Notes on Change Management

Stephen Allot gave an excellent talk at Red Gate on how to manage change. Here are my notes from it. They are primarily for my own benefit, but you can use it too, internet. Simon G recommended that one should follow it exactly first, because there are many subtleties that make it work. This is roughly the process used by McKinsey.

Splitting things into 3s then 3s again is a valuable trick. Three top level sections, each with 3 sub-sections, each with 3 points.

1. Discover

The goal in the first step is to understand the current situation.

1.1 Plan

Understanding the problem that you have been set

  1. Goal e.g. “Put a man on the moon by the end of the decade”. Goals are important for the team. They should be simple, inspiring and measurable.
  2. Team. If you need a team, how big, how long, full time? A classic team is 3-4 people full time. People doing it part makes it hard to punch through enough work.
  3. Timetable. The format for this should be a gant chart with a list of tasks and their owners down the left. Progress reviews can be marked across the top.

1.2 Interviews

These are fact finding meetings, and help get people engaged in finding a solution early. It also gets them ready for changes that might happen in the 3rd phase.

  1. List of who to talk to
  2. Guide for what to ask
  3. Conduct interviews. Start with questions to settle people in. Prefer open questions. It is important that people think that they are being listened to, so paraphrasing what they have said back to them. Ask people who else to talk to.
  4. Notes under three headings. Background: who the person was, how the meeting went). Findings: synthesise what they are saying into what it means for the project, the ‘So Whats’. Put the supporting evidence below the findings. Take time to reflect on meetings and write up notes. Capture thoughts on the answer somewhere to come back to later.

1.3 Summarise

Read through all the notes you’ve made, and summarise what they mean about the current state. One way to organise notes and to categorise them is to write all the points in one column of a spreadsheet, then use the next column to put each point under one of three headings. Use the sort function in Excell to try out a grouping. If that doesn’t work out, then try again in a different column and sort again.

  1. Issues
  2. Good/Bad
  3. Options for ways to change things

It is a good idea to present this to someone here, because the act of organising it will bring soem clarity

2 Design

After discovering what is going on at the moment, this is when you try and solve the problem. A good place to start is to figure out what things would swing the decision.

2.1 Analysis

  1. Hypothesis. Form a hypothesis, then try to verify/refute it.
  2. Research
  3. Charts are a good way to summarise findings, and also a good way to distribute research tasks to people. Give them a piece of A4 paper with the axis drawn, and ask them to go fill it in. Drawing good charts is a skill, and they should take the data and give one point clearly to the audience.

2.2 Synthesis

  1. Story 1.0 Obey the rule of 3: 3 points, each with 3 subpoints. Take all the bits of paper and sort them into 3 groups on a table.
  2. Fill gaps in the first story with research
  3. Story 2.0. Check with the team, cross-check with people

2.3 Syndicate & Refine

Show people your current thinking 1:1, using a stack of hand drawn pieces of A4 paper rather than Powerpoint. It looks less finished, is very easy to change on the fly, and is non-threatening. The goal here is to debug and refine the emerging answer.

  1. Stakeholders. Sit down beside people and show them a ‘lap pack’ of hand written A4 pages
  2. Debug
  3. Story 3.0. Have now made the answer fit the stakeholders.

3 Deliver

Making it happen. Taking the time to bed in a change.

3.1 1:1 Briefings

Tell the people who are directly affected what:

  1. The new structure is
  2. Their role is
  3. Their performance measures/priorities will be

3.2 Accouncement

  1. Email
  2. Presentations
  3. Go live date

3.3 Debug + Improve

  1. Sub-projects
  2. Measures
  3. Monitor Progress