The Life of a Change: Creating a Change Roadmap (FREE TEMPLATE INCLUDED!)

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Change can be complex and can take place over a long period of time.  Because of this it can be difficult to visualize the life of the change and be able to illustrate how a change will impact various groups of employees and when.  Because of this, we sometimes do a poor job of communicating a change or preparing our employees to be ready to begin doing what we need them to be doing.  Too often this means that key activities get addressed too late or not at all such as developing and executing training for employees, developing the reporting and controls needed to monitor change, and providing employees with the right types of communication at the right time.  By creating a change roadmap, it allows you to visually represent the life cycle of the change and to step back and identify where changes or opportunities for improvement exist.  From there, the roadmap provides a powerful communications tool for employees and leaders and is a great supplement to a project plan or other tools that may be used to help manage the change process.

To create your change roadmap, consider the following questions below.  These questions ensure you consider common change management (situational) practices as well as the transition (psychological) aspect of a change effort.

Below is a link to the Collaborative Dynamics Change Roadmap Template that you can use in your organization.

  1. Who are the audiences impacted by this change? Any change, large or small, will likely impact multiple groups who will be impacted at varying degrees.  Consider who these different functional groups or work streams are.  This can include operational groups (e.g. customer service, billing) as well as other functional teams (e.g. finance, training, human capital, reporting) and should also include the senior leadership team that is guiding this change effort from the top.  Ideally, try to keep the number of areas summarized to around 5 to avoid a roadmap that is too granular or complex to manage effectively.
  2. When will the change event(s) occur? Keep in mind that a change effort can have multiple change events for each audience and can occur at different times for different audiences.  This identifies the points in time when groups are expected to begin doing something differently.
  3. What do we need to do to prepare these groups for the change? This allows you to back up from the change event and properly identify how you will get each group ready for the change event.  This can be in the form of training, developing reporting, or communications.  From a transition standpoint, consider activities needed to help employees let go of their current state.  Beyond training, this should include multiple opportunities for them to talk with leaders and provide feedback as they approach this new reality and begin letting go of the current state.
  4. When will employees be in the midst of Transition? This immediately follows a change event and extends for a period of time after.  This step is of particular importance as when employees are in the middle of a change, it is common for performance to decrease and for employees to be testing out their new reality and getting acclimated.  By calling this out specifically, it allows you consider how you will support an employee through this period whether that be through coaching, additional communications, or help desk support.  While you’re pre-defining a time frame for this stage, it is important to note that some employees will be fully acclimated prior to the end of this time period and others may need additional support afterward.  This time frame should end when you expect most employees to be acclimated and have integrated this new change into their world.
  5. How will this change be supported after the change effort has completed?  So, you’ve completed the change effort and supported your employees for a time after the main change event occurred and now its time to integrate that change into normal operations of the business.  As you get to this, you should consider identifying those points where the supportive systems that were put into place will go away and the change will finally be fully integrated into the normal operations of the business.  This generally follows the transitional period and should be indicated to show that hand-off to each group as needed.
  6. What are the key decision points related to the change. As you look out at your roadmap with all of the other items you’ve laid out, consider any decisions that need to be made and when.  Indicating those specifically helps to call out times when the roadmap could change.  For instance, including a readiness review gives you the opportunity to ensure your teams are ready for a change to happen.  If they’re not, it highlights that the roadmap may change in some way to accommodate additional time  needed to get those teams ready.  Also, this is valuable to ensure the change effort is on track and all groups remain in alignment prior to major change events taking effect.
  7. Take another look. Once you’ve laid your change roadmap, take a break, then take a step back and see if you’ve captured everything.  Pass it along to key members of each audience to be sure that you haven’t missed anything and that they feel it will help ready their group for a successful change and transition.

70% of change efforts fail to achieve their desired results.  In many cases this is due to a lack of planning and communication regarding the change efforts.  By implementing a change roadmap, this will help ensure that each audience is prepared and ready for the change, knows when things will be taking place, proper communication is in place, and that opportunities will exist to ensure that each team is aligned and ready for the change prior to those events occurring.   Taking the time to plan here will pay dividends in not incurring rework or the costs of failure.

Click here to download the FREE Collaborative Dynamics Change Roadmap Template!

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