In any project, change is inevitable, of course everyone does their best to analyse and best define requirements and design during those phases of the project but there is always something that flies under the radar. In order to manage and mitigate the impact of changes that occur after design sign off we need to have robust systems in place that address how the scope, timeline, budget and system functionality may be affected by a suggested change.
However, it is not only changes to the project that can have an impact but also changes within the organisation (customer or vendor) that can have an effect. How do we best manage organisational change during project implementation? As always it comes down to communication! Clear, transparent and upfront communication that succinctly outlines the objectives, justifications and effects of the changes.
In response to the first area of change – I use a change request form which is versioned and filed on our SharePoint site for future reference. In addition, each of these requests are recorded on a change log that details the date written, date approved/rejected, cost, budget impact, resource required among other information. This provides a clear document to the customer with all necessary information for them to make an informed decision about the change. In-house it provides a point of reference and accountability.
On the second point, inadequately managing organisational change can cause serious damage to a project and those participating. Involving your team in a consultative process will assist in managing pro-change and anti-change attitudes. As the cartoon depicts, don’t just be a mouthpiece ‘all talk, no action’ ensure you role-model the behaviour you want from your team. Choosing to be pro-active with your team at the outset, involving them in planning for change can help facilitate positive feelings about the impending change and achieve buy-in from the team.
Many of the projects we work on are going to bring significant change to our customer’s business processes – and many of their employees will be expected to use a brand new system. This can be daunting and a cause for real anxiety for the end user. A project that we are working on currently has a number of users who are relatively new to computer technology, in order to assist our customer we have tailored our user manual to include a greater amount of detail to assist the users and ultimately help the customer implement the change into their organisation with greater ease.
Change can have wide ranging implications however by working together, communicating effectively and involving as many people as necessary the overall impact of any change can be lessened.