The Project Plan Part 3c: The Organizational Change Management Plan – Managing Change

Planning

Managing Change includes the design of Organizational Change Management Plans and individual change management activities. This is the “what you are going to do” to manage the change. Here are the components of the plan to manage change:

Communication Plan – Communication is a key component of explaining what is changing and why to the organization. Be sure to include the “WIFM” (What’s in it for me?) message. These communications should promote awareness of the project, the timeline, and how the changes will impact each affected group.

Training Plan – This plan will not only focus on training for a new system but also new processes. It will provide the specifics of what is changing for each user group. Also, included in the training is reiteration of why we are embarking on the change initiative.

Coaching Plan – Your coaching plan defines how you will support managers and supervisors during the change and how they will interact with front-line employees. The objective is to fully enable these managers and supervisors to:

• Sponsor the change

• Support their employees during the change

• Support their employees in the new, changed environment

The steps to developing a coaching plan:

1. Enable supervisors and managers to be effective change management coaches

Prepare a change management program and deliver this program to supervisors. Several key areas should be addressed with supervisors:

• Why is supervisor involvement important in change management?

• How do I talk with my employees about change?

• How do I coach my group through a change?

• Identifying different ways that people deal with change and how to coach them through it.

• How do I coach individual employees through change?

• What are the expectations for coaching in this project (frequency, timelines, agendas, etc.)?

2. Develop group coaching activities and timeline

Supervisors should prepare for and meet with their groups to discuss the change. Key messages should be provided by the change management team.

Group coaching during a change is an effective medium for distributing information and gathering feedback. It can help to build support for change and ease concern and resistance.

3. Develop individual coaching activities and timeline

Individual coaching sessions are one-on-one opportunities for supervisors and managers to work on change with specific employees. The face-to-face messages received are important as employees work through the change and try to perform in the changed environment. You should develop a matrix with the following components: Coaching Activity, Purpose, Timing, and Audience.

Workforce Transition Plan – A Workforce Transition Plan is a detailed plan to address changes in roles, responsibilities and organization structure. You need to plan how individuals will transition as a result of change and ensure they are transitioned according to organizational values and policies. You should develop a matrix with the following components: Individual or Group, Supervisor, Describe the transition, New Skills Required, Resolution, Communication Needs, Comments.

Resistance Management Plan – A resistance management plan is a proactive approach to managing resistance. During the assessment you identified potential resistance points. As your project implementation progresses, additional areas of resistance may surface. Below are action steps to creating your resistance management plan and the template:

1. Review areas of resistance from the assessment and define what resistance may look like for your change and how it may be identified.

o Brainstorm with the change management team and project team

o Brainstorm with the stakeholders and sponsors

2. For each level with the impacted organization, define a strategy for managing resistance to the change.

o Brainstorm strategies to address the key areas of resistance. This may be changes in functionality, new skills required or certain departments that may be resistant to the change. Some examples of possible strategies include:

• Communication about why we are making the change, benefits to the organization, and WIFM (What’s in it for me)

• Training or job aids to assist in the transition

• Pairing up certain areas of the organization that will be the most affected by the change with positive change agents or project team members

• Engage with managers, supervisors and coaches to help these individuals along in the change

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The Project Plan Part 3b: The Organizational Change Management Plan – Preparing for Change

Planning

Plan preparation includes activities to prepare yourself and the team for managing the change and the creation of the change management strategy. This allows the team to understand the magnitude of the change and potential resistance from the organization.

Defining the Scope of the Change

Defining the scope of the project for change management purposes means answering the following questions:

  • What are the changes that will occur as a result of this project?
  • Who will be affected?
  • What will be the magnitude of the change?
  • How might the affected groups react when notified of this change? What will be their concerns?

Putting the answers in a spreadsheet will help the planning process.

Conduct an Organizational Assessment

You can assess the organizational readiness for change by finding the answers to the following questions:

  • How resistant is the organization to the change associated with this project?
  • What is the capacity for change within the organization? Is the organization already being required to make changes elsewhere? How much more change can the organization absorb?
  • What is the history of similar projects/change within the organization? Did past projects/changes leave a residual effect that could either work in your favor or make the management more challenging?
  • What is middle management’s predisposition to change? Is the management team behind the change effort? Are there any that are opposed?
  • Anticipated Resistance – are particular departments, regions, etc. impacted differently than others? Were certain groups advocating a different solution? Are certain groups heavily invested with how things are done today?

In the next post I will address the components of “Managing Change” and the ADKAR change methodology.

The Project Plan Part 3a – The Organizational Change Management Plan: Roles & Responsibilities

Planning

Organizational Change Management is a structured approach to transitioning individuals, teams, and organizations from current state to a desired future state. The outcome of “People Change Management” is the number one reason why projects will either succeed or fail.

The Organizational Change Management Plan provides a framework to effectively lead your affected stakeholders through the changes that occur within a project. I will address this topic in four posts starting with this one (defining the roles and responsibilities). The topics for the remaining posts are :

  • Preparing for Change
  • Managing Change
  • Reinforcing Change

Roles and Responsibilities

Defining the roles within the team and organization ensures that the team members understand their role in effecting the change within the organization. Use the table below to define the roles, describe the responsibilities and define the names of who will fill the role.

Role

Description/Responsibility

Name(s)

Executive Sponsor/ Change Champion

“Face” of the project communicating directly with employees and management

Participate actively and visibly throughout the project

Build a coalition of sponsorship and manage resistance – identify other Executives who will Champion the change

 

Change Management Resource/Team

Formulate change management strategy – evaluate how big the change is and who will be impacted

Develop change management plan – determine what actions will be taken to enable moving people forward including a communication plan, sponsor roadmap, a coaching plan, training plan and resistance management plan

Execute plan with the other “doers” on the project

 

Change Agents (Middle managers and supervisors)

These are people that have influence in the organization that  can be an advocate for change

Communicator of the change – become well versed in the changes that are occurring and why so they can communicate the message to the employees

Coach – trained in how to help the employees through the change

Liaison between the employees and the change management/project team taking direction and providing feedback on the “buzz” in the organization

 

Building Blocks of a Successful Project Part 1 – Business Sponsorship

Initiation

There are certain fundamentals that need to be in place to increase the probability of project success. The first of these is to have an active and committed Business Sponsor. The Business Sponsor is the person (or persons) who initiated the project and authored the Business Case. The primary roles of the Business Sponsor are to provide funding, help clear obstacles to success, provide resources and make key decisions.

It is surprising how many projects (IT projects especially) proceed without this key building block. The thinking is that the merit of the project itself will drive it to successful conclusion. This is a huge mistake. Projects like this will typically encounter a lack of cooperation from the business units as their priorities do not match the priorities of those driving the project. It is OK for IT to get the ball rolling, but before the project is officially approved, the Business Sponsor must be identified and take ownership.

The Business Sponsor will play a key role in your Organizational Change Management Plan. Their responsibilities will include:

  • Being the “Face” of the project communicating directly with employees and management
  • Participating actively and visibly throughout the project
  • Building a coalition of sponsorship and manage resistance – identify other Executives who will Champion the change

The Project Plan Part 3d: The Organizational Change Management Plan – Reinforcing Change

Planning

Change reinforcement is, in my experience, the most neglected aspect of Change Management. Usually after a project is successfully implemented, the project team “high fives”, celebrates success and then moves on to the next project. A year later, when it is discovered people are not following processes and policies or not using a system as it was intended, management will scratch their heads and wonder “where did we go wrong?”.

The answer to that is that no one was monitoring the change and reinforcing it as a part of a continuing activity both during and after the project. It is the Project Manager’s responsibility to ensure that a Change Reinforcement Plan is in place with defined roles, responsibilities and processes.

Reinforcing change includes assessing the results of change management activities. Conduct compliance audits and implement corrective action. Plan to actively seek out and celebrate early successes. Transfer ownership from the change management team to the organization. The organization assumes the role of reinforcing change and rewarding ongoing performance. Understanding how the people are embracing the change and the effect on the results of the project will be addressed during project close and audit phases of the project. During the project you may want to build in activities to assess the effectiveness of your change management, communication and training plans. This can include:

  • Surveys or employee feedback on their understanding of the change, desire to change, knowledge acquisition, skills assessment, and the employees perception if the or
  • Testing to ensure employees understand the new systems and processes
  • Use of metrics. Several metrics can be put in place post implementation to measure if the people change efforts were successful. These may include: System usage, performance reports, how often is the “old way of doing things” still used.

Based on these forms of evaluation of the effectiveness of the change strategies, modifications can be made to the plans. This may include: re-training, additional communication, one on one coaching, etc.

The Project Plan Part 3c: The Organizational Change Management Plan – Managing Change

Planning

Managing Change includes the design of organizational change management plans and individual change management activities. This the “what” you are going to do to manage the change. Here are the components of the plan to manage change:

Communication Plan – Communication is a key component of explaining what is changing and why to the organization. Be sure to include the “WIFM” (What’s in it for me?) message. These communications should promote awareness of the project, the timeline, and how the changes will impact each affected group.

Training Plan – This plan will not only focus on training for a new system but also new processes. It will provide the specifics of what is changing for each user group. Also, included in the training is reiteration of why we are embarking on the change initiative.

Coaching Plan – Your coaching plan defines how you will support managers and supervisors during the change and how they will interact with front-line employees. The objective is to fully enable these managers and supervisors to:

• sponsor the change

• support their employees during the change

• support their employees in the new, changed environment

The steps to developing a coaching plan:

1. Enable supervisors and managers to be effective change management coaches

Prepare a change management program and deliver this program to supervisors. Several key areas should be addressed with supervisors:

• Why is supervisor involvement important in change management?

• How do I talk with my employees about change?

• How do I coach my group through a change?

• Identifying different ways that people deal with change and how to coach them through it.

• How do I coach individual employees through change?

• What are the expectations for coaching in this project (frequency, timelines, agendas, etc.)?

2. Develop group coaching activities and timeline

Supervisors should prepare for and meet with their groups to discuss the change. Key messages should be provided by the change management team.

Group coaching during a change is an effective medium for distributing information and gathering feedback. It can help to build support for change and ease concern and resistance.

3. Develop individual coaching activities and timeline

Individual coaching sessions are one-on-one opportunities for supervisors and managers to work on change with specific employees. The face-to-face messages received are important as employees work through the change and try to perform in the changed environment. You should develop a matrix with the following components: Coaching Activity, Purpose, Timing, and Audience.

Workforce Transition Plan – A Workforce Transition Plan is a detailed plan to address changes in roles, responsibilities and organization structure. You need to plan how individuals will transition as a result of change and ensure they are transitioned according to organizational values and policies. You should develop a matrix with the following components: Individual or Group, Supervisor, Describe the transition, New Skills Required, Resolution, Communication Needs, Comments.

Resistance Management Plan – A resistance management plan is a proactive approach to managing resistance. During the assessment you identified potential resistance points. As your project implementation progresses, additional areas of resistance may surface. Below are action steps to creating your resistance management plan and the template:

1. Review areas of resistance from the assessment and define what resistance may look like for your change and how it may be identified.

o Brainstorm with the change management team and project team

o Brainstorm with the stakeholders and sponsors

2. For each level with the impacted organization, define a strategy for managing resistance to the change.

o Brainstorm strategies to address the key areas of resistance. This may be changes in functionality, new skills required or certain departments that may be resistant to the change. Some examples of possible strategies include:

• Communication about why we are making the change, benefits to the organization, and WIFM (What’s in it for me)

• Training or job aids to assist in the transition

• Pairing up certain areas of the organization that will be the most affected by the change with positive change agents or project team members

• Engage with managers, supervisors and coaches to help these individuals along in the change

The Project Plan Part 3b: The Organizational Change Management Plan – Preparing for Change

Planning

Plan preparation includes activities to prepare yourself and the team for managing the change and creation of the change management strategy. This allows the team to understand the magnitude of the change and potential resistance from the organization.

Defining the Scope of the Change

Defining the scope of the project for change management purposes means answering the following questions:

  • What are the changes that will occur as a result of this project?
  • Who will be affected?
  • What will be the magnitude of the change?
  • How might the affected groups react when notified of this change? What will be their concerns?

Putting the answers in a spreadsheet will help the planning process.

Conduct an Organizational Assessment

You can assess the organizational readiness for change by finding the answers to the following questions:

  • How resistant is the organization to the change associated with this project?
  • What is the capacity for change within the organization? Is the organization already being required to make changes elsewhere? How much more change can the organization absorb?
  • What is the history of similar projects/change within the organization? Did past projects/changes leave a residual effect that could either work in your favor or make the management more challenging?
  • What is middle management’s predisposition to change? Is the management team behind the change effort? Are there any that are opposed?
  • Anticipated Resistance – are particular departments, regions, etc. impacted differently than others? Were certain groups advocating a different solution? Are certain groups heavily invested with how things are done today?

In the next post I will address the components of “Managing Change” and the ADKAR change methodology.