I kind of covered these change management procedures to some detail previously, when I talked about the request process, but I stopped at a point where I won’t be stopping today. Now, for some reading this, this one might be a little redundant, as anyone with experience in more than one application of change to a system is actually going to already be familiar with these basic steps.
However, not everyone has that experience, of course. I’d bet more don’t, than do. So, for the rest of the world, let’s take a look at the basic change management procedures, what their priorities are, and what’s so important about these.
Some people are natural change managers, others have change management thrust upon them. Either way, it can be a challenging task, and one that could lead to you hanging your head low, and sobbing. Seriously, I’ve seen that happen. But, if you know what to do, and when, before going into this, it’s really not so bad as all that.
Like I said before, the first thing to do is actually spot symptoms of a problem that will need change in order to remedy. This part may not entirely be on your shoulders, as some basic problems may have been detected by others in an organization, and became taken seriously enough that they decide that actions need to be taken. Well, that’s about all you’re going to have to go on when you start out, often enough.
So, the first thing to do in this case is to study the organization, follow the processes performed, take metrics on every step from everywhere, and build a chart of the process in action. You’ll inevitably see one or two possible things that lead to the problem existing. Remember Accam’s Razor in this case, with the simplest answer likely being the correct one.
Once you’ve spotted the problem, then you can work out what needs to be done about it. I can’t really say much to this part, because it depends on too many things specific to your situation, sadly.
Now that you know the change that needs to be made, you can create a case for change, get sponsors and stakeholders who make it possible for you to take action, and you can formulate a plan.
Now, we’ve talked about the models of change commonly used, and I’ll recommend, blindly, the Kotter model, until you discover one that better suits your specific needs (if one exists). Once you know the model you’ll use, you can compose an agenda for applying change, along with a solid training plan. I recommend a flipped classroom model, again, until you find a training model possibly more suited to your specific needs.
Ok, so, you have the problem identified, you know what to do about it, and how to go about doing that. Before you go in guns blazing, get to know the people involved. Be around them for a week, have lunch with them, learn them as people, not just elements in an organization. Make them aware that the changes are for their benefit as well, and not correction of them being insufficient as people or as parts of an organization.
These are the change management procedures in a nutshell. Of course, this drastically simplifies the whole idea, so if this is your first reading on the topic, look at our more detailed pieces on different parts of the procedures above.