Falling at the first jump; the real value of a change management process.

There is much to be said for being a flexible organisation willing to embrace change.

Enthusiasm is infectious!

Once you get a taste for change, galloping off to follow a new vision can be very exciting!

But there are risks attached, as the IT industry has learned at some cost!

A basic requirement for formal projects of all kinds is to have a change management process. Built into the arrangements will be a procedure for determining what will be gained but also what will be lost, delayed or made more costly as a result.

This process will require the person proposing the change to identify real benefits and real costs. What is going to be gained but also what is involved in delivering the change.  This procedure will also make quite clear at the start who is to sign off the change, who should be consulted and how the decision should be recorded.

It’s a little bit of governance that the IT industry in particular learned the hard way not to avoid. Without some kind of control over change, IT projects can all too easily spiral out of control. They can become undeliverable or too costly and everyone ends up disappointed.

It is no different really to getting someone in to refit your kitchen and deciding half way through that you’ve decided to change your microwave for a range cooker. Oh, and by the way, you are thinking you might knock down a wall and go open plan!

Sadly some organisations decide to make changes to their structure along the lines of our chums with the kitchen

Someone suggests a change that fires the board or the boss with enthusiasm and off they canter towards the far horizon. Half way there the enthusiasm dies as they realise the real costs and just how difficult it is going to be!

It would be much better to take the time out at the beginning to think things through and take some advice.

It won’t be as enjoyable as just galloping off into the sunset but it will mean there is much more chance of getting somewhere, or at least knowing whether “somewhere” is a place you want to visit!

Have you been part of an organisation that just cantered off?  What was it like for you?  Have you been an IT supplier who struggled to get a client to go through a proper change management process? What happened?