With a comprehensive change management strategy in place, our focus in managing change is largely about creating alignment with project plans. If you think of project plans as the requirements, schedule, and budget required to produce an outcome, the change management plan is the mirror image of that plan: its focus is on the people and processes that enable the new data analytics capabilities.
With everything we know from the first phase of change management, preparing for change, we can organize our approach to preparing the organization to embrace its new capabilities. We achieve this by creating a communication plan, a sponsor roadmap, a training plan, a coaching plan, and a resistance management plan.
Communication is one of the three most essential components of a successful change and initiative, and it’s where many projects run into trouble. The communication plan articulates the messages that need to go to different audiences in order to keep them informed about what is happening with the initiative and what it means for them. Communications plans build credibility and visibility for new initiatives.
The sponsor roadmap contains everything a sponsor needs to be a visible and vigorous sponsor of the change. Quite often the sponsor is the same person who authorizes the budget for a new initiative, so this person is already usually aligned with the objectives of the overall initiative. The sponsor roadmap identifies key events and opportunities to promote promote and support the benefits of the new initiative.
The training plan and coaching plan are very closely aligned. The training plan is designed to show what skills people need in order to be successful with the new initiative, and the coaching plan enables their managers to support them in adopting and honing those skills. Both of these plans work in tandem to create a ready, able, and willing workforce.
Finally, the resistance management plan provides a strategy for mitigating and addressing points of resistance. Every substantial project will have some level of resistance. When people are accustomed to doing things one way, doing them a different way is often a heavy lift. The resistance management plan enables us to identify where people might struggle and help them to overcome the struggles in favor of a better way of working.
With these components in place in operating alongside the project plan, the project team cannot only ensure that their tools are fit for purpose, but also that the people and processes into which those tools will be delivered are equally prepared for success.