Articles

5 Keys to Successful Change Management (by Aleks Yenin)09/12/16

Many companies currently trying to put in place the user-centric approach but fail for the “unknown reasons”. The process of dealing with this issue is called Change Management – a widely used combination of words in ITIL. One of the widely-spread reasons is change resistance in company’s team. We’ve outlined 5 main tactics on overcoming this problem and making the transition as smooth as possible.

 

1. Human aspect is the core element of change

It’s unavoidable that there’s going to be tension when it comes to changes no matter how you present them. And it is going to affect user experience as the people, as well as processes need some time to adjust. Moreover, it can influence the results of your project. That is why turn to the people in your company for guidance, support and engagement. In crude terms, put people in the centre of your business internally, so that impact people externally (the consumers of your service of product).

untitled

2. Change as early as possible

People wouldn’t like to hear the news about new more complicated system to be implemented a few stages before the release. However, if implemented at early stages of the project, changes can be met with quite a different level of appreciation. It is important to bear in mind that the team itself is the driving force of change, and this force is fuelled by their motivation.

Here are a few tactics to try out:

  • Watch your team closely, talk to them both individually and as a group. With their help work out a comprehensive approach that you are going to exploit at early stages of development
  • Join forces with managers and leaders in your team so they could become the evangelists of the change. Establish peer-to-peer change education and take care of the new-hires.
  • Speak out why this change is important and how it will bring positive changes for your team and your product. Speak their language, talk money and benefits for the business with non-IT departments, and give specifics to your tech department.
  • Bring your marketing team aboard. Try sending out some e-mails or blog posts, where you could post some how-tos, explaining why it is important and how we are going to benefit from this change. Try leading the guerrilla-marketing program – act from the background, make it subtle but persuasive.
  • Measure, reward & celebrate. Use the Agile approach while implementing changes, measure your success and reward your team every step of the way. Celebrate when you are done with the changes.

 
3. Why not to change?

Find out the reasons for resistance so that you are able to address them. You might not think this way at first but it’s a good thing when people express their reluctance in open. As if they hide it and try to perform some guerrilla actions (like slowing down the process on purpose) it is far worse. We need to remember that it is in human nature to resist change and in tech world we are all control freaks. Changes presuppose losing control over certain things for some time and then learning how to gain it again. A good way to get your team aboard is explaining that if we want to get different results sometimes we have to work differently.

untitled2

Dealing with this issue requires fighting not only the outcomes of the resistance but also the reasons behind it. From our experience, these are the most widely spread reasons for human resistance:

  • Unclear reasons for why the team should change
  • Absence of involvement from managerial side
  • Past experience of change failure
  • Absence of motivation to adjust to change
  • Expectation of changes in the job role

 
As you can see, all the issues are manageable with the right attitude and certain input of efforts. So use your patience and diplomatic skills, and deal with them even before you feel negative impact of the changes.

4.Identify the sources of resistance

Anticipation is the key here, so why not to think ahead. Try to figure out who are going to be affected the most and who might need your specific attention to adjust to the change. Let’s mark out the groups that might be affected the most by new methodology:

  • people who were behind the implementation of the current methodology
  • people who wanted to implement a different solution
  • people who have the most to do with the current working process
  • people who think their workload is going to change

 

5.Bring leaders on board

The people who are working directly with the teams can support the change by doing exactly what they have been doing all the time – talking to them and encouraging. HRs and Change Managers can seem as an obvious choice in taking on this role of change evangelists. However, they are not always having the same impact on teams as Product or Project Managers and Service Owners.

  • Start with the top – make the senior guys realize that their participation and encouragement is of utmost importance.
  • Analyse, audit, anticipate and tackle the problem of staff resistance together with the managers.

 
This was a Macanta guest blog from Aleks Yenin. Read more from Aleks here.