October 15, 2019

Change Management Plan Template - Sample and Example

Change Management 

Projects are a vehicle for change. We don’t do projects because we have nothing else to do but because we want to take our organizations to a better to-be desired state. In fact, it is not in vain that projects are sometimes also known as change initiatives!

Change Management Plan, prosci change management
Change Management Plan

Projects are ALWAYS about Change

However, bringing in change without accounting for all the implications in the organization and without understanding the readiness and capacity of the organization for that change can lead to disaster. A structured set of processes and tools are required to enable individuals or groups to transition from the current state to the future state, such that the project desired outcomes are achieved. Projects need effective change management.

It is great if your project can deliver the most extraordinary product, service or process ever seen in the organization but what if no one knows it is coming or how the staff is going to be impacted in their day-to-day job? Even worse, what if the change is not embraced and adopted? Yes, project management as a discipline is suited to address change from a technical perspective but what about the people side? Make no mistake: projects are done by people, with people, and for people. Let us therefore not neglect their role in making or breaking change resulting from projects.

change management process, change process
Change Process

The Change Management Plan

Change Management Roles and Responsibilities
Change Management Roles and Responsibilities

Hopefully, by now we are all in agreement that change deriving from projects needs proper management and that this activity is so important for success that it can even be a project on its own. So how to do it? Start by assembling a specialist team who will put together the project’s Change Management Plan.

The purpose of the Change Management Plan is to ensure that the appropriate mechanisms, processes, and tools are in place regarding the design, development, execution and embeddedness of change management, in this way preparing the different stakeholders in the organization for the business, technical and/or cultural changes that will result from the project.  It is a high-level document that outlines the approach to managing change throughout the project lifecycle and for a smooth, no-surprises transition from the as-is to the to-be of the organization.

A Change Management Plan will typically contain:

Overview of the project: 

this section sets the context and the case for change, describing the need for the project and the benefits that the project aims to realise following successful delivery.

Change Management Team: 

identifies the team who will be accountable and responsible for the management of change in/from the project. In small projects, the team can be limited to the project manager, sponsor and change manager. Larger projects might benefit from a dedicated team with additional roles such as a training coordinator, a change analyst, and a communication specialist.

Change Management roles and responsibilities: 

defines the roles involved in change management as well as their responsibilities. Besides the change management team, it lists other important roles concerning the communication and embeddedness of change such as change champions and change agents.

Change Management Approach: 

explains the what, how, and when of the approach that is going to be used in the project to manage change, namely it answers the following questions:

  1. Organizational readiness for change: how ready for change is the organization and individuals?
  2. Change impact assessment: what will change and to what extent, regarding processes, structures, services, culture and ways of working?
  3. Communication and stakeholder engagement: how will the change be communicated and stakeholders engaged?
  4. Training and knowledge transfer: what training will be required to support change and how is knowledge going to be transferred?
  5. Implementation support and transition: what operational support is required following implementation and how can change be facilitated as part of the transition from project to business as usual?
  6. Change management effectiveness: how will we know if we have been successful in our change management efforts?
Also important to note is that change management should be addressed as early as possible in the project. After all, no one destroys what one helps to build hence the sooner staff impacted by the change is involved, the higher the chances of success in adoption.

Let us be the change we want to see in our organizations. It all starts with effective Change Management!

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