Archive for the ‘Soft Skills’ Tag

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.