Principles of Successful Change Management: 5 keys

Nov 15, 2016
Aleks Yenin

Posted by Aleks Yenin

1. Human aspect is the core element of change

Whatever Change Management tools you use, human aspect is the main one. I put this factor on the first place of Change Management approach. It’s unavoidable that there’s going to be tension when it comes to changes no matter how you present them. And it is going to affect user experience as the people, as well as processes need some time to adjust.

Moreover, it can influence the results of your project. The picture below shows a human attitude during any change process.

Change management resistance chart

2. Change as early as possible

People wouldn’t like to hear if there’s going to be a more complicated system a few stages before the release.  But if implemented at early stages of the project, changes can be met with quite a different level of appreciation. It is important to bear in mind that the team itself is the driving force of change, and this force is fueled by their motivation.

Here are a few tactics to try out:

  • Watch your team closely, talk to them individually and as a group. With their help work out a comprehensive approach that you are going to exploit at early stages of development
  • Join forces with managers and leaders in your team so they could become the evangelists of the change.
  • Speak out why this change is important and how it will bring positive changes for your team and your product.

3. Why not to change?

Find out the reasons for resistance so that you are able to address them. You might not think this way at first  but it’s a good thing when people express their reluctance in open. As if they hide it and try to perform some guerrilla actions (like slowing down on purpose) it is far worse.

What if we don't change cartoon

Dealing with this issue requires fighting not only the outcomes of the resistance but also the reasons behind it. From our experience, these are the most widely spread reasons for resistance:

  • Unclear reasons for why the team should change
  • Absence of involvement from managerial side
  • Past experience of change failure
  • Absence of motivation to adjust to change
  • Expectation of changes in the job role

As you can see, all the reasons are manageable with the right attitude and certain input of efforts. So use your patience and diplomatic skills, and deal with them even before you feel a negative impact of the changes.

4. Identify the sources of resistance 

Anticipation is the key here, so why not to think ahead. Try to figure out who are going to be affected the most and who might need your specific attention to adjust to the change. Let’s mark out the groups that might be affected the most by new methodology:

  • people who were behind the implementation of the current methodology
  • people who wanted to implement a different solution
  • people who have the most to do with the current working process
  • people who think their workload is going to change

5. Bring the leaders on board

The people who are working directly with teams can support the change by doing exactly what they have been doing all the time – talking and encouraging them. HRs and Change Managers can seem as an ovious choice in taking on this role of change evangelists. However, they are not always having the same impact on people as Product or Project Managers, Service Owners.

  • Start with the top – make the senior guys realize that their participation and encouragement is of utmost importance.
  • Lead the guerrilla marketing program – as a part of change management team, act from the background, make it subtle but persuasive. Analyse, audit, anticipate and tackle the problem of staff resistance.

To recap, I’d suggest to introduce Change management process officially in your company. To support it and automate it, there are a number of nice change management tools. For example, Jira Service Desk has built-in workflow and request type for Change management process so if you need automation, you can start using Jira pretty fast.

Please, share your thought on dealing with resistance in change management. What were your tactics to make your Change management process pleasant for people and effective? If you’d like to ask some more ITSM-related questions, fell free to drop us a line.

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