How closely does your change management methodology link to real project work? If it is divorced from what is viewed as the "real work" of the organization, that's a problem! If project managers view the change management methodology as a responsibility of HR and not part of their own accountability for the project-- yes, you guess it! That's a problem.
If you are a project manager, a change agent, or a sponsor, your change management methodology should serve as a "practical guide" to where you are spending your resources and energy for your organizational change. It’s easy to get seduced into thinking that lots of activity means things are going well, but is it the right activity? Are you spending your hard-fought resources doing those things that will give you the greatest return?
These twenty questions will help provide you with a check, and maybe some directional guidance on where your organizational change project team needs to focus its energy:
1. Have you developed a detailed description of the “current state” (based on diagnostic activities such as a survey, business process review, etc.), the “future state,” and defined the gaps between these two? (Why? Because if you haven't defined the gap, you have no way of knowing what the resource load will be to get to the future state!)
2. Do you know how each group of people impacted by this change perceives this situation and what the level of disruption will be for each group? (Resistance is a function of disruption, so with this information, you'll be able to anticipate levels of resistance prospectively.)
3. Do you have a concise and compelling description of what you are changing, why you are changing, and the consequences if you are not successful?
4. Is this description written from the point of view of both the organization and the varying groups of people who will be impacted by this change? (not just the "corporate rationale" for the change)
5. Have you determined what specifically will change for the people impacted by the change and how it will affect them as individuals?
6. Have you identified all the groups affected by this change, either directly or indirectly (such as support functions like Finance, Human Resources, etc.)
7. For each group of users affected by this change either directly or indirectly, do you know who the managers are at each level that will need to “reinforce” their personal commitment to the change?
8. Have you identified the new outputs you will need to see from each group of people impacted by this change?
9. Have you identified specific actions you will need from the Sponsors who are authorizing this change right now?
10. Do you have a process you are following to “contract” with Sponsors for what you need from them now and in the future?
11. What are the specific success metrics for this project including all of the following: time, budget, technical objectives, business objectives (cost and expense, business measures, business outputs), and human objectives?
12. Do you have a plan for communicating this organizational change to each of the groups who are affected that is tailored to the individual situation of each group?
13. What are your tactics and strategies for identifying where resistance is coming from, what the resistance is, and then dealing with the resistance for this organizational change?
14. Do you have a menu of reinforcements are you recommending for each different group as reinforcements for this change (rewards and consequences) based on what is meaningful for that group?
15. How will you educate the managers who need to reinforce this change on what you need from them in terms of what they say, what they do, and what they reinforce on a daily basis?
16. Based on your previous implementations, what are the likely barriers to success? What’s your mitigation strategy for dealing with these barriers?
17. Do you have role descriptions ready for change agents and “reinforcing sponsors” (managers of people who are impacted by the change either directly or indirectly?)
18. What is your plan for reducing the level of work disruption that this change will create?
19. How will you determine the number of people and the type of people you need as change agents across the business who will be responsible for implementing this change?
20. What is your plan for what needs to happen after the organizational change “goes live”?
Does your change management methodology address these questions in a practical, fit for purpose way?