Isn’t it a cliché when you want to change something your bank manager or your accountant will say make sure you start with the end in mind.
Is this really jargon, or something made up so that people can make money out of you? Haven’t you already done something different so that you can adapt to a customer demand or external event – so what’s the big deal.
It is most likely that when you made the change it worked as a one-off, but how about making something like this the new way of doing everything? How do you know it will work across everything you do?
Putting it into plain English
Great things happen when a lot of small things happen in a particular way. These aren’t my words, they are the words of Leonardo Di Vinci – paraphrased a little – and he knew a thing or two.
The trick then is to: a) think things through, b) write things down that you want to change – and how -, c) methodically test that what you want to do works and d) move from process to process to make work out which way is best for each process. Then you’re partly done.
Once you change the procedures, and any policies, affected by the changes you want to make, then you’re ready to put these changes into practice. Don’t forget to train everyone on how each process that is changing is going to work in future because that will help.
The really great thing is you can do the same thing to make sure that your business can carry on should some kind of disaster happen, this is called contingency planning. In early 2020 the Covid-19 virus spread around the globe causing massive disruption to normal business patterns leading to dramatic changes in how companies were to work. So many did not have any
The technical bit
To manage the change you want to make in the way I have highlighted above there are three phases, the Planning phase, the Project phase and the Implementation phase.
The Planning phase is where you do all of the complicated thinking (also commonly called a feasibility study) before actually writing up a plan of action that will see you through to the end of your project.
In the planning phase things can change. For example, the feasibility study could say that only three of four processes selected for change will actually successfully transfer to the new way of working. This should be expected as the planning phase is meant to weed out the things that will not work. Another example is that for process four, in the above example, you find a different way to do things that is still different to how they are being done now and different to how processes 1 to 3 will change. At the end of the planning phase you create your project plan.
The project plan is what rules the Project phase and it will create a series of tasks that are all linked together and are commonly symbolised by the graphic below. Thereby, linking lots of small things together to do something great.
This is the Deming Cycle and is a well known and trusted method of following project plans, checking fog bugs and/or issues along the way so that the implementation works as smoothly as it can.
So how does it work practically. Get your action from the Plan, perform that action (Do it), Check that the step has achieved the result mentioned in the plan, then Act. The Act can be one of two things, go back to the Plan and re-do the action, because something isn’t right, or carry on to the next action in the Plan.
The final Act for the project phase is to move on to the implementation phase. This is where the training in undertaken and new documentation is produced so that once the new process in launched it will work without too many hitches.
Believe you me, there are so many times when processes that have been thoroughly tested in the project phase do not work as they should do in reality. Do not be afraid of addressing these issues, some of them have been as simple as not setting up the correct passwords and access controls for people to use in their role. Remember that in a situation where projects are used for contingency working, like the Covid-19 outbreak in 2020, peoples roles can be different for their standard roles.
There is so much more information available, some of it very detailed. Please look through the other blogs and see if the information you want is provided.
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