Start Your Change Management Plan With An Impact Analysis
While a standard change management methodology can be applied to all types of projects, the change management strategy and the content of the change management plan should be built specifically for each project in order to ensure the defined approach is relevant for your context and company. The change management culture of your company is also something you need to take into account when building your change management approach; a quick analysis of past successful projects (or failures) could give you helpful insights.
For those reasons, an impact analysis is a MUST to prepare your change management strategy. The impact analysis is about identifying the stakeholders of the project and then interviewing representatives of the major stakeholders’ groupings. The objective is to discuss the impact (positive and negative) and the operational risks they might identify in addition to those analyzed during the business case of the project. The outputs of the discussion are then analyzed (e.g. in terms of organization, processes, systems and work environment) and the impact is measured for each population. On this basis, it is then possible to build a consistent and relevant change management strategy for a specific project.
The benefits of starting your change management activities with an impact analysis are:
- You make sure that no important stakeholders’ grouping is forgotten in terms of change management
- You can follow-up the identified impacts and your mitigation actions throughout the project
- You get a direct feedback from the field, via the interviews and/or workshops that will be organized for the impact analysis; this is useful especially if you include the operational teams in the interviews. This feedback can also include suggestions about useful change management actions to implement.
- The outputs of the analysis will give you factual data about how to allocate the change management budget and what type of actions to focus on (is this more about communication? About training? About building together a new way of working?)
- You already start engaging your stakeholders and raising interest for the project through the interviews and workshops.
The impact analysis will be all the more efficient if you don’t consider it as a “one shot” activity but as a pragmatic tool that should be used to monitor the progress of your change management activities throughout the full duration of your project.