31 Dec 2015
Top 3 change management themes from 2015
by Melanie Franklin
Coming to the end of the year I though I would summarise the most common questions I get asked about change:
We continue to have lots of confusion about what the different job titles mean. A Change Manager in one organisation might be a junior position, carried out by someone we would previously have called a Business Analyst. They are responsible for mapping the impact of the change and making sure the new ways of working are captured and communicated to all those affected.
In other organisations the Change Manager is seen as a middle manager position, performing the role of an internal communications specialist. Responsible for creating, scheduling and delivering all of the announcements about the change but with no chance to shape the type of change.
Sometimes the role of Change Manager is interpreted as a very senior role, closer to the description of Programme Manager. They have to define all of the aspects of the change and manage all of the projects and transition activities that make the change a reality.
2. Relationship with project management
Again this is open to interpretation. I have worked with organisations this year who have explicitly stated that project management is separate to change management. It is led by powerful individuals and they do not want to expose their fledgling approach to change to the scrutiny and possible criticism of a discipline that is firmly entrenched in their organisation.
At the other end of the scale organisations are using their development of their change management capability to formalise how they manage projects into an integrated project and change management approach.
Either way, in my experience there is still a lot of work to do to explain what change management means so people can make educated decisions about how it fits with project management.
3. Change management methodology
This is a new area for many organisations, who have concluded that there is too much change to let it happen naturally. The risk that change will fail is a c-suite concern so there is growing demand for governance to drone how change is managed and who takes what decisions as it is scoped, developed, implemented and embedded.
There are some common elements to this work:
- Defining the portfolio of all change initiatives so that there is a clear understanding of all the changes that are planned or are already underway.
- Agreeing the steps or processes that a change must move through from initial ideas to final measure of the benefits created.
- Creating templates and checklists to help people with limited knowledge of change management practices run their change as successfully as their more experienced colleagues.
Which of these trends will you be involved in next year? What do you think are going to be the most common themes of 2016? I would love to hear your thoughts.