Don’t Just Tell Employees Organizational Changes Are Coming — Explain Why

To be successful, your story needs to start with the company’s core mission and then offer a compelling and inspiring future vision. You want to answer: How are the changes you make today helping you achieve your vision for tomorrow?
Don’t Just Tell Employees Organizational Changes Are Coming — Explain Why by Morgan Galbraith

I can’t stress enough the importance of proper communication around all changes, from the large transformations on down. Effective communication is effective change management.

I’ve discussed the need to be able to identify changes to strategic plans and use that to inspire, inform, empower, and engage.

changing business environment

Always spend the time on a good communication plan:

Information to Communicate
(What)
Objective
(Why)
Target Audience
(Who to)
Frequency
(When)
Start Date
(When)
End Date
(When)
Media
(How)
Responsible
(Who from)
Deliverable Comments
What to people need to know o Determine site readiness to start the project

o Define resource needs and availability

Tailor the communication to specific audiences. The same information is sometimes presented different ways How often? Start date End Date From face-to-face to all the other communication tools available in the modern workplace. Be creative Who is responsible for completing the communication What will execution look like  

 

FDA signals – no such thing as a planned deviation

The subject of planned deviations made for a raucous “Breakfast with the FDA” session Sept. 25 at the Parenteral Drug Association/FDA conference in Washington.

These are the deviations from standard operating procedures that workers carry out on purpose, typically to keep a pharmaceutical plant operating when for one reason or another they won’t be doing it the way the company said they would.

FDA Compliance Experts Advise Against Treating Minor Changes As ‘Planned Deviations’” – Bowman Cox, Pink Sheet

I wish I had gone to the PDA/FDA conference this year, if for nothing else to have been able to stand up and cheer wildly when this was said:

Brooke Higgins, a senior policy advisor in the FDA drug center’s Office of Compliance, agreed that “it’s a very strange term, and it kind of makes your skin crawl a little bit.”

There is a whole lot more good stuff over at the Pink Sheet’s summary.

I am a firm believer that there are no such things as planned changes. There are change controls, some of which are temporary, occasionally even ones that are retroactive (deviation identifies a change which is formalized in a change control). But all are through the same system, with the same evaluations and assessments and the same sorts of actions.

Keep all changes together. Its a true best practice.

 

Measures of success for changes

A colleague asks:

Is it a compliance risk to extend timelines on a change control?

I want to take a step back to an important fundamental of change management to answer this question. All changes are done to realize strategic purposes; a good change management system is all about accelerating change. From the big transformations to the emergency changes to keep product being made each and every change has a strategic goal.

changing business environment

From this alignment to the strategy, each change has success metrics. Success metrics include economic, quality, technical and organization (among others) and they drive the how and the when of our change.

For example, a change driven by a CAPA to prevent reoccurrence will potentially have a different timeline than a change tied to a strategic goal to leverage a new way of working. But both have timelines driven by strategic to the tactical needs, usually filtered through a risk based prioritization tool.

And sometimes these change. The compliance aspect is not so much did you extend, it’s did you know what was happening with the change control in enough time to influence it in such a way to assure meeting the how.

The KPIs and other measures built into your system should monitor and ensure your changes reach the intended benefits.

manage for success

To return to the original question. Unlike deviations/conformances where there is a specific requirements to complete in a timely way, and CAPAs where the root cause needs to be dealt with as soon as possible, change controls have their own internal timeline based on the drivers (which may be a CAPA). Extensions are not bad in a specific one-by-one change control approach. Instead they are indicative of larger troubles in the system and should be dealt with holistically to ensure you get the maximum benefit from your changes in the best possible time.

Group change controls

A colleague asks:

hoping you can provide your perspective on “grouping changes”. That is, rules or guidance on when it is appropriate to lump several small changes into one change control.

There are lots of reason’s to want to group changes into one change control – ease of implementation, a perception of “reducing work” or just convenience. I apply three general rules for when this is a good idea:

  1. Implementation
  2. Release of product
  3. Concreteness of work package

Implementation

All changes should have the same  “Change in User” and “Regulatory Approval”

I talked about this is in “Changes become effective“:

Tell and Do Do and Tell Do and Report
Change in use After regulatory approval. When change is introduced to the ‘floor’ When change is introduced to the ‘floor’ When change is introduced to the ‘floor’
Regulatory approval Upon approvals After use, before send to market Upon reporting frequency (annual, within 6 months, within 1 year)
Sent to market After regulatory approval and change in use After regulatory approval and change in use After change in use

Ideally chose all changes that are “Do and Tell” or “Do and report”, I strongly do not recommend blending “Tell and Do,” there are just so many complexities here and it can lead to a constant revision of change controls and even increase risk of inadvertently sending products to the market.

Release of Product

All changes bundled together need to be releasable at the same time. Look at PQ/PV requirements and other testing that can be different and keep them in segregated change controls. Putting product on stability (or even needing stability data) is another good reason to separate changes.

Similarly, keep changes that have different internal product segregation requirements unbundled.

Concreteness of Work Bundles

The best reason to bundle changes is that they involve changing the same things: same documents, same automation, same piece of equipment. Once the bundling starts increasing scope of the change, it is time to have separate change controls.

If bundling changes starts changing your project management triangle (resources, time, scope)  then do a deep evaluation. You probably have separate change controls, even if they are under the same project.

Evaluate effectiveness reviews. Chances are totally separate effectiveness reviews for same impacted area are really separate changes.

What about risks?

You might notice that I do not call out risks as one of the criteria. Risks drive mitigations, which drive impact to the three criteria I gave. If a high risk’s mitigation does not trigger one of these criteria, it is usually not a problem to group the changes together. Though I’d pause and consider why the addition of a change that adds high risks does not change drive mitigations that change the amount of work I am doing and ensure that is appropriately documented.

Conclusion

Sometimes bundling changes make sense. other times you will curse the day you agreed to bundle. I find these three rules provide a framework for making the decision.

ASQ Round up of quality blogs – change management

The ASQ Voices of Quality roundup on change management was posted today. I wrote my thoughts last week. After reading all of the consolidated blog posts I have a few more thoughts:

  1. Avoid being reductive on change management. Everyone focuses on people, and then mentions how hard it is. I think part of this is the lack of system thinking. People use processes in an organization enabled by technology.
  2. If you only pull out change management for the transformational projects you aren’t exercising it enough. It needs to be built into all continuous improvement activities.
  3. Change Management is enabled by knowledge management and risk management. Without these in place and well understood, change management will be much harder than it should be.