Implementing new or refined processes, practices and rules for requirements and analysis in the project and development lifecycles can have significant organization benefits but can also be challenging and risks failure if not done effectively. The importance of effective change management cannot be overstated. IAG Consulting has learned a number of lessons from the hundreds of transformation programs we have implemented over the years. Here we share are few best practices to ensure the desired results are achieved as expected.
1. Define a Clear Vision, Strategy, and Goals
Change initiatives tend to lose momentum when the end-goal is not clearly understood and shared by all participants in the transformation. If not sufficiently defined and accepted (which is usually the case) consider facilitating collaborative session(s) around the organization and program’s vision, strategy, and goals (or having them professionally facilitated). Goals are then defined in an actionable manner so it is clear when milestones are met. The vision must be known by all stakeholders and buy-in a requirement – not just a desired outcome.
2. Establish a Sense of Urgency
The significance and value of a change initiative requires that a sense of urgency be established upfront and continuously reinforced. The failure of past change initiatives often establishes a sense of complacency that affects new change initiatives. All those involved need to intellectually and emotionally understand why the change and improvements are needed, the urgent benefits of realizing them, and the costs and risks of inaction, delay, and ambivalence. John Kotter, in his book about leading change, adds, “Never underestimate the magnitude of the forces that reinforce complacency and that help maintain the status quo.”
3. Utilize a Collaborative Team Approach
Often initiatives fail because they are driven or championed by a single group. No one individual or area has all the answers and information needed to make decisions in the rollout of a transformation initiative. Pulling in stakeholders across the organization upfront brings in better decision making and reduces obstacles that could occur later if the approach as not collaborative. Our experience directing successful change initiatives has taught us the indisputable necessity of creating a coalition of change partners, and how to productively lead diverse teams to success.
4. Generate Quick and Frequent Wins
Transformation is a long term process. Complacency can settle into a program if visible and tangible success is not illustrated quickly and frequently. Identifying early quick hits, planning for small, iterative and incremental phased roll-outs, and demonstrating visible victories with short and early pilot projects are among the tactics to employ that demonstrate the benefits of the changes being introduced – and provide evidence that the sacrifices made to implement change are worth it.
5. Monitor and Adjust in Response to Problems
With an iterative and incremental phased transformation, refinements and course corrections can be made to respond to inevitable challenges and change. To be effective, a program must have defined and measured performance metrics to track progress relative to established goals. These KPIs also help to flag early identification of adoption challenges – that can be systematically analyzed so that practices and deliverables can be dynamically adjusted to better meet the anticipated, ongoing and ever-changing complex needs of the organization.