Chapter 5 iOCMTM: Different Roles: Unique Perspectives – Managing Organizational Change

CHAPTER 5

iOCMTM: Different Roles: Unique Perspectives

Because all iOCMTM project tasks include a business and organizational outcome metric for success, the requirements of each project role are expanded to include a change agent component. Moreover, the addition of this change agent focus to role responsibilities will not be limited to the project team. There will be a number of business resources that will be expected to accept project change agent duties as well.

Effectively moving individuals to except this expanded description of their responsibilities will require project leaders to present these changes in a way that addresses the concerns that are unique to each impacted role, as well as the benefits that will be experienced by this change. And, this will require the project leaders to understand these requirements from a variety of perspectives.

iOCMTM From the Executive Sponsorship Perspective

Best-practice iOCMTM principles require the executive sponsor to express (in both words and actions) personal support for the change initiative and the expectation that this support will be shared throughout the organization. This level of commitment will require the executive sponsor to believe that the change is in the best interest of the organization and that fulfilling this role in such a visible manner will provide the executive sponsor positive outcomes (or at a minimum, no negative outcomes) as well. To address an executive’s possible concerns, the project leaders must link successfully fulfilling the iOCMTM executive sponsorship role to the three most respected characteristics of a successful leader.

Visible leadership: When the change initiative is successful, the executive sponsor will be credited with being the leader of effective change implementation across the organization.


The executive sponsor must believe that implementing an iOCMTM change initiative will be based on proven, best-practice processes; that the project governance process will focus on successful outcomes, rather than merely task completion; and that he or she will be provided full support by the project team for all executive sponsorship tasks, including all the collateral necessary to fulfill those tasks.


Knowledgeable leadership: When the change initiative is successful, the executive sponsor will be seen as having keen insight into each impacted business unit and stakeholder group, and having ensured that the unique impacts to each was appropriately addressed.


The executive sponsor must believe that implementing an iOCMTM change initiative means that data on business and functional impacts and updates will be identified early and monitored and addressed throughout the project, and that the OCM lead and project manager (with the support of business leaders and functional SMEs), will keep the executive sponsor apprised of all business or technical questions and issues, and the specific plans in place to address them.


Supported leadership: When a change initiative is successful, the ­executive sponsor will be seen as a strong ally of all impacted business units.


The executive sponsor must believe that implementing an iOCMTM change initiative means that the project’s business case has been agreed by the impacted business leaders, that plans for addressing any known opposition by business leaders are addressed in the initial risk mitigation plan, and that one-one-one engagement with these key leaders to build trust and support throughout the project is included in the iOCMTM stakeholder engagement plan.


iOCMTM From the Project Manager Perspective

The iOCMTM requirement to add integrated organizational change management principles throughout all project tasks is often met with skepticism and resistance and can result in strong pushback against a project manager’s requests for support. Depending on the circumstances, this push back can come from the project team, business leaders, or the executive leadership team. A well-prepared project manager can turn this resistance into support, but this will require that each of these groups are provided a clear link between these additional iOCMTM requirements and the ability of each group to achieve its own objectives.

When business outcome goals are added to what were previously considered exclusively technical tasks, they often take longer, and task owners may feel they have reduced control over outcomes. This can often generate fear and resentment within the technical team. To mitigate this, it will be important for the project manager to have the information necessary to provide the technical team members very real examples on how this new approach will be expected to reduce overall project design times, solution development rework requirements, and improvements to overall technical outcomes. Additionally, the project manager must be provided mentoring and guidance on how best to build iOCMTM skills within the project’s technical team to ensure each technical team member’s success.

When dealing with business leaders, it is not enough to show how providing additional support for project technical tasks will lead to better technical outcomes. Business leaders will also want to know how increasing the level of business resource participation will result in a much clearer picture of the business questions and concerns that the solution must address; a more accurate (and appropriate) set of technical requirements; and ultimately, will result in a group of business process SMEs who are prepared to actively support the change solution within their respective business units.

An organization’s executive leadership team will expect that the change initiative’s project team will work closely with the business team to ensure change implementation success, regardless of the project management or change methodology that is used. But, if presented a project timeline that is longer than expected, or shows significantly more resources than expected, these same leaders will push back. The project manager will need to provide concrete data showing there is a direct link between the additional time or resource investments and the ability to meet those expectations, as well as the link that this investment to achieving significantly improved project return on investment.

iOCMTM From the Impacted Business Group Perspective

A change initiative’s return on investment is always inextricably tied to measurable improvements within one or more of an organization’s business units. The process of implementing significant transformation to technology, business processes, and existing role descriptions and responsibilities produces widespread disruption to a business group at the very time it is expected to achieve increased quality, efficiency, and productivity. The pressure on business leaders is even greater when executive leaders give little or no allowance for the inevitable dip in these areas during, and immediately after, change implementation.

When using a traditional project management process, businesses are asked to assign an appropriate business and functional SMEs to support requirements gathering during the initial planning phase of the project, and again to support user acceptance planning immediately before the change is formally implemented.

When a change implementation follows an iOCMTM process, there is an ongoing need for business resources to support the project. These functional and business process SMEs will act as de facto project members and will represent their respective business groups’ requirements and concerns throughout all phases of the project plan. This can strain a business unit’s ability to function effectively because, while these SMEs are working closely with the project team, the requirements associated with their actual business roles will need to be filled by other business resources. This strain is even greater when SMEs will be expected to personally maintain their daily responsibilities while supporting design, development, ­training, and deployment activities.

It is unrealistic to expect your business leaders to support additional resource requirements without tying this extra burden they will be taking on, to tangible short- and long-term benefits that they will get over the traditional process. While there is ample data available to do just that, it is critical that the project manager presents this data within the context of measurable value to each business group (not just the overall organization). This is particularly important when business leaders have experienced the ongoing pain of dealing with the aftermath of an unsuccessful change implementation.

iOCMTM From the Individual End-User Perspective

End users are often ignored when thinking about various change agents groups. But, ultimately, it is the end users who have the most impact on ensuring lasting change initiative benefits. For the most part, end users do not care what project management methodologies, sponsorship models, or engagement activities are used to implement change. They just want to have the training they need to ensure they experience as little disruption to their jobs as possible. For most end users, a limited amount of ­disruption is acceptable if it results in a tool or process that makes their job easier and provides more value than the tools or processes they had previously. A smaller group of end users will also tolerate a certain level of additional disruption if they believe that the change associated with that disruption will provide them a better path to salary increase and career advancement. But, few, if any, end users will be willing to accept disruption simply because they have been told that the end result will benefit the organization. And, of all the groups that will be impacted by a change project, none is further from the influence and authority of a project manager or the project team than the end users. But, that does not mean that the ­project manager and project team do not have the ability to positively impact end user preparedness of, and support for, the ultimate change. A large part of this work is accomplished as a result of strong change sponsors. But, it is essential not to assume that the work that change agents have done has actually resulted in moving the end users closer to accepting the upcoming change. To accomplish this, there needs to be an actual assessment of end-user change acceptance performed after each engagement.

Luckily, there is a very affective, and simple, tool available for assessing the level of end-user change acceptance and identifying areas of resistance within the end-user community. This is the Prosci ADKAR Model. This model was developed by the founder of Prosci, Jeff Hiatto, to measure the change readiness of individuals within an organization. This ADKAR Model is actually a tool used to assess stakeholders against the five specific areas that must be effectively addressed to ensure individuals are ready for change.

ADKAR is an acronym for awareness, desire, knowledge, ability, and reinforcement, and the ADKAR tool provides a framework to quickly and easily evaluate the level of stakeholders’ support for the overall change initiative goals and organizational objectives. Customarily, this metric is used after each major stakeholder engagement activity over the course of the project.

In the same way that iOCMTM focuses on applying organizational change principles to each task, it also focuses on moving individuals to accept necessary changes associated with each task (not just acceptance of the final change solution). By utilizing the AKDKAR tool in this way, it is possible to build individual support incrementally, as each task is completed. That means that it will be necessary to apply the ADKAR assessment tool at a much more granular level to gauge the preparedness and commitment of a specific group, related to a specific task or event, not just as it applies to the overall change implementation.

By incorporating the ADKAR tool as part of the metric for successful task completion, the project manager will require task leads to identify which ADKAR areas will be addressed for each task or engagement activity, and use a high, medium, low or green, yellow, red status to report ADKAR scores prior to, and then again after, those tasks and engagement activities have been completed. For the most part, this ADKAR scoring is an informal process, based on task lead and SME input, but there will be a few times when times this will require a formal assessment prior to and following an event. When using the ADKAR evaluation process, it is normal to see fluctuations in these scores over time. As people are provided new information to assimilate, assigned further tasks, and are taught additional skills, their awareness, desire, knowledge, ability, and existing compliance reinforcements will vary. The goal is not to achieve high status in every ADKAR state for every event; it is to improve the aggregate of these scores over time. This more granular application of the ADKAR Model also allows the project manager to identify possible stakeholder risks and implement a mitigation plan before they become actual project issues.