Enterprise Software Change Management

The Role of Change Management in Enterprise Software Implementations

Critical Part of any Project

When it comes to projects, Change Management is one of the most critical parts of any project.  This is especially true when speaking about Information Technology (IT) Software Implementations.  The Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK)  ten knowledge areas of project management are:

    • Integration Management
    • Scope Management
    • Schedule Management
    • Cost Management
    • Quality Management
    • Resource Management
    • Communications Management
    • Risk Management
    • Procurement Management
    • Stakeholder Management

It is not so apparent where the change management of a project comes into play.  Yet often, it is change management that is the source of a project’s derailment.  In PMBOK, change management is described as “the collection of formal documented procedures that define how the deliverables will be controlled, changed or approved.”  In this case, and for the sake of our discussion, Change Management is “the management of user involvement in the project; level setting the expectations of the outcome; the communication of what (is) to come what is to change, and  the benefits of the change; and the involvement in the project of those impacted by the change”.

Little Awareness of Coming Change

Often those impacted by the change have little or no awareness of the coming change.  Thus when the change is implemented, there isn’t ownership by those that are impacted.  Rather, there is push back, reluctance to adopt the change, and even a complete derailment of the change.

How can this be avoided?  One of the key elements is to involve those, from the very start, that are impacted by the change.  It is imperative that they take ownership in the change.  This will only happen if they are involved from the start.   Seek input from those impacted by the coming change.   Gain an understanding of their situation, their needs and desired outcome.  Unfortunately when large system changes are driven by business needs, often the time isn’t taken to solicit input, and the change is driven downward to the end user.  This is one of the greatest risks to a project.

Involvement is Key to Success

Keep those involved from the start.  People impacted should be involved on the project teams.  Maybe not at the top level teams, but a module team level.  The module level teams should be involved in the detail needs analysis.  When people feel their input is valued and considered important, then they will take a key role in ensuring that a project is a success.

Consider this on your next project.  Make sure those impacted are involved from the start.  Solicit input and gather needs and desired outcomes.   Definitely keep people in the loop about the coming change, make sure there is adequate involvement throughout the different phases of the project.  And above all, communicate, communicate, communicate.

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