Establishing a Change Management Team

Whether it’s a new ERP system, upgrade of existing software or shift in business practices, changes within an organization can be challenging. All too often, where the organization wanted to go isn’t where it ends up, never realizing the ROI that it hoped to see. In some cases, entire implementation efforts must be jettisoned as too costly with no relief in sight. An organization needs a change management process to see things through, and assembling the right team can make all the difference.

An organization should strongly consider creating a team that is focused on change management throughout the year, not just when big changes are happening. This type of “change advisory board” has many benefits. By having regular meetings, even weekly, everything can be carefully examined for its ramifications on all parts of the business. Anything an organization can do to bring stability to the change process should be strongly considered.

Once the core change advisory board has been established, other members of the organization can be brought in to join when there are specific changes affecting their business processes. Multi-location business should consider bringing these individuals together on-site for at least part of the process. They can perform use cases and flow tests with a focus that is hard to duplicate when the team is distributed across sites. It will also help establish those vital lines of communication.

When an organization has established a strong change management group to control the process, IT specialists and business managers need to stick to the plan. Having invested in bringing together a team specialized in change management, an organization must maximize its effectiveness by limiting others to changes that have been approved. If a change runs into roadblocks, IT and business managers are not authorized to “go off the script” to see if they can make something else work. Rather, they must return to the change advisory board to get an alternative game plan approved before proceeding. Forcing a change that benefits one area of the business at the expense of all others can be expensive indeed. In these cases, a standing meeting works well because an organization won’t lose time trying to wrangle the schedules of those involved.

Not only does managing changes through a change management team increase the chance that an improvement or implementation hits the mark, it also provides an audit trail in case something goes wrong in the future. Because every change has been looked over closely, an organization won’t be hunting blindly when trying to track down where the error was introduced.

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