Do you have trouble managing change within your financial system? This is a common theme among many companies embarking on or in the middle of financial system projects. There are measures you can take to alleviate the headaches and hassle. Here is a breakdown of how you can manage change during transformative implementations.
Managing Change during the Planning Phase of a Project
There are many different approaches to managing change during the planning phase of a project, but one key factor that will set the tone for the project is the commitment of the Senior Management toward the change. Senior Management MUST be on board with the change for the project to succeed.
After you have Senior Management commitment, there are other steps you can take:
- Select a team of Change Champions (key managers and opinion formers) who will play a crucial role in gaining the commitment of the employees towards the change and in disseminating the change widely across the organization. This team will meet on a set cadence to learn about the change and future state.
- Develop an understanding that resistance to change is inevitable and it needs to be managed effectively. Allow for time in the project plan to continue to re-enforce the change (this is tightly coupled with the communication step below).
- Plan for educating and training the participants. This includes training them on the changes to their process as well as the additional knowledge they will need to perform their job. Depending on the scope of the change, training materials and new desktop procedures may be required. Having the end-users participate in developing the materials will help them become invested in the change.
- Communicate! Maintain open channels of communication to all stakeholders regarding what will be changing and include the timeline, status, key processes, risks, issues, and lessons learned. The communication can be through emails, meetings, blogs, newsletters, team sites, etc.
- Create a Charter for the project outlining the Change Control Board (CCB) members and responsibilities, the Steering Committee members and responsibilities and overall project team roles and responsibilities.
Managing Change during the Execution Phase of a Project
Once the project starts, it’s time to put your change management plan into place.
- Utilize a process, including templates, for creating change requests and project impact analysis (cost, time or level of effort, risk, resources, funding, and priority). Having a process in place ensures that all changes will be evaluated in the same manner.
- Utilize a process that outlines clear roles and responsibilities for approving changes – changes are evaluated by the CCB or Steering Committee but there can be different approval levels. Only approved changes can be added to the project plan.
- Re-evaluate the business case if the number of changes becomes excessive.
- Execute the training plan for impacted employees.
Managing Change for Future Releases or Ongoing Maintenance
Even after the project has completed, changes to your financial system will be required – new policies, reporting requirements and accounting requirements all factor into keeping your financial system current. Keeping up with change and managing it on a continuing basis can be done effectively by continuing the CCB process for all ongoing or maintenance changes.
The suggestions above should provide some organization and methodology to handle change during your projects; however, don’t try to over-engineer the process, and do what feels right for your company.
If you are struggling and need help, Alliance can provide guidance, support, and project management assistance. Please let us know how we can help!