Your guide to creating a Change Managment Plan

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What is a Change Management Plan?

First things first. It’s important to understand what exactly is a change management plan. Here’s the change management plan definition: A change management plan defines activities and roles on how to manage and control change when implementing change in an organization.

In order to succeed, businesses must constantly implement change. An organization needs to continually reassess and readjust what’s offered to customers, how key processes are implemented, who is responsible and how improvement is done. Running a business can be trial and error, so businesses need to be swift and agile in adjusting to change in order to survive.

Why the Need for a Change Management Plan?

Change is not always well received. When an organization brings about change individual stakeholders won’t always react with enthusiasm so change won’t always work well as a collective for the company. Thus, the need for a change management plan to help guide staff and stakeholders through difficult transition periods.

A change management proposal can be the difference between project success and failure. Change is certainly one thing a business can expect. Change management policy and procedures can be implemented in an organization because of one or two reasons: when unexpected circumstances occur or when change management plan steps are intentionally undertaken to facilitate progress or growth.

Factors that influence the occurrence of change in a business organization include market influence, resource constraints, budget reduction, and expansion. Therefore, as you can see from these factors, change can affect your business on a fairly regular basis.

The Organizational Change Process

The change management process is a guide to managing change within an organization. The 8-step processes for change in an organization are:

  • Create urgency
  • Build a powerful coalition
  • Have vision for change
  • Communicate the vision
  • Remove obstacles
  • Generate short term wins
  • Build on the change
  • Anchor the change into the organization culture

How to Create a Change Management Plan

There are several steps involved in creating a change management plan. These steps can be organized into a change management template. They include: 

1.Scope of change

First, it’s important to acknowledge the scope of change in the change management plan. Never assume that people know why change is needed. Even the most obvious is never obvious to everyone. The scope of change or reason for the change can be budget, quality, scheduling, etc. Ensure the reasons for change are clearly defined in the change management plan. Next determine who the change will affect and determine what the change will impact—including policies, processes and organizational structure. Detail the who, what, when and how of the proposed change in a specific timeline. When will the specific aspects of the change be carried out? Who will carry them out? Who and what will be affected?

2. Change management roles

Change management roles are the individuals that will be tasked with championing the project from start to finish. Select people for change management roles who are outwardly supportive of the project goals, are eloquent communicators, and always look forward to sharing positive developments with staff. Define roles for team leaders, stakeholders, and team members. This means you should explain who is going to be doing what in your change management plan, who has the authority to submit a change request, who reviews, and who authorizes them.

3. Change management process flow

A change management process is needed in order to effectively submit, evaluate, authorize, manage and control the change requests. It will be difficult to manage the change plan without the change management process. A communication plan is an important part of a change management process. A communication plan should have a singular goal—to ensure your goals are transparent and team leaders are open in their discussions about the change. Schedule regular face to face interactions and email communications to keep stakeholders up to date on progress. Enable consistent, thorough, and regular communications.

Communications should clearly define the reasons for change, explain the change, show the benefits for change, and include contact information for the person tasked with the change.

It’s also beneficial to train team members to adjust to the proposed changes. Provide training to team leaders and team members to learn new processes and technology. Training may require external output in customizing training materials based on job roles and designing refresher training at key intervals.

The change management process should also define key management indicators to use to measure the ongoing effectiveness of the change management process. These indicators should be very tactical. For example, an indicator showing all employees and team members verbally agree the change is worth the expense.

4. Change request form

In order to make sure requests for change are feasible and advisable, a change request form acts as a means to capture the data for change and showcases how it will impact a project for change. You can’t have a process if you first don’t create a change request form to capture the data. A change request form (one of change management tools) controls the process of dealing with change. It helps make sure that change is thoroughly and smoothly implemented.

There are two types of change requests: inside the scope and outside the scope. An inside the scope change involves small corrections to an existing requirement. An outside scope change takes time to implement and can have a big impact on various aspects of the project.

A change request form helps you know what kind of change you’re dealing with, how it will impact the project and whether it will be done or not.

A change request needs to be shared with the entire team. The team responds to the three core questions at the heart of any change request—what is the change? How important is it? What is the benefit? A change plan without a change request form is chaos; every time a member wants to change something he or she texts you or pulls you aside or even doesn’t include you in his or her thoughts.

5. Activity log

An activity log keeps track of all the changes, including change management activities for leaders. Without a central location where changes can be identified, requests approved or documented, there is no way to know if progress has been made.

6. Key performance indicators

It’s also crucial to have some core key performance indicators that will mark progress toward change objectives. Change management examples to be used as key performance indicators: Improved recruitment numbers and reduced staff turnover, and metrics around release health. For a performance indicator like release health; you need additional capabilities to properly measure. So, establish not only what you want to measure for progress, but also a specific plan for exactly how to measure it.

3 Must-Have Change Management Activities

Identification

Identify employees affected by the initiative. Identify and categorize the three different employee types, and come up with a different approach and communication tactics for each. The employees can be categorized into the rebel, the recruit, and the bystander.

Engage

Engage with team members to promote organizational change. Engaging with staff is helpful in identifying causes and leaders of resistance and starting a conversation. Games to demonstrate change management will help tackle change resistance. Use simulations, exercises or games to enliven learning environments and improve knowledge retention. Games are used as energizers for change management. Games that involve standing up and moving around help participants understand emotional barriers that are part of resistance.

Set goals and celebrate wins

Change can take time. To manage change better, split the transition into stages, phases, and activities. This will make it easier to track progress and create milestones that can be celebrated by the entire team. 

Helpful tips to get started with your organizational change management plan

Change in an organization cannot happen without the entire team taking an active role in it. To make a change management plan a success get employees on-board and involved in its adoption. People are different. Some will welcome change and embrace it—others will resist, and some will even be upset by it.

  • Organizations successful in implementing change know where they are, where they want to go and are willing to follow a well-defined process to help them get there. Look for a proven process that will work for your organization and the nature of the change.
  • Start at the top. Staff simply won’t follow through if they notice lack of clarity, conviction and total alignment from the leaders. This will keep change efforts from being successful. Staff needs to know the team leaders are aligned and personally committed to the change. Organization leaders must become the change that they want to see in others.
  • Keep in mind the needs and perceptions of all stakeholders in the change process. Contemplate the thoughts and considerations of leaders, managers, individuals, and customers. Seeing the change through the eyes of stakeholders is valuable for preparation and planning.