Change Management Plan: What It Is & How to Get Started

Ron Ause
September 16, 2022
9 minute read

 

Change Management: What Is It & How to Plan

Imagine you are the owner of a marketing agency. You have worked hard to make your business a success, but you know that in order to keep growing, you will need to make some changes. Perhaps you need to update your offerings or change the way you manage clients. Maybe you need to hire new staff or implement a new IT solution. Change can be difficult. How do you go about making those changes without causing too much disruption for your employees and customers? This is where having a change management plan comes in.

Change Management is a process that helps businesses handle changes in a controlled and organized way. This assists companies in anticipating, identifying, and responding to changes before they happen.

Change management is not just for businesses that are experiencing major upheaval. Any business can benefit from having a change management plan in place. Here are just a few reasons why:

  • To prepare for growth or expansion
  • To respond to changing market conditions
  • To update processes or policies
  • To address client feedback or complaints
  • To improve employee satisfaction or morale

Of course, change management is not without its challenges. Change can be difficult to implement, and there is always the risk that something could go wrong. But by having a well-thought-out and well-communicated change management plan, you can increase the chances of success and make the transition to your new way of doing business smoother for everyone involved.

 

The Benefits of a Change Management Plan

There are many benefits to having a change management plan, including:

  • Change management plans help businesses anticipate change.

Identifying possible changes that may take place within the company enables companies to be better prepared for them when they do occur. This helps businesses avoid being caught off-guard by external or industry changes.

  • Change management plans help businesses respond to change.

Having a strategy in place allows companies to react more swiftly and effectively to changes when they do occur. This helps avoid the expensive blunders that can result from unplanned adjustments.

  • Change management plans help businesses minimize disruptions.

Carefully planning and communicating the changes that need to be made can help businesses minimize the disruptions that often occur when changes are made - such as employee resignations. This aids teams in keeping their workers and customers happy during times of change.

  • Change management plans help businesses improve employee satisfaction.

By involving employees in the change management process, businesses can ensure that they understand the changes that are being made and why they are being made. This helps employees feel like they are a part of the process and helps to improve employee satisfaction.

  • Change management plans help businesses improve customer satisfaction.

Keeping customers informed of changes that may affect them helps to avoid customer frustration and ensures that businesses are meeting their needs. Change management plans also help businesses anticipate customer needs and make changes that will improve customer satisfaction.

 

 

The Challenges of Change Management

While there are many benefits to having a change management plan, there are also some challenges that need to be considered. These include:

  • Change management can be difficult to implement.

Change can often be met with resistance, both from employees and customers. This can make change management difficult to implement.

  • Change management can be costly.

Developing and implementing a change management plan can be costly. This is often due to the need to train employees on the new procedures or processes that are being put in place.

  • Change management can be disruptive and stressful.

A change in the workplace may often be stressful, not just for businesses but also for the individuals who work there. This is why careful preparation and communication are required when making changes to business processes.

  • Change management can be risky.

There is always the risk that something could go wrong when changes are made. This is why it is important to have a well-thought-out plan in place to reduce the chances of unforeseen issues.

Ultimately, if you're wanting to grow or scale your business (or even just one aspect of it), change management will be key to your success. Change is inevitable - but with a solid plan in place, you can weather any storm.

 

Change Management Plan Steps

Now that we've gone over the benefits and challenges of change management, let's take a closer look at the process of change management by using the example of a new software solution being implemented at a marketing agency.

Define the change

Before drafting a change management plan, it is important to first define the change that will be taking place. Scope out what will be changing, who will be affected by the change, and what the goals of the change are. In our example, the change is that the company will be implementing a new system software internally.

Identify stakeholders and change management personnel

Once the change has been defined, it is important to identify who will be impacted by the change. The stakeholders in our example would be the employees who will be using and supporting the new software. The change management team would be those responsible for overseeing the implementation of the new system including end users, technical support, project managers, and analysts to help cross-departmentally bridge any gaps.

Analyze the impact of the change

The next step is to analyze the impact of the change. This includes looking at how the change will actually impact employees and clients. For instance, someone will need to train employees on how to use the new system software. The business may also need to plan for a transition phase where the old system is still being used alongside the new system.

Assess the risks

Once the impact of the change has been analyzed, it is important to assess the risks associated with the change. This includes looking at the potential for problems and disruptions during the implementation of the new system. A risk for our example may be that employees are not properly trained on how to use the new platform which could lead to errors and delays in delivery. Or, perhaps the software solution actually won't work as intended and the transition will need to be scrapped entirely. While unlikely, worst-case scenarios are still things that need to be considered.

Develop a communication plan

A key part of any change management plan is developing a communication plan. This communication plan should include who will be responsible for communicating the change to stakeholders, how the change will be communicated, and when the change will be communicated.

Create a timeline

Creating a timeline or roadmap for the change is also important. This timeline should include milestones and deadlines for each stage of the change. In our example, the company may want to set a deadline for when employees need to be trained on the new system, which would then be followed by a go-live date for when the new software will be fully implemented.

Develop a training plan

Another important part of any change management plan is developing a training plan. This training plan should include who will be responsible for training employees on the new software, how the training will be conducted, and when the training will take place.

Implement the change

Once the communication plan is in place, it is time to start implementing the change management plan. This is the time when the business will start to execute the various steps that have been laid out in the plan, including training employees on the new procedures or processes and testing them out to make sure they are working correctly.

Monitor and adjust

After the change has been implemented, it is important to monitor how things are going. This includes looking at how employees are adapting to the change, whether there are any problems with the new system, and if any adjustments need to be made. For instance, if employees are having difficulty using the new software, additional training may be needed. Or, if the new platform is not working as intended, modifications may need to be made.

Evaluate the change management plan

After the change has been implemented, it is important to evaluate how it went. This includes assessing both the benefits and the challenges of making the change. This post-mortem analysis will help to improve future change management plans.

 

Change Management Plan Templates & Examples

Change management plans can vary in scope and complexity. However, there are some key elements that should be included in all change management plans. Below, we've provided a change management plan template as well as another example of a change management plan.

Define the change

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Identify stakeholders and change management personnel

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Analyze the impact of the change

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Assess the risks

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Develop a communication plan

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Create a timeline

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Develop a training plan

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Implement the change

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Monitor and adjust

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Evaluate the change management plan

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EXAMPLE:

Here's a hypothetical example of a change management plan using the implementation of a new CRM solution.

Define the change

"Implementing a new CRM system."

Identify stakeholders and change management personnel

"Stakeholders: Management team, creative team, sales team, client service team, IT team

Change management personnel: Change manager, project manager, business analyst, IT analyst"

Analyze the impact of the change

"The impact of this change will be widespread. The sales team will be the most affected, as they will need to learn how to use the new system. The client service team will also be impacted, as they will need to learn how to use the new system to track client data. The IT team will need to help with the implementation and continued support of the new system."

Assess the risks

"There are several risks associated with this change. The biggest risk is that the sales team will not be able to use the new system effectively and will lose out on potential leads. The client service team may also have difficulty using the new system, which could lead to user satisfaction issues. There is also a risk that the new system will not be compatible with the company's existing systems, which could cause major problems."

Develop a communication plan

"The communication plan will be aimed at ensuring that everyone affected by the change is aware of what is happening and how it will impact them. The change manager will be responsible for distributing information to the stakeholders, and the project manager will be responsible for distributing information to the change management personnel."

Create a timeline

"The change management plan will be implemented over a six-month period. The first month will be devoted to planning and the development of the communication and training plans. The second month will be devoted to the implementation of the change. The third and fourth months will be devoted to monitoring and adjusting the change. The fifth and sixth months will be devoted to evaluation of the change management plan."

Develop a training plan

"The training plan will be aimed at ensuring that everyone affected by the change is properly trained on how to use the new system. The sales team will receive training on how to use the new system to track leads and how to generate reports. The client service team will receive training on how to use the new system to track customer data. The IT team will receive training on how to install and support the new system."

Having a change management plan laid out in this way can help ensure that the process goes smoothly and that everyone is on the same page. Following these steps will eventually lead your team to the Implement the change, Monitor and adjust, and Evaluate the change management plan phases that are also essential to a successful change management process.

 

Overcoming Resistance & Pushback to Change in Your Organization

Any change management plan requires buy-in from managers and employees. Change can be difficult for people, and can often be met with resistance. In order to overcome this resistance, you need to provide strategies and resources to help teams improve communication and transparency in the process.

Some things you can do to improve communication and transparency include:

  • Holding regular meetings or publishing updates to keep employees in the loop on the progress of the change management plan and what their role will be in implementing it.
  • Encouraging open dialogue between managers and employees, so that everyone has a clear understanding of what is happening and why it is important for the business.
  • Making sure that all communications regarding the change management plan are clear and concise.

 

How Project Management Supports Change Management

Project management goes hand-in-hand with change management by providing a framework and methodology for planning, organizing, and controlling resources to achieve specific goals. Change management is often introduced as a necessary step in order to enable the successful implementation of new projects or changes to existing projects.

The project manager's role in change management is to assess the impact of the change on the project, identify and manage any risks associated with the change, and ensure that the change is implemented effectively and efficiently. By working together, the project manager and the change manager can ensure that changes are made in a controlled and orderly manner, minimizing disruption to the project and maximizing the chances for success.

 

Make Changes with Confidence

It's important to keep in mind that each company is different and that each change management plan will need to be tailored to the specific needs of the organization.

When creating a change management plan, it is important to consider the conditions under which the business is making the change, the impact of the change on employees and customers, and the resources required to implement and support the change.

A change management plan can help to ensure that the change is implemented smoothly and that everyone is on the same page, whether they're in Finance and Accounting, Business Intelligence, or Sales. And although change can be difficult for people, and can often be met with resistance, adhering to the strategies and resources presented here can help you and your team overcome any obstacles you may encounter.

Finding the right tool to support a change management or change control plan is an important first step toward success. Our software, Workamajig, is built to help with every stage of the project management process, from planning and execution to tracking and reporting. With special features designed specifically to assist Change Management and Change Control processes, such as task tracking, resource capacity maps, in-tool Gannt charts, as well as fully-customizable project hubs, Workamajig is the perfect tool to make sure your next Change processes goes according to your plan.

If you're looking for help with your change management process, there are a variety of software platforms and tools to support your plan. However, Workamajig is the only one designed specifically for creative teams and marketing agencies. Workamajig’s change management module, which includes project timelines, resource capacity maps, in-tool Gannt charts, as well as productivity app integration, ensures you create a change management plan that is tailored specifically to your team’s needs. Workamajig makes it easy to communicate and track the progress of even the most-complicated change management processes.

Contact us today for more information on how Workamajig can support your next change management plan.

 

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