How to simplify your change management process
Change management processes sometimes become overly complicated. When you get too caught up in the process, you tend to forget to involve your stakeholders and end users. So what can you do to make your change management process easier for everyone?
As a TOPdesk consultant, I often help out customers with their change management processes. In this previous blog, we already talked about how many of these processes are needlessly complicated. This impacts the end result and how satisfied your stakeholders and end users are with the process. Luckily, there is a remedy.
Keep in mind that end users don’t have an ITIL certificate, and aren’t aware that they are requesting a change.
Make the change management 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 what they don’t understand.
Keep in mind that end users don’t have an ITIL certificate, and aren’t aware that they are requesting 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 needs to go through as a change, assume your user doesn’t know this. Just provide them with a clear, 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; forms are a nice way to capture everything 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, it’s most important to ask yourself: 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.
Communicate efficiently – and not too much
There’s a lot to keep track of during even the most simple change management process. But even after your team have gotten their heads around how the change management process is supposed to be implemented, a common error is to expect your stakeholders 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. without using too much jargon). But don’t get too eager. Only update your stakeholders if you have an actual update and let them know that no news is good news.
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 is 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 – everyone who’s affected by the change needs to know, too.
And of course, the bigger the impact of the change, 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 any 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.
Put your customer first
Even outside of the change management process, you should always put your end users first. Find out how in our customer centricity e-book!
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