Good change management practices can help organisations to progress, develop and adapt in an ever changing world. Whether a large or small company, change management ensures that an organisation is prepared for any changes that need to be made.
However, choosing the right method and the right time to explore these changes is crucial to their success. If you don’t think you need to think about change management right now, think again, and read on to find out when and how Agile methods can help your change management practices.
Why is Change Management Important?
In short, change management ensures that an organisation is prepared for any changes. These changes can include anything from new ways of creating deliverables, working with new sponsorship partners, streamlining the organisation, or adapting to new risks. During the beginning of the Covid19 pandemic, businesses had to make great changes upfront, having to adapt to staff working from home, as well as risks that come with online business such as cybersecurity.
However, this was not just a pandemic issue. In fact, 70% of all change initiatives fail according to the Harvard Business Review, with the leading cause of this failure being a lack of good change management practices – including not knowing when to implement them.
Agile Change Management IT Organisations
For IT organisations, change management can be even more complex to manage. Adapting to new software developments, programmes and online management systems can be challenging at first, particularly as many online businesses work entirely virtually. Implementing Agile methodology can therefore help with self-organizing team members and enable the team to cope with changing requirements.
How Can Agile Help with Change Management?
Several businesses are now working the Agile way rather than traditional change management methods when it comes to many aspects of business. From managing team members workflow, to getting real time feedback on projects to using Agile project management to achieve project success. The Agile approach to change management provides a framework within which organisations can successfully implement change. Through Agile processes when an organisation wants to develop or when unforeseen circumstances occur, an effective change management plan can help implement organizational change easily. The Change Management process includes four stages:
- Preparation: Where the needs for change and ideal scenario are identified.
- Planning: Where a plan is created which includes details as to how the change will be implemented using an appropriate change model, change practitioners and a timescale. This will be the most important stage, where change should be broken into increments, ideally by an agile team.
- Implementation: To communicate and begin putting the plan into action
- Maintenance: Ensuring that the new method is continuously implemented and monitored.
The process should be used for all change, from the individual to enterprise level. The levels of change management include:
Individual Change Management: This relates to every individual within the organisation who is affected by the change. This means that all employees are aware of how, when and why this change occurs and that employers are aware of how this can affect individuals from the senior leaders to the development team, as well as end users.
Organisational Change Management: This is the next stage of change management, which refers to change within the organisation at a larger scale. This includes changes to project management, project team management and the way in which organisational processes are carried out.
Enterprise Change Management This change occurs at the largest scale, with changes to a sector or entire organisation. This can occur from the top level down to develop an organisation or be affected by outside situations such as global issues.
When Should Organisations Implement Change Management Practices?
Every business should explore the way in which they manage change and how they would approach future change within their organisation. Finding the right time however, is the first step towards successfully developing and adapting as a business. The key things to ask when considering the right time for change are:
1. What type of change is it?
The right time to change aspects of an organisation will depend largely on the type of change. For IT businesses for example, If it is a small, adaptive change such as improving functionality of a site for end users by adding a shortcut to a website then this is more freely able to be done at most times. For large change requests, such as an entire digital transformation using new agile software development processes, avoiding holiday periods, times of staff changes and times when key employees are away is key to ensuring a smoother transition.
2. Why is this change being made?
Some changes are dependent on global issues, the changing marketplace or industry developments. These are more restricted as to when the change is made, and instead the focus should be on choosing the best change method. For smaller changes, opting for a time when the business is steadily doing well and there is time to implement the changes gradually yet consistently is key.
3. Who will this change affect?
One of the biggest mistakes organisations tend to make during the change management process is not considering the impact the change will have on every member of the team. By communicating the change management process to employees and factoring in how this will affect them, the process will go much more smoothly. Discuss the right time to implement change with your team, and choose a time when the team can effectively learn and implement the change properly.
Choosing the right time to implement a change within an organisation is an often overlooked aspect of successful change management. Whether a large change or a small adaptation, developing a company depends upon its ability to handle changes on individual, organisation and enterprise levels. Through Agile change management, every member of the team can effectively adapt to the changes and become a part of the development of the business.
Devin Blewitt is Chief Information Officer at the training provider ITonlinelearning.