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Change is the only constant: When you know change is working

elizabeth_jones Community Leader May 03, 2021

As a PMO director, I am regularly introducing change and one of the most challenging aspects of that is knowing when change is working. For me, that often comes in the form of conducting retrospectives to gather feedback, talking with team members 1:1, viewing metrics to ensure that the changes that I introduce are having a positive affect. A unique challenge comes when teams and individuals are already stressed and dealing with yet another change can be scary, even when the benefits of that change are clearly understood. Have you been on either side? Making changes, or re-evaluating how you work to meet change in your daily life. How did you know when that change was working, and trending in a positive direction? Did you find it more difficult to embrace change in 2020? 

2 comments

John Funk Community Leader May 04, 2021

I was definitely on one side of that when we rolled Jira out across the entire organization, replacing another tool in the process. It was helpful that not many people were happy with the existing tool at the time, but change is still hard for some folks. And maybe even REALLY hard for others. 

For myself, I embrace change when thoroughly thought through agreed that the path forward is better than being mired in the current state. Still, that is not all convincing for others. So, for me, the process needs to be communicated well in advance along with the reasons for the change. Be sure to have a plan that slowly rolls the change out and in phases or iterations if possible. 

That allows people to process pieces at a time and not have to eat the elephant in one setting. Be sure to be positive and encouraging about the change without being overly sappy about it. 

Then Commit, Communicate and Iterate.   :-)

Hi @elizabeth_jones 

I certainly see the pain you are exploring with teams that are undergoing significant sets of changes and the unplanned changes brought around by Covid certainly exacerbated that situation. 

A couple of things I use to help make sure change is working. 

1. Up front determine what are the desired improvements that the change is looking to bring?

2. Reduce this list to focus on the most important change only.

3. Determine how you will measure the success of this change? Make sure you choose a clear measurement method and ideally something which can be quantified rather than a quality assessment. 

4. Be clear on the timescale that the change is to be measure over.  Every change takes time to bed in so do not expect immediate results. 

5. If a change goes wrong be prepared to revise/reverse/reset the change and try again.

By following these simple guidelines I find it is easy to control change and the impact.  If you find yourself trying to measure more than one change at a time for a team how do you know what is the root cause of the effect?

Phill

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