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Change practices benchmarking report

Change practices benchmarking report

This is the 2nd benchmarking report on change practices across the globe. In this exclusive benchmarking study we focused on a small select group of organisations across multiple industries across the globe to understand their organisational change practices. We compare the results of this study versus that carried out 2 years ago to examine any trends in organisational practices.

The key topics we benchmarked in this study include:

1. Change analytics – How organisations use change data to support their change work

2. Business change capability – How organisations go about building and developing change capability

3. Change portfolio management – How organisations manage a set of change initiatives

4. Project delivery – How organisations support project delivery from a change management perspective.

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Journey in deriving one view of change

Journey in deriving one view of change

We sat down with change whiz Ben Szonyi to understand his journey in deriving one view of change.

Ben is a senior change leader with extensive business improvement experience across the globe. Ben has also held program change lead roles, most recently at Bupa, where he was accountable for designing and delivering large scale, operating model change programs, which included introducing an enterprise view of change to enable strategic planning and decision-making.

Ben, tell us about what started the journey to derive the one view of change at Bupa?  What was the pain you were trying to solve?

The main trigger for requiring an enterprise view of change was that the anecdotal evidence was suggesting our people were feeling change fatigue due to a large number of disassociated projects in train or on the roadmap, yet the impact on our people wasn’t a key criteria in the decision making process. To solve this we initially tried simple techniques like graphically displaying the projects we were running centrally from a program office on a Gannt style plan, however this didn’t enable us to see the change programs the business were doing to themselves. This meant at no point in time did we understood the current or future collective impact our people were facing, meaning we were at risk of overloading and ultimately failing to deliver the expected outcomes.

What process did you guys go through?

The first key step was gaining buy-in from our executive committees for the need to change.

Next, once we diagnosed the challenge outlined above, we went about investigating internal and external options for providing an enterprise view of change that also aligned to ur new change management framework.  Our ideal solution was to include not only change impacts but also our peoples’ change readiness and not duplicate what was presented in existing PMO reports. Unfortunately we were not able to find this solution at the time and as a result put our focus into a pragmatic and viable internal solution that leveraged existing tools, i.e. SharePoint and MS Power BI.  The idea was that once we had an internal solution made and the right operating model to support it, we would investigate more robust external solutions.

What worked well and met the business needs?

The part that worked best from an internal solution was leveraging existing tools meant people were familiar with them and they were cost effective.  This also meant we had the ability to continually improve after each iteration based on the feedback of the users.

The other success was the buy-in from our business partners who were very responsive when it came to providing their data points and utilization of the reports.

What didn’t go so well? 

The biggest challenge was gaining buy-in from the internal change team when it came to entering the baseline data (e.g. initiative, impact level by business area and key dates) from their detail change impact assessments as they didn’t see the benefit to them. Once they understood the benefit was for their business stakeholders, they started to get onboard.

Was there anything personally challenging from your perspective? 

The most challenging aspect was the time and effort each month to run it, mainly the chasing of data and the manual effort to generate the extracts, load, analyse and report.

If you had to advise others who are about to take a similar journey what would you recommend?

With more developed products in the market now like The Change Compass, if I had my time again I would partner with one of these companies to not only get an off the shelf solution but also one that has learnt from other organisations’ mistakes. This would also mean that you could have a more automated solution.  Also, don’t underestimate the time and effort required to gain buy-in from not only your stakeholders, but also your change managers/ agents by ensuring you have a clear WIIFM story.

Based on your experience, what do you see to be the next phase of development for change management?

After working in Marketing more recently, I feel that the key for change management is to treat change initiatives like marketing campaigns where you are clear about the target audience, their needs and measurable outcomes by use of data and a continuous improvement approach.  The more we can make change a science and not just an art, we will gain more respect from our stakeholders by demonstrable positive impact.

How Insurance Australia Group (IAG) delivers change using data and insights – Fireside chat with Ross Jeffrey, Manager Change Governance & Frameworks

How Insurance Australia Group (IAG) delivers change using data and insights – Fireside chat with Ross Jeffrey, Manager Change Governance & Frameworks

Tell me about the state of play at IAG and your role in addressing this.

IAG was at the forefront of rolling out large transformational change programs over a relatively short space of time. For our leaders, the impact on our people and customers was very clear.

Within this environment, there was a genuine need to understand the accumulative effects of change, audience impacts, and timings. This information would enable leaders to prepare for and effectively deliver and embed change.

We began investigating platforms to efficiently capture change impact data that was easy to use and relatively inexpensive, with automated reporting. The Change Compass met these requirements.

How did you introduce this to the organisation?

In the context of the change environment at IAG, we wanted to capture a true reflection of the volume and complexity of change impacting each business area to enable meaningful dialogue with leaders about how to effectively deliver and lead through the change.

By appointing heatmap coordinators within each business unit, we drove accountability for input and maintenance within business units. This underpinned the notion that each team was responsible for leading their change while maintaining the quality of the data.

This enabled teams to present a holistic change view to key leadership groups within governance forums.

What has been your journey so far?

We’ve been using the Change Compass for over a year and we’re constantly evolving how we use and manage the tool to drive decisions and actionable insights.

We’ve worked hard over the last year to demonstrate the value to the business when it may have easily been perceived as adding more work to reporting cycles.

With data now enabling leaders to show a heatmap for both employees and customers; leverage insights; and drive governance conversations between Business Performance, HR, Communications, Change and Program Delivery teams we are building great momentum.

These conversations help guide decision making and build a network of key teams who are clear on how this work contributes to IAG strategy while driving change management, engagement, communications, and initiative sequencing.

What value have you seen so far?

While we are still at the front-end of how to utilise the Change Compass fully, we’re starting to see benefits.

There are many conversations focused on how we can keep the data current and relevant. This enables Business Units to start using the information to improve how they are delivering change, not just at the initiative level but at a wider business portfolio level.

The Compass is starting to form a useful proxy to bring together professional disciplines in governance conversations and decisions.

One of the emerging themes across IAG is the need for us to be much more effective at how we deliver change into the business in a way that recognises the capacity of the people to accept change – the Change Compass helps guide this thinking.

What’s next?

Having established the rhythms and routines, we are now focused on how governance sessions and key groups leverage data and insights beyond the heatmap.

We want to enable leaders to use the Change Compass to help inform how they lead their team through change – by using the data to implement specific mitigations and ultimately deliver more effective and sustainable change.

Landing multiple changes – ACMP conference slides

Landing multiple changes – ACMP conference slides

Landing multiple changes - ACMP conference slides

These are slides from the presentation to the ACMP (Association of Change Management Professionals) Conference in Las Vegas.

The change analogy was used to help change professionals explain the various components and facets of managing a portfolio of change initiatives.

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7 Change Portfolio Management best practices

7 Change Portfolio Management best practices

Managing a set of change initiatives through a portfolio management approach is relatively new for some organizations.  This approach is drawn from the portfolio project management approach by dividing a set of initiatives into different groups.  This then becomes more manageable from a workload perspective.

Portfolio project managers are focused on investment funding, program management, governance, project execution and resource management. For portfolio change mangers, there are similar focus areas such as change program management, change initiative execution, resource management and quality assurance.  However, there are also several marked differences, including focus on business change governance, business change capability, change leadership, and change tools and methodology.

In practice, there is often a wide range of practices in the service delivery and model of portfolio change management.  Some focus purely on supporting project delivery, and in process fail to uplift business change capability.  Others tend to focus on general change capability through training and development and very little on change governance and supporting strategy implementation.

So, what are some of the best practices in change portfolio management?  How does the change portfolio management function position itself to be strategic, value-adding and seen as a driver of business results?  Here are 10 best practices.

1. Use hard data.

A lot of change professionals often shy away from data.  We prefer to focus on behavior, leadership, mindsets, norms and culture.  Whilst the ‘soft’ things may matter we need to be comfortable in working with data.  Peter Drucker’s famous saying goes ‘What get’s measured gets done’.

Disciplines with a strong focus on data usually have a strong seat at the business table.  For example, Finance, Operations and Sales.  Even Marketing is not just about creative ideas and concepts, but there is a strong focus on cost, revenue forecast and customer responses.  Armed with data that drives business decisions and you get a strong seat at the decision making table.

What types of data should portfolio change managers focus on?  The standard change measures include training attendance, stakeholder ratings, and arbitrary business readiness ratings.  To really demonstrate value, portfolio change managers need to turn change management into a science and be able to quantify change.  Change Impacts is one great example.  By quantifying change impacts into discrete units one can start to measure and understand what changes are and how they move over time and across different parts of the business.

2. Link change impacts with business outcomes

Continuing from the previous point – armed with quantitative change impact data, the portfolio change manager is able to analyze the data to find any correlations between change impact data and business performance data.  This can become a very powerful picture to take to the senior management team – drawing out the impact of changes on business performance.

Based on data from The Change Compass.  An organization has been able to draw significant correlations between change impacts and customer satisfaction levels.  This has since raised meaningful discussions regarding the approach of implementing changes and how to mitigate any potential negative impacts on the customer experience.  It does not necessarily mean minimize on change impacts on the customer. Instead, it challenges the group to think through how to better engage and prepare for the customer to transition through changes.  This is a great example of demonstrating the importance of linking change impacts with business outcomes.

3. Focus on building change capability more than just execution

A lot of organizations treat change management as only discrete pieces of work that need to be carried out as a part of a project.  With this approach, these organizations have hired mainly contractors with some permanent change managers purely focused on project execution.  Whilst this work is absolutely required to successfully land initiatives, these resources come and go and in the end the organization is often no better off in managing change.

Instead, there needs to be a continual focus on developing business change capability.  This may be carried out in different ways.  With each project implementation the change manager may focus on uplifting change management capabilities in the business within its leaders.  Effective engagement and learning channels can be established to better aid the deployment of change initiatives.  These include self-paced training systems, know-how regarding establishing and measuring various learning interventions, and different types of employee engagement channels, both face-to-face and digital.

As change portfolio managers, a concerted focus on embedding business change capability can ensure that the business becomes more mature at undergoing change.   A strategic plan can be developed that includes different ways of targeting capability uplift and change maturity.  This requires business sponsorship and focus.  It is also a critical part of effective operational management.

Establishing effective change governance does not mean complicated multi-level governance with lots of documentation, policies and procedures and lots of head count to manage the processes.  Change governance means having the right processes to ensure there is sufficient oversight and visibility on what changes are going to happen and the effectiveness of change delivery.

Different organizations will establish different governance processes to suit the particular cultural and business environment.  However, at the most basic level, there should be a regular cadence where managers can see and visualize the changes that are going to happen, and discuss any risks and issues with the picture they are seeing.  At the same cadence there should also be a review of the previous changes and how they’ve been rolled out, with view to identify opportunities for improvement.

There should also be different levels of change governance for larger organizations.  For a business unit, there should be a change governance focusing on changes within the business unit.  There should also be an enterprise-level change governance focused on changes across the organization.  At the enterprise level the discussion will be on strategic initiatives that run across the company.  There should also be discussions on any risks and issues with business readiness and the progress of the change.

A standard meeting agenda for change governance would include the following:

  • Review the previous month’s changes including call outs of highlights, challenges, employee engagement, results and overall progress
  • Examining metrics around the amount of change and to what extent the level of changes can be digested by the business appropriately
  • Identifying potential contentions of concurrent changes within the plan. If there are concurrent changes being released into the business, discussions should zoom in on the quantum and nature of change contention, rationale as to why the business may not be able to handle the volume of changes, and implications if the releases were to proceed
  • Examining the data to ensure that all changes are captured and there is nothing missing. Change data should contain key projects being implemented, BAU changes and other corporate programs from groups such as IT or HR
  • Examining the overall upcoming change slate and identify upcoming risks and opportunities. Opportunities may include potential gaps where there is very little change, and where there may be opportunities for initiatives to land

Project portfolio managers manage the slate of projects using a structured process of funding, prioritization, analysis and review based on data.  In a similar vein, so should change portfolio managers.  The power that change managers have is not around cost or schedule data, it is on change impact and change readiness as discrete data points.  The challenge is how to collect, analyze, present and leverage the power of these data.

The Change Compass is a digital tool that quantifies and packages change impacts into data that can be easily analyzed and presented in a visual format to decision-makers.  Initiative owners who own the source of the information update change impact data.  Up to date change impact data can be accessed at any time with reporting generated automatically.  The portfolio change manager is able to easily dissect, drill-down, and cut data to find out the change health of the portfolio:

  • Is there too much change?
  • How is our staffing resource impacted by change activities (especially for resource sensitive areas such as call centres)
  • What’s the change tolerance level for the business?
  • How are various stakeholder groups impacted by the changes?
  • How are initiatives under particular strategic themes impacting the business?
  • How are customers and their respective experiences impacted by our initiatives?

6. Examine customer impacts

At a portfolio level, it is not sufficient to just focus on internal employee and stakeholder impacts.  The change portfolio manager also needs to place focus on how are customers impacted by the planned changes.  This drives at the core of the focus of a lot of the organizations on the customer.

One large financial services organization that was focused on customer experiences started analyzing data on customer change impacts across initiatives.  Through this, there was a significant realization that the same group of customers was impacted by 6 significant initiatives at the same time.  Across each of these initiatives there was no coordination and the silo approach meant that poor synchronization and coordination could lead to a very poor customer experience.  Subsequently, new roles and remits were created to manage this customer experience through facilitating a coordinated approach to planning and implementing initiative roll out.

7. Iterative planning

Iterative planning is a core of agile ways of working.  At the core of iterative planning is the belief that we don’t always know the solution that we are striving for at the beginning of the change initiative.  It is when we start testing and getting feedback from users that we are able to refine our proposal and be able to come up with a solution that suits the organization.

To truly support agile ways of working, change management needs to be able to develop prototypes of the change approach, and be able to morph or tweak the approach as required based on feedback.  For example, a change approach can be tested on a particular team, the change champion group, or a selected trial group.  Communication and engagement approach as well as learning approach can be tested in these groups.

Want to learn more about managing change portfolios?

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Managing change as a change receiver

Ultimate guide to change portfolio management