The importance to agree on principles in a change management process.

It is not the first time that the Quality coordinator of BIT needs to deep drive in the topic of change management. Last time (September 2018) was related to the migration of the QMS from ISO 9001 version 2008 to version 2015. In that occasion, the ITIL V3 offered a substantial help to arrive to write a practical (and accepted by BIT management) procedure; as well important, to agree on the change principles before discussing the procedure.

Change Management in ISO 9001: 2015.
The version of 2015 of IS0 9015 dedicated many norms to the topic of change management. The quality coordinator (his name is Paul) found very useful the comment of the ISO organization itself.
It was clear that the whole QMS of BIT was impacted by the new version of the norm, at strategic and operational level.
Paul had to present to BIT management a specific procedure that would allow BIT to succeed the mandatory external audit and, even more important, would help BIT management to manage in a structured way the – complex – topic of change management.

The ISO 9001 is a  very high-level norm; this allows to cover a wide range of cases but it requires a quite big effort for the practitioner to tailor them to their reality. As always, Paul decided to start from the description of what was happening in BIT and from the service function, in which the subject of change management has been developed for a quite long time on the base of Itil best practices.
Itil best practices have a narrower scope of the ISO 9001 norm and because of that they offer a more practical description of the change management process (Fig 1).

Itil V3 change management process
Fig 1 – Itil V3 change management process

Paul was convinced that this ITIL Process, as it was applied by the service team in BIT, could become the backbone of the new ISO 9001:2015 procedure for change management.

Paul loves to start the design of a procedure with a discussion of its design principles with the team leaders.
In his opinion, this allows to narrow the focus of the discussion; moreover, to reach an agreement on these principles will help to choose later develop options and reduce political tensions.
He proposed (and the team leaders agreed) 6 principles for the new change management procedures (Fig 2).
the 6 change principles of BIT
Fig 2 – the 6 change principles of BIT

Business case must be aligned to Balanced Scorecard.
In his book “Balanced Scorecard Step-by-Step: Maximizing Performance and Maintaining Results” – chapter 8, Paul R. Niven explains how to link budget to strategy through the use of the balanced scorecard. As each change must have a budget, the idea of Paul (the quality coordinator of BIT) is to use the balanced scorecard as a first filter of the change management proposals and link the related budget to strategic initiatives. BIT invested quite a lot in the development and management of the balanced scorecard and they have cascade it in most of their functions.

Incentive cross functional changes
The so called “digital transformation” has recalled an important lean principle “the value map stream”. The value (for the customer) is not in a specific Company function (or silos) but in the whole chain. So, it is more important to focus on changes that improve (even if little) the whole value chain than a change that improve a specific function.
Paul is aware that no manager in BIT would dispute openly this principle but in practice they will be reluctant to apply as it touches deeply the current power structure of the Company.

Allow every stakeholder to propose a change.
In order to have the contribution of every stakeholder, it is necessary to help the initiator of the change through the process.

Evaluation and implementation must be transparent.
The initiator of the change (and eventual sponsors) shall be able to clearly monitor the status of their request and receive clear feedback from change management team.

Allow every business unit to use their preferred project management approach.
In BIT there is not a unified approach to project management. Some units (like System I solution) adopt an approach that can be define “waterfall”; others (like Infrastructure) an approach that can be defined “agile”; finally, some (like HR) uses an approach that can be define “the secret agenda of the manager” (as there is no documentation and visibility). BIT management doesn’t want to penalize any change request based on the underneath project management approach.

Use only one reporting tool for PMO.
In BIT the PMO function is performed by the quality coordinator. Currently there is no a unified way to report all the current projects (every BU has its own method) and to unify the reporting system is for sure a challenge (but at least Paul has the full support of the high management and of the finance function).

After discussising the 6 principles with the team leaders, Paul was ready to have a deep conversation with the management.

To know more:
A visual approach to project management reporting: Story Mapping.

The importance of principles in change management: the Whitewater video of Stephen R. Covey (5 minutes)

Unraveling the Connection: A Q&A Journey on ISO 9001 in BIT’s Digital Transformation. 

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