Four Essentials for Successful Change Management

As companies prefer Cloud Solutions and Best Practices over customized software, Change Management is crucial for a successful software implementation.

It’s easy, I think. When software is implemented, something changes. That’s a fact. And if software isn’t tailor-made for the organization, the organization and hence the people need to change. To set the scene for the topic, it’s always good to have a definition. I personally like the definition of Change Management used by Sheila Cox: “Change Management ensures that the new processes resulting from a project are actually adopted by the people who are affected.”

So what exactly is needed to ensure that these new processes are indeed embraced? Well, there are four preconditions: Leadership Alignment, Organizational Readiness, Communication, and Training.

Leadership Alignment means that the (Top) Management not only supports the IT project, but also invests in Change Management and is really involved in the actual change process. Management leads by example. If people are expected to behave differently, then managers and team leads should set the right example.

Organizational Readiness is a wide concept. It contains every bit and byte on the question if an organization is ready to manage the change. Is a team lead capable of persuading an employee when he or she refuses to visit that additional training? How are team leads trained and coached in managing the change? What is the culture within teams? Are people afraid to make mistakes (an ineffective environment for change) or is it a trusted environment in which people aren’t afraid to ask questions if things are unclear and can ask for help? Do people need different skills in the future? Do we need different communication or even another organizational set-up?

Another prerequisite in successful Change Management is Communication. Each individual goes through 5 stages, which are Awareness, Understanding, Buy-inn, Commitment, and Action. Appropriate communication is required for each phase. A solid and integrated communication plan that is monitored should be in place.

And ultimately, the appropriate trainers and Training content should be available. Organizing trainings is just as important as quality training. Can everybody access the systems? Can trainees retake a training in case they missed one? Do employees perhaps require more training than expected and planned? Are team leads informed when team members are unavailable for daily work? Who is in charge of executing the training plan? And who truly owns the training topic, and is thus responsible?

Change Management is a process that should run on top of project or program. Reach out to me or my colleagues if you wish to learn more about how we can support your successful change.


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