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Change Management – what is it and why is it important? In 3 steps.

You may be spending substantial time and money building a truly impressive IT system, but if you’re not engaging and training your end-users during the project, it may be an uphill battle to fully achieve the desired business outcomes come Go Live.   This is where change management comes in. Change management is the process of guiding and supporting employees to successfully adopt a new way of working - its goal is to ensure people understand the purpose of the new system, actively support its implementation and are well trained so that they are able to use it effectively both at Go Live and long term.

 

Change management activities should occur alongside project management – project management deals with the technical pieces of the project whereas change management focuses on people’s reaction to the change. Resistance to change often arises simply because change can represent the unknown, a loss of security and disruption to the daily routine. The purpose of change management is to remove these barriers to accepting change.

The first step of change management is assessing the impact of the change. In this stage, you need to consider a number of areas, such as:

  • What processes are being changed? What are the new processes?
  • Who is going to be affected – directly and indirectly?
  • Are there any impacts to job roles and / or organisation structures?
  • What initial and ongoing training and job support will be needed?

 

Once these areas of change impact have been identified, change management plans can then be drafted. At a minimum, a detailed communications plan and a detailed training plan should be prepared.

The communications plan should cover the entirety of the project lifecycle and include:

  • Messages - what needs to be communicated
  • Timing - when the messages are to be delivered
  • Audience - to whom they should be delivered
  • Medium - how they should be delivered
  • Feedback channels – for end-users to raise queries and concerns at any stage in the project.

The detailed training plan should make sure the following is covered off:

  • What training needs to be delivered
  • Who needs to receive training
  • Key training delivery method(s) for each group (instructor-led; videos; paper based)
  • What training materials are required – who will prepare them and own them
  • Post go live training support (use of Product Champions, etc.)

 

Change management can often be an after-thought in an IT project as staff are more immediately involved in the system design, building and testing. However, change management should not be treated as an optional extra but as an integral part of the overall project approach and plan. Nobody likes to be left in the dark about impending changes and a well thought out change management plan can ensure that the change goes as smoothly as possible and uptake of the new system is high.

To talk to our team about how to manage your change control, contact us below.

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