© iStock
© iStock

Every organisation tends to go through changes to its processes, projects, job roles and organisational structure.

Although the changes are often handled by project managers or infrastructure professionals in an organisation, it is important that other employees are also made aware as they are often the ones that may need to change the ways they work.

The process of change management can be defined in different ways. For project managers, change management is often used to get approval for changes to the scope, timeline or budget of a project.

However, infrastructure professionals see change management as the process for approving, testing and installing a new piece of equipment or a new release of an application.

What is change management?

Change management is the discipline that deals with the transition or transformation of an organisation's goals, processes and technologies.

Change management often includes guidance on how an organisation can support employees to adapt to change within it.

The most common change drivers include process reviews, crisis, technology evolution, acquisitions, mergers and organisational restructuring. This includes a structured procedure for requesting change, with added mechanisms for responding to requests and following them up.

For instance, in project management a change request occurs when the client requests an addition to or alteration of what has been formerly agreed upon in project planning.

In this case, project managers may use change management practices to identify how changes will impact processes, systems and employees in the organisation. There are several stages followed, such as planning and testing, communicating change, scheduling and implementing change, documenting change and a process for the evaluation of the effects.

There are three levels to change management which can be applied in different instances, depending on the cause for change.

Individual change management

Individual change management is the understanding of how people experience change and what is required to make changes successfully.

The process follows a framework that helps the individual to make a transition, whether at home or in a working environment.

A popular model for managing individual change is Prosci ADKAR (Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability and Reinforcement). It describes the change process from the perspective of an employee whose job is being impacted.

The individual change management model is crucial for effective change management because it helps stakeholders make sense of that change, guide change plans, measure progress, diagnose gaps, and develop corrective actions.

Organisational change management

Organisational change management, or OCM, is a framework with steps and tools a project team should follow to implement the individual changes for the people who will be impacted by a project.

The process should include a customised plan to ensure that the impacted employees receive the awareness, leadership, coaching and training that is needed.

It is a crucial process to follow when changes in an organisation may mean that employees need to learn new skills and behaviours.

The Prosci 3-Phase Process offers a research-based approach for creating a change management strategy or plan. The three phases it outlines are preparing for change, managing change and reinforcing change.

OCM should be implemented whenever an organisation takes part on a project or event that interrupts daily operations. It focuses on the activities taken by a team to encourage changes in individuals.

Enterprise change management

Enterprise change management (ECM) is a core competency for deploying change management across an organisation.

It focuses on the organisation's overall approach to managing change, and how an organisation can implement change management within its practices, processes and capabilities.

The process is used to improve the financial and strategic performance of an organisation through more successful change implementations.

Organisations that adopt ECM can benefit from individual employees being able to embrace change more quickly, while organisations can respond to market changes and adopt new technology at a faster speed.

Change management certifications

Along with the Prosci ADKAR model, there are some other certifications that change management practitioners can learn to identify their ability to manage people, projects and organisational change.

These are: