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Making Sense of Change Management, Essay Example

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Essay

This paper discusses the concept of Organizational Change Management. The paper is based upon empirical research covering a real life situation.  For the sake of anonymity the names of the organization and players are omitted. The paper addresses the question of how does change management impact both the individual and the organization.

Background

A Project Manager (David) is heading up a mission critical software implementation project for a Financial Services Company (FSC Inc.) and is implementing this in accordance with a structured systems development lifecycle method approach.  To facilitate Project Management (Planning, Organisation and Control) he is using the Product based approach of PRINCE2.  The latter being selected to gain tight control over deliverables.  The project has proceeded well through the early stages of Project Initiation and Analysis, having gained Project Board sign off on completion of both stages.  They are now mid-way through the design stage when a major change situation has been identified.  The Change Manager on the project (Sarah) has identified that FSC Inc. will be merging with another Company XYZ Inc. to form a new Company BNC Inc.  This will now change the business requirements for the system and a new approach will need to be adopted in order to cater for the revised business requirements.  It is recognized that this will impact both the existing organization and individuals; however the Board of the newly formed Company are extremely supportive of the project and would like it to continue.  The Board have requested an approach in order to deal with the change requirements and details of how they may assist in order to bring the project to a successful conclusion?  The Board’s objectives were identified as threefold: (1) To cause the minimum amount of disruption to the project and the organization (2) To limit the amount of impact in terms of cost and time over-run, but equally recognizing this will create change considerations and (3) To achieve a successful result of both quality and performance that will meet the requirements of the new business.

Dealing with organizational change

David was an experienced Project Manager and had anticipated a degree of change conditions in the project.  The impact of this being minimised by using structured development and project management methods; hence he had frameworks to work within.  He equally recognised that the change would impact the individuals on his team from both a motivation and security consideration. In addition potential injection of new resources as part of the new business structure.  As they were in design stage the project could be frozen temporarily whilst they dealt with the identification, administration and approval of change.  David had previously used the Myers Briggs approach for identification of the five key factors in responding to change ( See Fig 1).  (Green, 2004).

Fig 1

By adopting the Myers Briggs approach you are in a position to take a quick determination of the Change Condition and gain an early understanding  of the profile of change taking place.  As a Project Manager this places you in a stronger position to determine the response to change and documenting the change condition moving forward.  As they were using a structured Project Management Approach i.e. PRINCE 2  the method essentially deals with two types of Change Condition.  These are (1) An ‘Off Specification’  condition or routine change that is relatively simple to deal with. It may involve Board approval and a rebase lining of the plan or (2) an Exception Condition – A serious change condition that formally arrests the project and requires board approval to make any required changes. In severe cases may even terminate the project.  It was clear that in the case of the merger an Exception Condition had been raised.  ” Prince2 can be highly appropriate for change management projects. Very importantly and often overlooked in change management projects, Prince2 must always be driven by a clearly defined business case”  (Gibbons, 2010).

Using the Myers Briggs approach David was able to deduce the following facts:

  1. The nature of the change : A merger with the existing organization.  A new supportive Board, wants the project to continue, will act as sponsors and provide support as required.
  2. Consequences of Change : Business Case revision, Project Initiation and Terms of Reference Changes, Analysis revisions, Design Revisions.  Will require substantial re-writes of previous two signed off stages and complete overhaul of logical and physical design.  Major implications on organization structure, staff, roles and responsibilities and disruption of business. Plan revisions and rebase line of plan.  Potential significant impact on staff morale.
  3. Organizational History : The organization went through a similar merger about 8 years ago.  A lessons learned report was produced at that time.  This has been obtained from the archives for useful input to this exercise.
  4. Type of Individual : The development team are mainly IT Technology people. They work in an orderly structured world. Change instigates a certain degree of chaos and upsets their world.  This will promote a response so there is a need to increase team dynamics ( let’s all pull together on this one!) and foster open communications.
  5. Individual History : Identify the protagonists ahead of time and deal with them before they impact the morale of the entire team. Normally only a small number and may need special treatment.

PRINCE2 had a positive effect on the team because they knew that an Exception condition had occurred the method provided a structured means in order to resolve it. They equally recognized it may terminate the project but the early supportive statement from the new Board quickly removed those fears.  The image and proactive stance of the new Board also added as impetus and motivation to the team in order to embrace the changes and rise to the Challenge. David (PM) was quick to recognise this and use it as leverage in order to minimise potential disruption to the project.

External Managers within the existing Organization were less prepared and this impacted the user community within the design stage specification. Fortunately the project was suspended to deal with the change and this allowed time for re-settlement. Morale sunk in the first instances, primarily concerns appropriate to job loss, transfers, demotion in the new organisation.  The Board were prepared for this and moved quickly with the HR department to remove people’s fears and concerns.  There was concern about cultural shift; would the new firm be as much fun as the old firm to work for? This was alleviated by the early formulation of an employee panel to ensure that the cultural practices of the old firm were migrated into the new one. They communicated this widely on the Company intranet and bulletin boards allowing all staff to input to the process.  The New Board demonstrated exceptional foresight and leadership skills from both an inclusivity and communications perspective.  Key to this was an un-wavering level of support to the staff and leading by example.  As a Financial Services organization with a high level of customer focus, they recognised the importance of a smooth transition and the ability to maintain employee morale through this period. The Board were quick to adopt the Schein Model of Transformative Change and control the changes in three stages of transformation:

“CEO’s are in a good position to cause anxiety or guilt in an organization because they are symbolically and psychologically in a parent role” (Thomas John Allen, 1990)

Works Cited

Cameron, Esther and Mike Green. “Making Sense of Change Management.” Cameron, Esther and Mike Green. Making Sense of Change Management. London: Kogan Page, 2004. 29-30.

Gibbons, Andy. Managing Change. 4 1 2010. 21 2 2010 <http://www.jestmanagement.co.uk/content/managining_change>.

Thomas John Allen, Michael S. Scott Morton. “Information technology and the corporation of the 1990s: research studies .” Thomas John Allen, Michael S. Scott Morton. Information technology and the corporation of the 1990s: research studies . Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990. 326-327.

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