Some organizations totally underestimate change, others simply do not know how to cope with.
However, change management must be full part of any transformation project. This observation is banal and has been around for a long time.
To be accurate, the 1st concepts of change management come from the industrial revolution! From conflicts between workers and managers to the search of the most efficient approach, managers have always tried to drive change inside their organization.
Even if it is sometime blurred, change management is a formal process that should be planned as well as any other step of the project, except that this one last longer.
Regarding our S2P project, it is important to create a need for the solution among stakeholders, and share a common vision regarding the future way of workin
1. Onboard stakeholders and develop a common vision
First, make sure you have win ambassadors interests and onboarded your sponsor (regarding S2P project, best sponsor is the CFO, because the project involves so many functions across the company). Goal here is to make the deployment of the solution a priority for the company. It should be on the top projects for the coming months.
Then, focus on project ambitions and benefices on the scale of the company (process improvement, security and data control, data sharing, etc.) to guarantee sponsor support and ease the first steps toward transformation.
On another hand, reinforce the project team motivation to the solution. In a previous article, we have already seen how important it is to create a strong project team, involving different functions and mixing different skills (see the article #8 – Build the right project team).
Now that your team is ready, clearly explain project purpose and principles to everyone in order to increase the motivation to go further.
Best consequence of a good onboarding is that team members take ownership of the project and help its diffusion through the organization.
Once stakeholders are informed of the project, here comes the “story telling” construction.
In accordance with the company strategy, build a credible and well-founded communication plan, answering:
- Why implementing a such project: cost reduction, process standardization, general project of transformation, compliance etc.
- How you will meet the objectives: setting up a single tool to standardize process and bring together best practices of your organization
- What solution you will use: implementing a SaaS tool to share data to everyone and be more flexible
Having your own answers in mind, start building your communication plan.
Remember that whether it is a 3 months or 18 months project, communication remain essential.
Below some components for a relevant communication plan:
2. Diffuse and perpetuate the best practices
One of project team roles is to foresee the resistance by thoroughly identifying impacts that will need to be addressed.
As well as workshops, informal discussions are important to measure project acceptance and identify potential difficulties. When one topic appears, review the importance (major, minor), and the range of impacts (all business, only few users, etc.) to categorize the issue and create a matrix.
Split impacts according criteria as: processes, procedures, information flow, culture, structure/organization, controls, responsibilities, job description etc.
Beyond identifying and understanding the impacts on processes, don’t miss any impacted group of users. According your organization, S2P project can involve almost everyone in your company.
Remember that even a small matter can have a significant impact on employees’ motivation or even on the project meaning itself, so it is important to correctly detect and assess all of them.
Consider and draw the concrete changes after go-live for end users can avoid negative attitude.
First use the matrix of impacts mentioned above, and then adjust your communications according:
- Benefices in terms of “personal” organization (way of working)
- Concrete quick wins: financial, organizational, time-savings etc.
- Global benefices for the operating model (easier, faster etc.)
Considering the future way of working will ease user adoption. In this way, concrete onboarding like practicing sessions or post go-live support are critical.
Training sessions are the showcase of the solution. Thus, it is important to involve experts to build the right training plan: gather targets, adjust content, provide adapted support, organize sessions etc.
Collaborate with your internal training team if you have one, or human resources: they know what method will better meet employees’ expectations.
Besides, training is also the best way to encourage collaborative learning and start creating “community”. Teams members and stakeholders are an important leverage to federate teams and promote cross-culture and synergies.
Besides, the method “show by example” is a good way to promote the solution and convince unwilling users. People tend to believe actions only when they can see concrete outcomes. To achieve first concrete results, it is important to secure the transition. Not only a strong user assistance is required, but you still have to pay attention to users’ considerations and observations even after go-live.
Both bottom-up and top-down approaches are useful in terms of continuous improvement, so be sure to get the resources and support to collect and process information from end users.
It is also time to provide results to your stakeholders and asses key performance indicators that you have defined earlier (see the article #5 – Remember your project goals and set up KPIs).
A perfect solution with seamless process won’t be efficient if you do not devote resources to support the transition. Thus, as well as the sourcing phase or the implementation strategy, change management is part of the project and must be covered cleverly. We have seen that internal end-users are key in the project success, but do not forget other partners, such as your suppliers.
Change management must starts before the project kick off and last until after the go-live.