The Change Management Process

Change Management is a critical piece for corporations. Large corporations depend on it for anything that affects their production environment. But what is change management at all? Change Management is the process that kicks in when a change is made to the production environment of a business. For the matter of this article we will use an Information Technology related case to explain Change Management.

Company “A” uses change management to keep track of changes to its web servers. The change management process also allows to inform all internal business units and departments of the upcoming change to the web servers and what parts of the business are affected by this change. The change management process is started by the decision to update the web servers with a newer version of the web application. The website administrators, the QA department and the developers have finished the final testing of the new application update and now it is time to go live.

The website administrator starts the process by writing down the purpose of the change and what steps are required to complete the task. He also describes the impact to internal and external users and which departments of the business might be affected (example: external customer service). The description of these tasks for the update are usually high level and not too detailed. The reason for this is more to inform the business about the change and not to list an exact how to step by step guide.

Once the website administrator has finished the initial change management request form (electronic or hardcopy) it goes up one level to his direct manager and with his approval the change management request is being distributed among departmental points of contact that have been defined in an earlier process. The different departments and business groups review the change management request to evaluate the impact to the department or group. If no impact is visible or if a possible impact is already addressed and covered in the change request the department or group approves the change management. If a possible impact is not addressed the group or department denies approval and ask for more information or how the issue in question will be addressed. Approval for the change request goes to “pending”.

Once all issues are addressed and worked out and every necessary approval has been submitted the change management request awaits one more step – CTO (Chief Technology Officer) or CIO (Chief Information Officer) approval might be required. This process makes sure that a track record of changes that affect the business is created and that every group, every department and the business management are aware of what is going on.

Some critics see change management as a process that slows down the ability to act fast when needed. Others see it as assurance for continuing business success as department A might not realize how big the impact of a proposed change is to department B.

Risk Management and Change Management – 4 Basic Levels to Get Started

How do companies deal with the fact that the rules of business are constantly changing? While it is not only technology that is constantly changing, technology surely is one of the greatest impacts. The rules are changing and the dynamics are changing. Coming up with a way to deal with change is a primary focus of business. Businesses should realize that managing risk an intuitive exercise for most individuals.

In business there are two terms you hear more and more all the time. Risk Management and Change Management are everyday realities in businesses of all types and sizes. Businesses large and small are scrambling to come up with a change management plan to deal with the new world of commerce. Every aspect of business that is impacted by technology is changing so fast that it is almost impossible to keep up. Businesses mobilize to come up with a strategy to deal with the latest changes but by the time they get set to announce their plans it is too late and that trend has passed.

Companies have to evolved from static operating procedures to a dynamic, evolving, ever changing plan of action. Flexibility is paramount. Changeability a must. This is true for all kinds of business whether you are selling a product, providing a service or just about anything you can charge a fee for.

When you are putting together a risk management plan or change management plan there are four basic levels of due diligence that should be followed. The four levels must be completed in sequential order to be effective for project preparation. Of course there may be several steps or stages to each level.

First you must Identify the factors that will have an influence, negative or positive on the success of your project. Second you will need to assess the impact of each factor or influence on the project. Next you must conceptualize or prioritize a solution to respond to all factors and impacts. Once you have completed these three levels of due diligence you are ready to begin the process of putting together a plan.

Level 1. Identify

Level 2. Assess

Level 3. Conceptualize

Level 4. Plan

Following these 4 levels will provide you with the basis to get started on your plan. Just remember there is much more to it.

The key to effective risk management and change management is to have a system that has measurable results. Risk management or change management for any project can be tied into a milestone schedule to assess and measure risk as it applies to scope schedule and budget.

Risk management is essential to success in business. Most of us are very well equipped to manage risk and change effectively. Our everyday activities prepare us well. You can find numerous parallels in everyday life.

What Is Change Management?

You will be familiar with word “Change Management” if you are working within a large corporation or organization. Change management has been around for a while but this term has become very common among organizations and corporations that like to initiate changes to processes including both tasks and organizational culture. A change management is a set of processes that are employed to make sure that changes have been implemented in ordered, controlled and systematic way.

It is a basic skill in which business leaders and executives need to be competent. Only few work environments are known that can continue working without changes otherwise every business needs change due to technological awareness in world and high competition in market. It has been developed over a period of time. Business leaders use different models for making changes in their businesses. ADKAR model is one of most commonly known and followed change management models. This model defines five basic stages that must be kept in mind to make successful amendments in an organization. These stages include:

Awareness: Leaders must know what changes are needed and why.

Desire: All concerned members of organization must have motivation and desire to make changes in processes.

Knowledge: Organization must know what changes can be made and how?

Ability: An organization willing to change must have abilities and competencies to plan and implement it.

Reinforcement: All concerned people must be reinforced to sustain this and adopt new behaviors.

Basic Principles for Change Management

Change management is only possible if some specific principles are being followed. Here is information about basic principles that must be in knowledge of all managers and leaders:

• Different people will react differently on proposed changes

• Everyone has fundamental needs that should be considered

• Change may result in loss therefore business leaders should be courageous to accept it

• Expectations need to be managed realistically

• Courage to deal with fears

You need to know how these principles will be applied in change management.

• You can deal with different behaviors of concerned people by proper communication beforehand. Be open and honest about providing facts. Avoid being overoptimistic. Meet their openness needs but in way that they may not set unrealistic expectations.

• Make a communication strategy for large groups of people that ensure necessary information is efficiently and comprehensively disseminated to all people. Tell the story of change to everyone at same time. You can also arrange individual meetings to make strategies to deal with it. This will help leaders in dealing with individual behaviors.

• Give people a choice to make among proposed changes and be very honest about consequences.

• Give people time to express their reviews and support their decision making.

• Identify chances of losses. Define ways to replace the losses. This will help to overcome fears.

• Give individual opportunity to all involved people to express their concerns and satisfy them with potential facts.

Follow each principle while introducing any change in your organization to get optimum results from it. Try to develop change oriented attitude in your team.