By Ray Bell, Chief Technology Officer at inTec Business Solutions
Further to my first five Top 10 hints on Effective Business Change, here's Part Two...
6. Always be open to implementing tactical and quick win changes along the way
Even large scale change programmes should have the flexibility to listen out for quick win ideas or short term issues that need addressing. These ideas can come from customers, complaints, churn analysis, internal staff, reviewing performance KPIs, team meetings, anywhere really. Tactical change that is carried out in full awareness of the risks and the short term nature is a great demonstration to the business of a continuous improvement culture and it goes a long way to winning the hearts and minds of your people at the sharp end of the business.
7. All change processes should contain clear distinct phases which become embedded in your change culture
A simple change process can be applied to major change programmes all the way down to personal tasks. Something like:
Understand -> Design -> Build -> Implement
can be your mantra for all change activity.
8. Avoid short circuiting the requirements capture (Understand) phase
It is tempting to jump to solutions or start making changes quickly. Whilst this may be OK for tactical quick wins, any change with significant impact or risk should be based on a deep understanding of the requirements, where you are today and where you want to get to. Its a lot easier to tweak your requirements document on paper in the early days, than rip out or re-build a new system that doesn't work for the business.
9. Don't be afraid to deviate from the path or the methodology as long as the impacts are considered upfront.
A vision is right for a moment in time and a methodology is a platform to base your approach on. Feel free to challenge the vision as the business evolves and you deal with the inevitable bumps in the road. Methodologies such as PRINCE2, Agile and ITIL are solid foundations and I believe you can tweak them to work for your business without compromising the methods. I would even apply the same logic to this list of Top 10 hints. Choose those that are most relevant to where your business is at and where you want to get to. Perfection in the execution of change is often secondary to establishing a principle or the right cultural approach to change.
10. Celebrate success
Take the time to celebrate successful change and, most importantly, thank those who have contributed towards making your business better.
It is my personal belief that a structured change methodology isn't exclusively for large corporate organisations nor is rapid tactical change only possible in small businesses. In a smaller organisation, it is about implementing an appropriate amount of methodology and process to support fast growth and not hinder it. In larger corporate organisations, it is about keeping an eye out for short term, fast payback, tactical change that will demonstrate continuous improvement and win the hearts and minds of your people, partners & customers in the process.