Ask 100 people to define Change Management, and you'll get 100 different definitions. At the end of the day, the definition is just semantics. What really matters is whether you can implement a Change Management program in a practical way that allows you to support your organization in successfully achieving its goals. Whether you're a Change Manager, a consultant, or the tech. guy who was told to "figure out some Change Management stuff," this blog will help address common issues and topics you're likely to run into along the way.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Change Management in the Project Lifecycle: Analyze Phase

You've made your plan, now it's time to put it in motion.  During this phase, your activities will fall into three different categories:
  1. Activities you do purely as a Change Management team
  2. Activities you do in partnership with the Project Management team
  3. Activities you do in partnership with the Functional teams
There may be some debate about which team actually owns each of these activities.  If so, I suggest you hash it out and develop a RACI.  This is a chart that clearly identifies for each activity who is Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed.  It will save you a lot of headache throughout the project.

Practical Activities in the Analyze Phase
  • Change Management Activities: The Change Management Activities you complete in this phase set the stage for future phases.
    • Project Branding - Branding your project makes it instantly recognizable to people in your organization.  This can include a catchy project name, logo, and tag line.  I've even been on projects that have colors, mascots, and songs.  Be as creative as you want...just make sure it fits with your company's culture.
    • Communications Analysis - The Communications Analysis looks at what messages you need to send, who should send them, who should receive them, and what vehicles are currently available.  It also takes into account message timing, frequency, and high-level content.  Once you have this information, you can determine where there are gaps and work to fill them.
    • Initial Training Analysis  - Training typically runs half a phase behind the project, which means that you won't begin your initial training analysis until the Analyze Phase is half-way over.  At this point you are simply determining basic facts, such as the number of people to be trained, their geographic location, and a rough feel for the amount and type of training that will be needed.
  • Partner with Project Management: These activities address the internal workings of the project team. I have seen them completed by the Project Management team on some projects and by the Change Management team on others.  I have found, however, that you get the best results when the two teams collaborate.
    • Project Governance and Escalation - Who has the right to make project decisions?  Who will weigh in on these decisions?  If the people assigned to make the decision are unwilling or unable to decide, to whom is the decision escalated?  Who is able to remove roadblocks and help the team overcome obstacles?  These are the types of questions that are answered as part of developing the Project Governance and Escalation plan.
    • Project Standards - Most projects are made up of people from different departments, experience levels, backgrounds, and even companies.  To ensure that they project a united and professional image to the organization, you should set project standards.  These can include PowerPoint and Word templates, guidelines on how to run meetings, and processes for getting external communications approved.
    • Project Kick-off - It is never safe to assume that everyone on the project is on the same page.  Use the project kick-off to acquaint everyone with the project's goals, team structure, timeline, near-term activities, and anything else for which you want them to have a shared understanding.
  • Partner with the Functional Teams: The functional teams are the "business" teams.  They are the ones gathering business requirements, developing business processes, and generally working to ensure the new product meets the business' needs.  
    • Requirements Gathering - Gathering business requirements often involves creating presentations and conducting workshops.  The functional teams are often happy to have the Change team lend a hand polishing presentations and facilitating workshops.  Facilitating the workshops, especially, frees up the functional team's resources to focus on what the end users are trying to explain about their business needs.
    • External Communications - Working in partnership with the functional teams when they need to send communications outside of the project team helps to ensure consistent messages are being sent to the organization.  It also allows the Change team to understand which audiences have received which messages, reducing the likelihood of redundant communications.
Let me know: How have you effectively collaborated with the other project teams during the Analyze Phase?

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