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Change Management

Phase IV - Change Management assists councils in the implementation of projects already designed . It follows analysis and design activity detailed in the earlier phases of SPRINT, and sets out the concerns, roles and techniques needed to achieve change in a council setting.

Although change management is an entity on its own, the themes and ideas permeate across the entire life-cycle of a SPRINT project, for example, a communications plan is worthy of consideration in Phase II. Recognising this relationship, SPRINT developed the Change Management considerations logo dispersed throughout the early stages of the SPRINT methodology; each logo linking to a change management theme.

Typically, an individual approaching change management will arrive from SPRINT analysis and design and will want to know how to implement the recommendations and change successfully. This phase provides that holistic method.

What is Change Management?

Change management is the capability a council needs in order for it to be able to implement substantial changes in its services. Changes like the recommendations that emerge from a Design Studio:

  • it is the difference between having a detailed design document that describes what, for example, the parking service will look like next year - and successfully changing the parking service into this well thought out vision
  • as a change management expert once warned, "I've got three inch thick manual for my car at home, but I could never build one, or even fix it, myself."

The actions of analysing an organisation, to see how to improve its services and operations, and then designing a strategic solution demand totally different skills to the action of implementing the design. This is change management.

Fundamentally, change management is about getting the changes made in a way that produces sustainability - not just a change that lasts for five minutes before people go back to the old way of doing things. It should be thought of as a process of bringing a vision to reality. Of necessity change management can be seen as a broad concept and relevant to many different aspects of change including:

  • changing business processes (BPR)
  • changing IT and communications systems
  • changing the structure and reporting lines of an organisation
  • changing the culture of an organisation

Change management is the process of making any change to an organisation in a controlled (i.e. managed) way. Obviously, the larger or more complex the changes are, the more difficult this is. Not all projects that carry a CRM flag will be the same, and different projects will make very different demands of the change management process.

Change Management capability

Thinking Point

You have a large change project to implement. And it's not just your tired self that says so: this is the considered opinion of just about everyone involved. But just ask yourself, in what sense is it 'big.'

  • Is it big in the sense that it affects a lot of people ?
  • Is it big in the sense that it affects a lot of functions ?
  • Is it big in the sense that it is technically demanding (especially ICT)?
  • Is it big in the sense that its radical, causing processes to be redrawn and the formation of new organisational units?
  • Is it all of the above?

Big projects include many different types of change and some changes are bigger than others.

As the council begins to grapple with the complexity and scale of the change management project, it will come face-to-face with the fundamental question:

Does this council have the change management capability to successfully implement this change project?

This question is important. The consequences of starting to implement complex change without the capability to see it through are likely to be serious. Failed projects can be extremely wasteful of time and money; they create a legacy of scepticism, and might have an adverse effect on citizen service levels.

Next the change management capability is described as a matrix of components that are all needed in order to implement change successfully. All the components are needed in order to "take an overall view of the whole change process (1)" and not just to concentrate purely upon ICT (Information Communications Technology) or business process change.

If any of these components are ignored, the project will either fail, not be fully implemented or be implemented more slowly or more expensively. Ignoring some of these components will guarantee failure, whilst ignoring others will make the process harder.

(1) REVIEW OF MAJOR GOVERNMENT IT PROJECTS: Successful IT: Modernising Government in Action, The Cabinet Office, 2002

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