We’ve all heard the old adage, The one constant is change. And why have we heard it so often? First, because it’s true. Second, because we wish it weren’t. Change makes us uncomfortable. We prefer control. And sometimes we achieve the illusion of it, with the implementation of systems and processes. But change is always coming, and these days, it’s faster than ever.
To keep up with the breakneck speed of delivery, organizations must find a way to accommodate change with minimum disruption – to embrace ongoing transformation while ensuring business as usual. From identification through solutioning, approval, implementation and documentation, a well-defined change management process will clear the path for success.
Best practices are only the beginning. A well-executed, reliable change management strategy incorporates three crucial elements:
Change management succeeds when your project team includes an advocate who can secure an audience – and alignment – with key internal and external stakeholders. This is more than booking meetings. It requires someone who can facilitate the difficult conversations required for team members at all levels to understand the necessity and importance of disruptive change.
Effective change leaders can articulate quickly, clearly and effectively the benefits and risks of proposed changes and provide definitive direction. They excel at knowing when to create a sense of urgency to keep the team moving forward. While upholding the vision for what your organization will become in the future, they’re pragmatic enough to see where it is today – and facilitate the journey.
When rapid shifts in technology, economics, politics and other arenas demand equally rapid response in business, IT delivery can feel like running a marathon – one where the terrain is always changing and the pace is ever increasing.
Without a clear and concise strategy for communicating changes, projects can quickly be derailed by a game of office telephone. Rather than relying on what they hear at the water cooler, team members need to be sure the information they’re getting is reliable and up to date. A solid communication strategy helps everyone understand their own roles in implementing change and know when to act, so the pace remains sustainable.
When it comes to change management, one size does not fit all. Even if your organization has implemented industry best practices, the volume and rate of change can still overwhelm. Be mindful of the challenges your particular organization or project is facing, and adapt your change management process to address those unique challenges.
Change management doesn’t end with strategy implementation. Given how quickly the world shifts around us, it’s important to maintain a mindset of continual process improvement. Schedule regular intervals to solicit feedback on how to improve your process. For example, if you struggle with vendors who log change requests for every minor detail, consider creating a change tolerance level that empowers managers to approve vendor-specific contractual-scope changes within predefined limits.
The benefits of independent oversight
Leadership, communication and continuous improvement are the keys to elevating your change management process. And while it’s possible to nurture those qualities within your organization, an independent expert can provide an added degree of clarity.
Because it’s easier to see the trouble points from a few steps back, bringing in a second set of eyes to oversee the progress of your transformational projects makes a lot of sense. Someone who has overseen organizational change in all its forms can help you manage the challenges of changing the tires, refueling the tank and replacing the windshield on your car all while navigating a 12-lane highway. Because that’s what business looks like today.
At cShell, we pride ourselves on helping IT teams gain the clarity and focus needed to effectively manage change. If it truly is the only constant, then change management deserves your attention. Because there is no holding back the tide. Let us help you meet it head on.