Blog Posts Process Analysis

Project Launch Process L050

Blog: Biz-Performance, David Brown

Define and Agree Change Management Approach


Define which methodology will be used to manage the change within the organisational.  This will provide the framework for managing employees’ expectations, addressing staff issues, education and training needs.


System implementations do not happen in isolation.  They have an influence on all human factors and may require organisational changes to be implemented before, during and after implementation.  The implementation will benefit from a clearly defined approach to the management of these changes.
To decide which change management approach is appropriate for the organisation and the specific project, the following factors will need to be considered:
  • How much change is actually required for successful realisation of the business benefits?
  • Which management style is appropriate for the organisation and for the amount of change required?
  • Who needs to be involved in defining the change management approach in order to ensure the right level of ownership?


This process is optional.  It is appropriate where there is a significant amount of user change to be addressed by the project.


Prerequisites (Finish-Finish):
  • Review / confirm Terms of Reference (ToR), Scope, Objectives (L010)
  • Review / confirm business needs and anticipated benefits (L020)
Dependent procedures (Finish-Finish):
  • Publication of the Quality Plan (L080)


  • Project Constitution – Terms of Reference / Scope / Objectives etc
  • Definition of business needs and anticipated benefits


  • Change management strategy – published formally as part of the Quality Plan


Diagnostic tools

  • MOC questionnaires
  • Topographical survey and Telescopic questionnaires
  • Organisational Culture Inventory

Planning tools

  • MOC planning tools


  • collaborative process


The change management approach

The purpose of the change management approach is to ensure that the key organisational factors (vision, structures and relationships, culture, people and other resources, systems and processes) are in line with one another and allow the new package-focused solution to lead to maximum benefits for the organisation.  The choice of an appropriate change management approach is essential to achieve this successfully and efficiently.
Typically it covers three major elements:
  • the process for clarifying the vision driving the project and for sharing this vision with the users and IT resources working on the project,
  • the process for identifying and continuously updating the understanding of what changes need to be implemented to support the realisation of the benefits associated with the new system,
  • the process for implementing and monitoring the actions required to change effectively as needed.

Change management style

Depending on the scope of the changes required or facilitated by the package solution and the style of the organisation, the change management processes will be organised differently.  Two factors determine which change management style is appropriate for a given project:
  • The scope of the change involved. The amount of change generated by the introduction of a package-focused business solution will determine whether there is a high or low need for change management.  To assess this scope fully, a number of different contributing factors need to be considered:
    • is the vision pursued by the package implementation radically different from the current vision e.g. sales decisions will be driven by information grouped (per client, rather than per product)
    • will the system significantly alter existing business processes and practices or does it replicate current ways of working, e.g. automatic update of stack levels and production orders through immediate registration of sales at point of sale,
    • will the system’s introduction require or facilitate departmental, divisional, or corporate reorganisation, e.g. reduction/abolition of central departments by devolving information and authority,
    • how big is the impact of the system’s introduction on people and other resources, e.g. the increased access to automated information reduces the expert status of individuals; the automation of basic tasks (e.g. printing bills) frees up time for higher value-added activities (e.g. client visits),
    • how is the culture of the organisation affected by the introduction of the new system, e.g. groupware tools require competitive divisions to pool information previously treated as secret.
  • The answer to these questions will allow the current project to be classified into one of four categories:
    • fine-tuning
    • step-change
    • divisional transformation
    • corporate transformation.
  • The style of the organisation. – The preferred decision-making style of the organisation will influence which change management approach is appropriate.  Several models exist to describe management styles.  For the purpose of this exercise, consider the following types:
    • coercive – decisions are taken without discussion and enforced upon people
    • directive – decisions are taken by management and communicated for people to comply with
    • consultative – selected individuals help analyse the issues and develop solutions
    • collaborative – all people affected by the decision are involved in the problem analysis, solution definition and implementation.
Depending on the scope of the change, the use of these styles will lead to different outcomes.  Their relationship is illustrated in the following diagram.
SIIPS Minimum Style Line.PNG
The combinations style/scope above the Minimum-Style-Line (e.g. A) will lead to a constructive response by people in the organisation, the combinations falling below this line (e.g. B) will lead to a defensive response.
In the example this means that using a directive style for the introduction of a system leading to a divisional transformation is likely to decrease existing productivity levels and make people feel victims of a decision they did not take part in. A collaborative approach, involving all members of the division maintains the productivity levels and allows individuals to take ownership of issues and solutions.
The importance of maintaining productivity levels and the need to avoid victimised attitudes will define which decision making style is appropriate for the situation at hand.
It is unlikely that all information is available from the start of the project.  For instance, the scope of the change will be influenced by the system requirements.  Although a high-level scope can be anticipated, a detailed assessment of the organisational impact (R090) will refine the initial assessment.  An adjustment of the change management approach might follow from this assessment.  A similar refinement may take place in preparation for the implementation processes (see Processes D730-D740).

Involving business management

Since the chosen management approach will influence the outcome for the organisation, it is essential that business management is involved in the selection of the approach.  This typically requires them to participate in the following activities:
  • education to ensure all management members have a common understanding and language to discuss change issues
  • identification of the scope of the change and the preferred decision making style
  • diagnosis of previous change management efforts and risk analysis of the project
  • links with other initiatives, projects and programmes taking place or planned during the project life
  • decision on the chosen change management approach and its components (see below).
By involving business management in this decision process, the change management approach:
  • will be based on and tailored for the business issues,
  • will be owned by the business management and not just project management,
  • can be integrated into existing change programmes where appropriate.
The result of this process is the agreement of the specific change management approach for the project.  This may typically include the definition of how the following aspects will be handled:

  • Identification of how the system objectives tie in with the organisational vision – this includes clarifying which business benefits are expected to be delivered / enabled by the new system and/or the current problems that it is required to resolve.
  • Education of all project team members to understand fully what the business benefits are and the vision that supports the system.  In addition to this initial education, there may be a need for a mechanism to monitor regularly that the system continues to reflect business needs throughout the project’s life.  This is more likely to be the case for long-term projects where large project teams naturally lose contact with and understanding of the latest business evolutions.
  • Cascade of an understanding of the objectives and expected benefits to all end users.  Depending on the chosen management style this may be done at the start of the project or may be part of the training exercise at the end of the project.
  • Identification and implementation of the structural reorganisations needed to support the system.  This will take into account changes to departmental structures as well as the redefinition of job responsibilities.
  • The development of new skills needed by the users of the system through education and training.  Training typically takes place towards the end of a project.  However, in many cases some of the new skills and concepts can be developed early on, thus realising earlier benefits and spreading the training effort (see Process D760).
  • An approach to develop new cultural attitudes if a shift in organisational beliefs, behaviours and assumptions is required for part of or the whole of the business.
  • The development and maintenance of user commitment for the system both during the project and after the system has been implemented.  This will require considering:
    • how the reward and recognition mechanisms need to be used/altered to support the business benefits,
    • what communication levels need to be maintained between the project and the business,
    • what transitional and permanent help mechanisms need to be implemented to allow a smooth transition from current systems to the new solutions.
  • The overall time-frames for implementing the proposed organisational changes and the way they need to be sequenced and spread.  This includes considering when business benefits begin to be realised.
  • Performance measurements to identify that the proposed changes have taken place and/or the expected benefits have been realised.
  • The roles and relationships required for the successful realisation of the proposed changes.  This typically covers the roles and responsibilities of people working on the project team and other participants who are members of the overall project organisation.  In addition, consider the role of user managers and users – their early and continuing inclusion will increase their understanding, involvement and, as a consequence, their commitment.
  • The relationship with other (IT or non-IT) projects may need to be clarified.
  • A mechanism for continuously monitoring the scope of the change and the right style to adopt may be needed, especially for larger projects where assessing the scope is difficult and the most appropriate style might change over time.

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