Nine Critical Steps in the Change Management Process

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to change management. The factors leading to change may differ among organizations, but the core principles of change management are the same. The following steps will guide you in meeting the unique needs of your organization:

1. Define your objective(s)

The first step in the change management process is to define what you want to achieve in the end. Having a crystal-clear objective requires an understanding of where your organization currently lies and where you want it to be.

2. Get your management team to buy-in

Single-handedly diving into the change management process is a no-no. You cannot implement change all by yourself, even with all the knowledge and technical know-how. You need the support of your management team to set the ball rolling.

3. Appoint your change management process champions

Although everyone’s support in your organization is invaluable, you need some key players that will lead the change management process in different areas. Think of them as your managers — they will help you coordinate activities at micro-levels. Have a heart-to-heart discussion with your change champions about the project and outline their responsibilities.

4. Communicate your vision to the entire team

The next step is to get everyone in your organization to buy-in. Mandating everyone to buy into the change plan simply because you are the boss is not the best approach. You will get the best results when they buy-in because they share your vision.

5. Get rid of roadblocks

Now that you have gotten everyone on the same page as you, you need to ensure that there are no roadblocks in your way; otherwise, your team will not function optimally.

  • What old procedures or systems need to make way for new ones?
  • Do you need to acquire new tools to execute the system you are putting in place?
  • Do your team members need to be trained on new skills to perform tasks in the new system?
  • Do you need to reassign responsibilities and duties to team members?

6. Break your goal into milestones

If your change goal is big, achieving it all at once may seem impossible. Save yourself the trouble of feeling discouraged by setting small milestones. You and your team will get a sense of accomplishment for your successes at the milestones.

7. Gun for early wins

Nothing gets people pumped up more than early wins; employees are encouraged to work harder, seeing that their efforts are paying off. The reverse is the case when their early efforts look like a waste of time.

8. Track your progress

Change management involves a lot of planning, coordinating, controlling, and evaluating. These factors have to be in sync to achieve your objective.

9. Improve continuously

Change is a continuous process. Do not become complacent after you have achieved your objective. Review your current business processes continuously for improvement. By doing this, you will identify roadblocks that may arise from the new system you implemented.

Change management best practices

Here are some best practices for modern change management:

  • Understand your organization’s risk tolerance and regulatory obligations
  • Simplify and automate change management processes wherever possible
  • Give CABs a more strategic focus
  • Embrace practices that make standard change the new normal change
  • Look to various frameworks like ITIL and DevOps to find guidelines that work best for your organization
  • Prioritize collaboration
  • Use chaos engineering to reduce your risk
  • Streamline change request intake for IT and developer teams
  • Unlock learning with change metrics and KPIs
  • Embrace a DevOps-driven approach to release management



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