The company executive have decided to implement System XYZ, and ‘You’ have been chosen as the project manager. This project will change the way in which many of the company’s processes are done today. If the project is complex enough you may have budget to engage a change manager or business transition consultant. If not, Can you ensure success when introducing process change?
Where to start
Part of your project management process should include a stakeholder analysis. Stakeholder analysis identifies the individuals or groups that are likely to affect or be affected by the changes, and arrange them based on their impact on the action or the impact the action will have on them. This information is utilized to evaluate how the changes for the impacted stakeholders should be addressed.
The impacts to various stakeholders or stakeholder group(s) have been identified. It is time to engage those stakeholders and openly discuss what the changes will be and the how their current processes will be impacted. Get feedback from the stakeholders on ways to implement the changes that will provide the most benefit. This is extremely important. Changing the way someone does their work can be upsetting. We think that people dislike change. What the real issue is that change causes fear. Fear of the unknown.
What’s in it for me
That is why you need to communicate openly how the change will affect them. It is vital to highlight the benefits. When the stakeholders understand what is in it for them, they start the journey to acceptance. When the group understands that they had a say in how the changes would be structured and implemented, they feel they have been represented and heard. It is necessary to have some champions within the stakeholder group to continue to enforce the positive message and demonstrate their acceptance of the change. Various forms of communication, such as a newsletter or a project website, should be used to update the stakeholders on the progress of the project.
And in the end
As the system implementation is getting down to go live, training for the stakeholders will take place. Now they will simulate what their new work environment will be like. If all has gone well, they will be able identify the benefits for them from the process change. Now the majority of the stakeholders will be the biggest supporters. I say the majority, as there will always be ‘naysayers’. But sooner or later they also become supporters and in the end, the change was introduced successfully.
Secret to success, engage the stakeholders. Gain their insights. Use that to power the change effort. Show them the benefits.
Will this approach work for you?
© 2011 Gwen Miller. All Rights Reserved