then create a roadmap that includes each department.

There are a few ways to do this, depending on your organization, your needs, and your preferences.

One of the best ways is to create a map that has change management zones for each business area, such as:

  • Product Development
  • Design
  • IT

Each business area can be further broken down by department and team.

This can all be done in a single document, even using a spreadsheet.

For instance, the columns could represent time periods while rows represented business areas.

Each business area would have its own goals and metrics for a given time period.

Zone 3: Map Change by Project

Yet another option is to map changes by project.

This can be useful for change managers who are juggling multiple projects. Or for a change initiative that is complex and involves many separate programs.

As with the roadmaps mentioned above, zoning by change project would be based on a timeline.

Each timeline would include separate change projects, such as:

  • New CRM Adoption
  • Rebranding
  • Restructuring of Customer Service

A project-based roadmap can, of course, also be further broken down by the criteria mentioned above.

That is, each project will be segmented into:

  • Time periods
  • Business areas
  • Departments

Then each segment would be assigned its own goals and targets.

Zone 4: Change Management Zones by Type of Change

Change managers may also organize change roadmaps by the type of change.

This style of roadmap can be useful for large organizations with multiple ongoing projects.

Types of change could include categories such as:

  • Technology
  • Customer Service
  • Product Research and Development

These categories could further be organized into the categories mentioned above.

The technology category could include, for instance:

  • CRM Adoption
  • Data Center Migration
  • Hiring New DevOps Team

Depending on the software you use or your workstyle, you could choose to assign several categories to the same projects.

A new digital adoption initiative, for example, could impact employees, customers, and the IT department.

Conclusion: Change Management Zones Help You Organize Your Projects

The better you can zone, roadmap, and stay organized, the better your change programs will be:

  • Goals will be clear and specific
  • Employees can be held accountable
  • Project results can be evaluated more effectively
  • Your workflow will be faster, cleaner, and easier

As mentioned, none of the styles mentioned above is “best.”

At the end of the day, choose the zones and categories that best fit your workflow and your needs.

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.