Archive for the ‘Change Management’ Category

Evolving the Change Management Process

Undocumented & uncontrolled changes? No visibility of changes for the business? Unable to gain or track approvals?

Here are some tips to better control & manage the Change Control and subsequent software and/or infrastructure Releases.

(1) Identify & Manage ALL Stakeholders
Identify & manage all stakeholders for each set of proposed changes. At a minimum this includes:

  • Change Initiator.
  • Change Advisory Board.
  • Project Manager(s).
  • Development/Infrastructure Manager(s).
  • Release Manager.

(2) Document the Process & Tools
Document the change management process, tools, and templates with examples. Provide the necessary know-how for all the stakeholders to better document, assess and approve changes. The key objective is to confirm that all changes are consistent with current business objectives. Therefore a business risk and impact analysis must be completed when a new change record is created.

(3) Provide a Checklist
Similar to the project Gating process, for each hand-off in the process, document a checklist contains steps that must be finished before the change can be promoted to the next level. This will ensure consistency in governance for changes in your environment.

(4) Circumvent Bureaucracy
If your organization has to cope with a large number of changes, a large number of people involved in the CABs with a large set of distributed changes, then chances are that the CAB review & approval process can become bureaucratic. A better Governance structure can be leveraged to mitigate any slowness. Ensure that your Change Management process includes various ‘levels’ of authority/approval before moving to the Change Approval Board. This can be achieved based on the impact of the change. If a specific change only impacts 1 system with little to no dependencies on other systems or users, then a global change control board may not be required to review, assess & approve such change. A Peer Approval may suffice.

Also, a Business+Technology alignment group can first review and approve changes to for CAB review to ensure that they are aligned with the overall business & IT strategy of the organization.

(5) Dedicated Change Manager
The Change Manager is responsible for ensuring that all changes are reviewed and ensuring that changes flow through the Change Management Process. The Change Manager chairs the CAB meetings and ensures that all changes are considered for approval & prioritization. This will ensure that all Change Management tasks are being performed and that the right people with the right skills can focus on these activities.

(6) Over Communicate
Getting the stakeholder buy-in and more importantly, their engagement is critical for success. Informing them about the process or giving them login account to the CM tool will not be enough. Re-enforce the value and benefits of adopting a standardized change control process. Communicate Roles & responsibilities frequently. Ensure that roles associated with the Change Management process are defined in the context of the change management function and are not intended to correspond with organizational job titles.

(7) Evolve the Process
Last but not least, capture feedback and implement continuous improvement to the overall process. Acknowledge & resolve any issues and concerns. Build temporary workarounds to ensure smooth operation. Above all, create a caring, positive atmosphere, where people can work hard and have fun!


The Softer Side of Change Management

A wise man once said, “The only constant thing, in this constantly changing world, is change

Change is a fact of corporate life.  Especially in IT projects, Change is inevitable in successfully enabling the goals and deliverables of the Business.  Therefore, all projects must adopt a process for Change Management.  While there is plenty of documentation, white papers, best practices and guides on this topic, most of them seem to ignore the softer side of successfully executing the process steps around the complex inner workings of today’s corporate environments.  With globalization coupled with large enterprise scale projects, the softer side is ever more critical for success.

Here are some lessons learned from the trenches:
(1) Value Proposition
Both acceptance and resistance to change will propagate, either formally in meetings or informally at the water cooler chats.  Document and communicate the business value of following a structured Change Management Process.  This will help everyone involved with the process to understand the purpose, objectives and benefits.  When communicating the value, make an effort to understand any concerns that are raised.  Create an atmosphere of trust.  Invite questions and answer them completely and honestly. For example, organize a brown-bag lunch.  Have an open-door policy where they can approach you at any time with any questions or concerns.

(2) Roles & Responsibilities
As simple as it sounds, clearly outlining the roles and responsibilities of ALL stakeholders is ever more critical for Change management.  This should include:

  • Defining each Role and Responsibility.
  • Assign each role to a qualified person.
  • Document and communicate the assignments.
  • Track & measure deliverables throughout the process.

(3) Optimize as Necessary
Many project managers lack the necessary skills and training to manage change.  Even the ones that do, they are so caught up in delivering the existing scope that managing changes often take a back seat.  Key is to provide the training & knowledge where needed.  Designate a Change Manager with the right expertise who’s job is exclusively to perform Change Management across 1 or more projects.

(4) Reward when Milestones achieved
What’s in it for me?” Provide encouragement & support for the team’s efforts when significant milestones are reached.  Project teams are more likely to embrace the change process when recognized and rewarded.

(5) Evolve or Perish
The Change Management Process works within a constantly changing business & technology environments.  Therefore, the process of change itself must evolve over time to adapt and align with the changing needs and priorities of the organization.  Conduct periodic reviews and measures for success criteria to evolve and/or fine-tune the process, tools, and templates for Change Management.

By leveraging the softer side of managing Change; we can deliver Excellence in Project Management.