How to manage multiple change initiatives

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There is now plenty of research and articles on change management out there. However, most of these are focused on driving a singular change. How many organisations can you think of that are just driving one singular change initiative? Exactly.

Particularly when an organization is adopting agile ways of working, managing multiple change initiatives becomes even more critical. If everyone is working towards one big initiative launch it is much easier to plan for. It is more complex with lots of initiatives all launching a series of changes throughout the year. However, in agile organisations this is the norm. Managing the impact of changes on the frontline, in this case, becomes more complex with significant coordination and planning involved.

To effectively manage multiple change initiatives one needs to establish the following:

Oversight of the totality of what is changing

To manage multiple change initiatives one needs to be able to see what is changing. This sounds simple but yet one of the hardest things to accomplish for large organisations where there are often more than a hundred or hundreds of change initiatives at any one time.  To achieve this, one needs to be able to capture the data on the change impacts and how they impact different parts of the organization. This can then be used to better plan for initiatives.

Most organisations still struggle with spreadsheets to try and create some view of what is changing, however still not able to effectively capture the totality of what is changing since this involves a view of not just projects, but also BAU initiatives. To move with the times, organisations need to be able to leverage digital means of understanding what is changing and what this means from a planning perspective.
Effective governance and decision making

Most organisations are good at ensuring that there is a structured way of allocating the dollars to the right priorities when it comes to funding projects. However, the same may not be said for effective governance in orchestrating and planning for how change initiatives are implemented and embedded into BAU.

An effective operations governance process is required, leveraging from a clear view of the totality of what is changing, and through this effective sequence, package, integrate or prioritise the change impacts on the organization.

The governance body needs to be able to establish clear decision-making and escalation processes and articulate this to initiative drivers.

Clear and effective business engagement channels

With significant changes happening concurrently, it is vital to establish clear and scalable business engagement channels to ensure that stakeholder groups feel like they are a part of designing the changes (vs. being a victim of them). This includes regular business forums such as weekly, monthly or quarterly meetings and standups. Other communication channels would also include intranet, email, Yammer or audio-visual outlets

It is through well-oiled engagement channels that initiative owners can quickly and frequently implement changes rapidly and concurrently.

To read more about managing multiple initiatives check out our Knowledge section under Portfolio Management where we have a range of practical articles.

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