The Seven R’s of Change Management
Key questions to be asked wherever change is being delivered.
1. Who raised the change?
Make it very clear where the drive for change is coming from so that the person(s) involved can be the point of reference and source of information if this is needed. Unclear ownership and stewardship of change just creates uncertainty and angst.
2. What is the reason for the change?
Make this clear and express it in plain, simple language that everyone will understand. This reduces the risk of the issue being misinterpreted and the goal either being weakened or missed altogether. Strategic innovation can easily take a back seat to an incessant deluge of tactical change.
3. What are we looking for from the change?
Understand the return that we want, especially the financial payback so that the strategic aims will be maintained. Look out for problems and innovationand how to work with them as the project rolls out.
4. What are the risks involved in the change?
All change involves risk. The question is how much risk. Some risks can be avoided or mitigated, and some must be accepted. You must make every effort to assess the likely impact of change on the organisation’s infrastructure. Identify a clear and documented regression strategy should the worst happen. Make sure that you also consider the risk of not making a change. What are the best- and worst-case scenarios if things go wrong? No one has a crystal ball, but it is certainly reasonable to expect a degree of forethought before making changes.
5. What resources are required to deliver the change?
Both people and IT assets are needed. From a people perspective, mechanisms need to be in place to determine what skills are needed to make the change, as well as whether those skills are available. The impact to other projects must be considered: if people and assets are re-allocated to address this change, what is the delay (in time and cost) to other projects currently in progress?
6. Who is responsible for the “build, test, and implement” portion of the change?
Anyone managing application development should be able to answer this question. Responsibilities for each of these three functions must be appropriately segregated, especially considering compliance and auditing requirements.
7. What is the relationship between this change and other changes?
With so many changes occurring concurrently in complex organisations this can be difficult to answer. Change relationships need to be determined from within and across functional boundaries. Failing to do so will result in longer periods of planned downtime due, for example, to incorrectly assessing the sequencing of the different phases of the change.
The Benefits These Answers Bring
Answering these seven questions provides several benefits. First, doing so enables organisations to input a set of guidelines that provide a more objective means of measuring change risk, which goes a long way towards making services more reliable and available to customers. Second, these questions offer a great way to assess how well your change-management process complies with current policies and directivesand helps to pinpoint gaps that can be bridged through a wider understanding of the whole change process.
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