It is sometimes unfortunate that ICHQ10 defines Change Management as “A systematic approach to proposing, evaluating, approving, implementing and reviewing changes.” This lifecycle approach can sometimes confuse people as they are used to the definition popular elsewhere that change management is “the discipline that guides how we prepare, equip and support individuals to successfully adopt change in order to drive organizational success and outcomes.”
I tend to think this is an issue of focus and lack of coherence in the organization that stems from:
- Not understanding that all changes are to a system that involves people, organization, technology and process
- Balkanized change processes leads to changes being atomized or channeled though discrete processes that do not drive system thinking
Both of these can lead to a change going to a default change control process and not appropriately dealing with all aspects of the change. Teams tend to have their default (IT puts everything in as a computer change, facilities always uses a an equipment change) but those defaults are not built to deal with a change holistically.
Change is a movement out of a current state (how things are today), through a transition state, and to a future state (how things will be done). Change management needs to be about how we manage that change from the entire system – people, organization, technology and process. Only by approaching change from a full system perspective do we ensure the full benefit and avoid unintended consequences.
Changes come from everywhere. They are driven by other quality processes, by business needs, by innovation. To quickly address change it is important to have a good funnel system that will get the change to evaluation.
All changes should be evaluated for risk and impact. This evaluation is iterative and determines the level and form of evaluation.
Right sized change control based on risk and impact. Some changes are one-and-done. But many are multi-faceted, and it is important to structure it appropriately.
I’ve written a lot on change management that covers this in more detail. Explore them here