A planned change is a change executed systematically in tandem with organization’s future goals and expectations. It ensures an organization moves steadily in its processes of implementing a given solution. In IT project management, change refers to project management process, where the perceived change facets to a project are officially presented and ratified to encourage change.
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This paper addresses IT as an agent of change in an organization. The paper also elaborates on the sequence of events which can be utilized by IT manager in creating a planned change. Further, the paper explores IT manager as an agent of change, and effort which has to be asserted to ensure effective change implementation occurs in an organization.
Planned Change Management Process
IT projects have contributed in altering organizations structures. This is due to the fact that, they bring about new responsibilities and duties besides improving efficiency in an organization. Though some IT projects may seem complex and uncontrollable, effective team structure and administration may help strive for their success (Cornelius & Associates, 2004). A well-defined proposed change can help IT managers to amicably implement a project in an organization. According to Netlinkblue (2010), the IT manager should be familiar with techniques of change management; this reduces employees resistant besides improving efficiency and productivity. A clear pattern of design practices for change should serve as a guideline for success project execution.
Identifying a Need for Change
Organizations are ever altering their system to align with existing changes in information technology. This has been through IT projects. Well, to successfully plan and implement change in an organization, the IT manager in partnership with senior management in an organization, must determine why a change is imperative. In this case, problems and opportunities have to be critically evaluated, and define change in aspects such as technology, structure and organization culture (Cornelius & Associates, 2004). Moreover, the manager has to determine whether a change is due to internal or external influence or is just an obligation to stay at par with technology.
To familiarize with why change is required, a manager has to embrace assessment methods to ascertain the ability of organization readiness. The assessment can entail assessing the magnitude of change in terms of how big or complex it is, evaluating the organization’s impact as a result of the change. This can include the value and background it brings to affected groups, the competency of change management team, and the influence of sponsors.
Communication helps in assessing people thought about the anticipated change. An IT manager needs competent skills to effectively communicate efficiently the need for change to the organization (Cornelius & Associates, 2004).
The manager needs to embrace three important elements to confirm what he or she communicates is understood. The first element is communicating with the audience. According to Goman (2000), the manager has to ensure that he or she communicates clearly with the audience on what is said and when. The initial communication is characteristically planned to craft around the organizations business goals and the possibility of not embracing change. Similarly, all stages of the communication process should be planned to share accurate message at the precise time.
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The second step is communication planning (Goman, 2000). Communication designs start with careful analysis of audiences, important messages and preparation. The project manager should fashion a communication procedure which involves and addresses the need of entire organization. This is because each group needs a particular kind of information based on the role played in implementing the change
Establish a Change Culture
Creating a changing culture in an organization helps in simplifying change process. Communicating with senior leadership in the organization to determine the value of change as an organization culture helps in identifying better management practices in line with organization culture (Netlinkblue, 2010). Some organizations have a fixed culture, thus hindering change process, however, as an IT manager, you need to create a clear timing with the organization leadership to acquire the necessary needs such as project budget, right people and support. The timing will help eliminate rigid culture that some organizations may have (Myers & Guzman, 2007).
Smooth planning needs to be written. The IT manager and project team should have a list of tasks which should be accomplished under a given time frame. A detailed diagram showing the entire milestone will be appropriate. The plan should be in tandem with inter-operability of the project and other system within the organization. A better plan will put into consideration backup plans once the proposed change takes effect (Netlinkblue, 2010).
The plan should factor in technical, social and economic aspect of the organization. It will be important for Project team to determine the “drivers” and ” resistors” and the measures which have to be instituted to accommodate them. Drivers in this sense are aspects which are believed to strengthen success whereas resistors are aspects which can have adverse effects on the proposed change (Netlinkblue, 2010). The plan serves as a guide for project leader, thus it aids in identifying good drivers hence sustaining them whereas mitigating resistors. The plan can become an indispensable tool which can provide essential information for sharing with senior leadership in the organization thus simplifying change management (Myers & Guzman, 2007).
Explaining What Won’t Change and Managing Resistance Management
Planning and implementing change in an organization is challenging. Managers and employees feel threatened. This may be required for a variety of reasons such as they will lose control, job and prestige among other reasons (Penrod, 2007). The manager therefore has to identify and provide mitigation measures to counter resistance in the organization. To have a smooth transition, project teams have to explain what the proposed change cannot achieve. This will help reduce resistance. The project teams should formulate plans to involve affected employees. Employees should be encouraged to get involved, cooperate and communicate freely during the project development (Penrod, 2007).
This will generate less resistance during the change process. Consequently, change management practices should be part of the project initiative right from the start. This can entail utilizing a planned change management attitude, dynamic and manifest input by senior management leaders, support by all line management managers and supervisors and communicating that need for change. These processes can reduce resistance and establish a planned change occurs as scheduled (Penrod, 2007).
Training is important in enriching the needed knowledge for change. The project manager in collaboration with change management team has to develop training needs anchored on knowledge, skills and behaviors needed for effecting change. According to McNamara (n.d), the team will benefit by embracing five important steps to ensure the planned change is implemented in the desired manner. The first step will involve assessing and agreeing on the training needs of the project (Penrod, 2007).
This stage will incorporate the project team conducting training needs analysis. Training needs analysis will help in prioritizing joint and individual training desires thus helping both parties to understand the operations and dynamism of the proposed change. Furthermore, the training will help strengthen organization values such as values, ethics and compassion and skills in the organization besides identifying employee’s needs. Secondly, creating training specifications will support the change management team to break down the requirements into small, manageable units. Thirdly, the team has to consider training styles which are better suited to the organization (McNamara, n.d).
Organizations’ learning styles primarily affect the type of training to be used, hence, the organization has to understand which training styles suit and embrace it. Fourthly, the team has to plan training and evaluation strategy of the training. This is to determine its effectiveness and value to the organization. Lastly, the change management team has to plan for materials and deliver the training (Penrod, 2007). The team might mind modern creative methods, of delivering the training such as using presentation, workshops, organizing meetings or involving a training consulting firm.
The change process should be monitored to ascertain if it adheres to preliminary plans, or other barriers have crept in. Monitoring should be a continuous process, hence this will ensure any slight discrepancy is noted and appropriate measures instituted (Myers & Guzman, 2007). Effective monitoring will entail taking notes or keeping activity logs as the change proceed.
IT Manager as an Agent of Change
IT manager encompasses many roles in his or her duties to establish organization information needs have been met besides managing complex projects. In this regard, the manager’s needs to have essentials skills to get all groups affected due to change are involved to get their backing and commitment. This therefore, calls for competency as a cornerstone for acceptance besides soft skills commonly summarized as “emotional intelligence” (Penrod, 2007).
The Manager thus needs to possess the ability of communication, understanding, team building skills, negotiation skills, managing and factoring the views and fears of other people. Change in IT projects encompasses a variety of forces. The factors do not necessary encompass the reasons and aims for change, but they can involve organizations culture of the organizations employees (Penrod, 2007). Various change projects contest the prevailing cultural context of the organization. Hence, energies to modify such prolonged values culminate in combat and renunciation. IT projects therefore, needs the backing of affected people to make them viable. As IT manager, he or she should endeavor to generate this “acceptance” to simplify implementation of a planned change with the people (Myers & Guzman, 2007).
Planning change in IT projects like any other similar projects is a complex activity. Thus, competent skills and practices play a pivotal approach. However, adhering to discussed practices and ethics, any IT manager or project manager will find it stress free and enjoyable, thus convincing the like-minded professional to verify the competency and proficiency. Besides, IT managers should promote a culture of understanding new evolving trend of technology to enhance their creativity in fostering change. Thus, this will add value to their skills besides convincing the relevant expertise in their areas of execution.
Cornelius & Associates. (2004). The Role of Leadership. Web.
Goman, C. K. (2000). The Biggest Mistakes in Managing Change. Web.
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Myers, K. & Guzman, I. (2007). “Is Your Next IT Project Scheduled for Failure?”. Web.
McNamara, C. (n.d.). Basic Context for Change. Web.
Netlinkblue. (2010). IT Project Success Means Planning for Organizational Change. Web.
Penrod. (2007). Coping with Poorly Planned Change. Web.