Educate, educate, educate

Your change management role, whatever the project is, includes educating those around you about change management. Even if that is not part of your job description, you need to put it there. You need to find ways to assist those around you to see how change management is helping their project be more successful.

Spend the time needed to bring people up to speed – developers, testers, subject matter experts, business analysts, business representatives, project managers, business sponsors. Whomever is in your daily circle. Take the time to bring members of your project team along with you, help demystify the change process and the impact your project will have, and the need for change. You never know when the seeds you have sown in this project will repay you, or help another change manager further down the line. It will also help change management further establish it’s credentials in the workforce.

Do not assume that anyone understands what change management is until you’ve properly checked in with them. People often rationalise change management to equal communication, so spend time to develop your own personal sound bites that address this common misperception. Stories/anecdotes are far, far better than theories and models.

People love stories. Develop relationships with end users and other related staff to cultivate local stories, so you can bring those stories back to the project team and other stakeholders. Even the most introverted developer wants to know what people think of their work, or what they can do to make their software work better!

The information that you provide your team brings context and purpose, don’t underestimate it, no matter how anecdotal. Stories are valuable tools to use in the maturation of change management capability and understanding. Keep track of all the interesting stories you come across so that you won’t forget them. If the organisation/ project are large enough, consider Zahmoo from Anecdote (I get no commission!!), a story database. I haven’t used it yet but I will one day.

If you have access to a usability lab, fantastic, all the better. Find a way to bring everyone along to some prototype testing. There is nothing like showing users interacting with prototypes to help the team understand the importance of including the end user in their projects in some way, and helping them understand the extent of the business impact (and the role that you perform). Even business stakeholders can get tremendous value from usability testing as their assumptions can be tested.

Become an evangelist for change management in a way that suits you. Our industry is young, so part of every change manager’s role needs to include representing change management to people within their project or organisation.

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2 thoughts on “Educate, educate, educate

  1. Good observations. There is much more awareness these days about the importance of change management but still there are lots of major variations in understanding what it is, why its important and how to do it. Getting more consistency, educating people everyday, will help projects be more successful. Thanks goodness there are many more enlightened project managers these days…in 1998 I was change manager for a large government ICT project. The deputy project manager called me in one day and told me “I know all about change management, and I’ll tell when we need some”. Ouch!
    Thanks for mentioning Zahmoo. We use it a lot to collect and share stories (anecdotes, examples, experiences) in change applications.

  2. Pingback: Doing more than “pure” change management?
 | Dancing On Hot Coals

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