Change is the only constant in this world. Every organization undergoes some changes over time, be it a change in technology, change in business processes or change in product design. It is important for the survival of an organization to change, but it is equally important to maintain stability during the change. In regulated industries and certified organizations, it also becomes imperative to document all the changes that the organization has gone through.
As the digital age transforms the world, the rate of change is increasing and it is becoming more and more difficult to prevent chaos and maintain stability during the change. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for change management. Organizations need to continuously improve their change management process to synchronize with the type and frequency of change being implemented. Any change management process should be able to meet three conditions:
1. Provide ability to change services and processes rapidly to meet business requirement
2. Provide stability, reliability and predictability of services and processes during the change
3. Ensure maximum productivity of resources involved in execution of change
Before starting implementation, it is critical to review the change management plan and ensure that it meets the above three objectives.
A successful change management plan should incorporate the following factors:
• Define purpose of change: It should be clear why a certain change is important and how it is going to benefit the process or the product.
• Engage stakeholders: All the key stakeholders should be engaged, especially the senior management and leadership. A change that is supported top-down is found to be more successful than a bottom-up approach. Each stakeholder must be clear on their role and responsibilities in the entire process.
• Clear communication: Along with the reason for the change, it is also important to communicate when the change will be implemented, how long will it take to implement and since when will it be officially effective.
• Infrastructure to support change: The change should be supported by proper documentation of the entire change management process. Proper documentation and change control is important as it helps in tracking the change history and reversing the change in case of error.
• Back-out procedure: What should be done in case the change does not perform as expected or there is adverse effect on the system
• Measuring the success: The success of a change should be measured to ensure that the change has been effective in delivering the objective for which it was implemented. The success of overall change management process should also be continuously monitored based on the metrics mentioned below.
When reviewing the change plan it must be evaluated based on below metrics that predict whether the change management process needs any modifications:
• Successful changes: Number of changes that have been implemented successfully compared to total number of changes implemented.
• Backlog of changes: The number of changes that are pending. Does this number grow overtime?
• Emergency changes: The number of emergency changes completed. Does this number grow over time?
• Backed out changes: The number of changes that are being backed out. High numbers indicate trouble.
• System availability: Change management should ensure that the system availability either improves or does not get affected due to a change. Are the changes reducing the system availability?
The above metrics or KPIs indicate how successful your change management process is. In case any of the above KPIs indicate a red flag, all the stakeholders should get together to review that change management plan, and investigate and fix the problem areas. Change management does not end once the change management plan is implemented. It is an ongoing process and keeps evolving with time. Since there are numerous change processes to manage, such as design specifications, SOPs, material changes, supplier changes, process changes, etc., companies need to have automation tools to successfully manage these changes in a consistent fashion. Not only can software for change management assure compliance, it can also greatly enhance a company's productivity. Facing trouble with managing change across your organization? Contact us now! Our CQ Change solution provides a comprehensive platform for change management across your departments and functions including supply chain. Our solution allows organizations to establish and follow best practice workflows to address the entire change management life-cycle.