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  Change Management Team

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The building of change management capability is particularly important in the special team that has the responsibility for project managing the implementation. This section discusses a few of the important characteristics that should be considered in building the team.

The key person in the team is the project manager. This role has the overview of where and how all the change management components intersect, and how well all the methods and tools are used. Often projects can inherently cuts across functional boundaries and necessarily a project manager will have to deal with many stakeholders in the council (e.g. ICT, customer services, the service[s] in question, the sponsor, back office partners, Human Resources, unions, external suppliers).

The team that reports to the project manager should be the right size for the project and the right mix for the project areas. This means that the bigger the change project the more resources will be needed

The team should include people with experience of the areas of the organisation that are to be changed. It is actually advantageous that some of the change management team be part-time recruits from areas of the organisation that are to be changed (see Figure 1).

The reasons for this are that:

  • only the people that work in the area know all the details for the processes to be changed
  • empowering people to change their own job, generates much better co-operation than forcing change upon them
  • by being part of the team these part-timers really understand and trust the change project and its full-time team members
  • this trust enhances communications with the wider organisation

When part-time staff are utilised in this way there should be formal agreements from the staff and their managers, so that all parties know the amount and content of the work that is expected. This should prevent a situation where a part-time team member is overloaded with work and so is unable to work with the team. These and related issues are described in more detail in Empowerment and Involvement.

Disseminating communications and trust through the organisation

Figure 1: Disseminating communications and trust via involvement showing the ripple effect of information flowing outwards from the team to the rest of the organisation

The consequences of not forming a change management team will be:

  • partial implementation
  • project failure

Case example: Salford City Council's Change Management Team

Salford City Council have developed a variant on the change management team: a participative approach based upon staff volunteering and being interviewed for their suitability for a role in the function that is being changed. The change process is then based around a small change management team (only three key members plus BPR resource), but widespread participation of those selected for the new service.

A recent example of this approach was the creation of Salford 's Housing Contact Centre. It has been designed as a satellite cluster to the authority's multi-function contact centre that will, over time, share functionality with the main centre.

The whole of the fifty seat Housing Contact Centre was created in eight weeks, from conception and design, right through to building work, system installation and go-live. Not a single management consultant was involved. Instead staff, housing managers and contact centre managers worked in a large open-plan room, creating designs and logging issues as they went through. At launch, they had already managed to implement some substantial back-office process improvements as well as the totally new front-office. Moreover, they had already established a list of further process improvements designed to move the service further forward after launch. At the launch party, several of the housing team declared those eight weeks the "best experience" of their entire work lives.

Source: Project review by Peter Kawalek, Manchester Business School

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