Change processes sometimes get a bit too overly complicated. And what tends to happen when you get too into the processes is you forget to involve your stakeholders enough. So what can you do to make the Change process easier for everyone?
As TOPdesk consultants, we help out with a lot of change processes. And as I’ve previously blogged about, many processes are needlessly complicated. And it impacts the end result and the stakeholder satisfaction with the process. Luckily though, there is a remedy.
Make the Change request process easy
In my experience, a lot of change processes fall short before they really start, simply because it's hard to get started. And the most tell-tale symptom of this situation tends to be overestimating what your end-users understand and not.
Keep in mind that end-users don't have an ITIL-certificate, and aren't aware that what they are requesting is a Change.
One of the most crucial aspects to getting uptake is to conceal any complexity from your end users. If, according to your new process, changing the text on an intranet page (for example) needs to go through as a Change, assume your user doesn’t know this. Give them a nice, easily understandable button such as 'request changes to intranet content.
Avoid excessive bureaucracy
Similarly, the idea of filling in a form before you can do something is fine; they’re a nice way to capture everything relevant you need to get started so you don’t waste your time. But if you expect somebody to fill in a 5+ page document (13 pages is the worst I’ve seen, personally.) and attend 2 meetings to request something mundane, something is up.
When drawing up paperwork, for each element ask yourself this: in what scenario will this be useful during or after this change?
Ultimately, the most important principle to follow: is this part of the process practical for somebody who has a lot of other stuff they need to be doing? Making a conscious effort not to punish your end users for requesting things will help steer your change process in the right direction—towards simplicity.
My colleague Sam wrote more about forms in change management over here.
Communicate efficiently - and not too much
There's a lot to keep track of during even a simple change process. And a lot of moving parts which need to be addressed in detail. But even after your team have gotten your heads around how the change process is supposed to be implemented, a common error is to expect your end users to know everything you know as well.
Most commonly, though, they don't. You have identified who your stakeholders are, so make sure to keep them up to date during the process, but in a way where they understand what's going on (i.e. not too much jargon). But don't get too eager. Only update if you have an actual update and let them know that no news is good news.
But also, don't shy away from owning up to mistakes or delays. Hiding things is not transparent and leads to a worse experience.
Let everyone know what changed
When the Change complete - or nearing completion - are you communicating this efficiently? Remember that it's not just the nearest stakeholders that need to know about the change, but everyone that is affected by the change.
And of course, the bigger impact it has, the more formal the information and roll-out process should be. But how? Again it's about clear communication and managing expectations. An email - or other form of communication - with helpful instructions and clear answers to "why did we do this" and "how did we do this" will be very appreciated. And as a bonus, it will pre-empt some follow up questions and potential criticism.
Make sure you put the customer first
Even outside of Change Management, your end-users should always be put ahead of processes. Find more ways of doing this in our Customer Centricity e-book.