3 Steps to Scaling Change Management
Change management is not like socks—one size does not fit all. What is the “right” change management approach for a particular project may not be the same for another. Our approaches must be customized to meet the unique needs of each particular change.
More and more organizations see the value in change management. In 2003, only 34% of participants in Prosci’s Best Practices in Change Management benchmarking study used a methodology. This number has grown substantially; by 2011, 72% were using a methodology.
Selecting a methodology for managing the people side of change is essential for establishing structure, rigor, and repeatability, but this is only the first step. Once your methodology has been selected, scaling and customizing the approach is critical to managing change successfully. This is when change management is most effective: when it is flexible and scaled to fit the particular change at hand. Remember, no two changes will have the same process, impacted groups, systems changes, or project outcomes.
In Prosci’s 2011 study, participants identified “ease of use and scalability” as the most critical characteristic of a methodology. Participants recognized that change management is not just a checklist, it’s a guide to help you think critically. With the right change management methodology, one can consider factors unique to your change, organization, and culture and customize the solution to match your management style.
Prosci’s 2013 study asked participants to explain what factors were considered when scaling or customizing the methodology to their specific project. These were the key factors they identified:
- Project characteristics, including scope, size, type, complexity, objective, and timing
- Change management assessment results, including results from current state assessments, impact assessments, change readiness assessments, and gap analyses
- Organizational attributes, including culture, size, industry, structure, and strategic initiatives
Your change management methodology should provide a framework and tools to guide your decisions in defining the change, managing your change, and building a custom change plan.
Scaling in the Prosci 3-Phase Change Management Process
The Prosci 3-Phase Change Management Process provides steps, activities, and tools scaled to support changes large and small, radical and incremental, with large or minimal impact. The first phase focuses on Preparing for change.
Each of the steps, activities, and tools in this phase guide the customization of your change management plan. In particular, the first step, “Define your change management strategy,” includes activities such as:
- Sizing your change initiative and identifying change characteristics (scoping the change, identifying impacted individuals and groups, defining the type of change, and determining the amount of change)
- Understanding the unique characteristics of the impacted organizations (analyzing the organization’s value system and culture, capacity for change, and structure of the organization)
- Creating a change management strategy (identifying the team structure, sponsor model, special tactics for known problem areas, and assessing the risk)
These activities provide the situational awareness needed to scale your change management efforts adequately. In the Prosci 3-Phase Change Management Process, you generate a risk grid using the Prosci Change Characteristics and Organizational Attributes Assessments.
Your location in the risk grid is based on the two Phase 1 assessments. Customization guidelines are provided for each of the five change management plans based on your location in the risk grid:
- Communications plan
- Sponsor roadmap
- Coaching plan
- Training plan
- Resistance management plan