In business there is no such thing as standing still. Change is inevitable and that makes successful change implementation a critical factor to business success. A large project can be somewhat complicated but the keys to success in project management are straight forward. The human factor cannot be neglected. People that will be affected by the change should be included in the planning process and the change should be broken down into small steps. It’s imperative that a written plan be developed and published for all affected personnel but the plan will need to be changed as circumstances do. The impact of change should be monitored to ensure changes are fully absorbed at each phase of the project and after implementation the effect of the change should be evaluated. Following are keys to successful change implementation:
- Include Affected People in the Decision Process – People support decisions they’re included in. When they’re involved in building the implementation plan they develop a sense of ownership and will contribute to the success of the project.
- Break the Change Down into Small Pieces – Change in business processes should be an evolution not a revolution. The probability of success in change implementation increases exponentially when introduced in smaller pieces.
- Layout a Plan to Implement the Change – Include team members in creating the plan. Develop an implementation schedule, put it in writing and publish it for everyone involved. Communication is imperative to success in project management.
- Modify the Plan as Circumstances Change – As a change implementation project proceeds environmental changes will occur, business circumstances will evolve and for long running projects personnel changes may take place. As things change the implementation plan will need to be modified.
- Monitor the Results – As the changes are made incrementally it’s important to review the results and make sure they’ve been absorbed successfully before moving on to the next step. Adjustments may need to be made to smooth the implementation process.
- Confirm that the Anticipated Benefits were Realized – Once the change is fully implemented the results should be evaluated to see if the benefits are what was expected. A change successfully implemented doesn’t equate to success – this is defined by the impact of the change.