Are you considering how to go about improving organizational performance? In Change-Agent Skills B: Managing Innovation & Change, Gerald Egan encourages each employee to be a change agent and recommends a three-pronged approach:
- Assess the current scenario
How well is the company doing in the area to be reviewed? What problems, needs, resources, opportunities, and challenges need to be addressed?
- Create a preferred scenario
What do you want? What would your organization, unit, program, or project look like in your ideal world?
- Design a plan to move the system from the current scenario to the preferred scenario
How would results be accomplished? What is the action plan or strategy?
A SYSTEMS APPROACH
When systems are involved, the Systems Development Life Cycle approach can be adapted to your purposes. Here are some common steps to consider:
- Identify a need or opportunity
Does a problem need to be solved? Is there an opportunity to be exploited? What has contributed to the problem? What potential exists for a new approach or development of a new idea?
- Define the scope of the project
What are the project boundaries? Has a cost / benefit analysis been prepared? What are the risks and how will they be managed? What is the feasibility that the project will succeed in meeting its objectives?
- Plan the acquisition of resources
Do decision-makers understand the benefits of pursuing the project so they can determine how it affects strategic decisions? Is there a firm grip on the return on investment? Will everyone affected by the project be involved to the extent possible?
- Analyze your needs and requirements
What is going right and what are the shortcomings? What are the goals, desired functions, and limitations? What assumptions exist regarding this project? Is a process in place to handle changes to the requirements as the project proceeds?
- Acquire, or design and develop, systems that deliver required functions
Are systems available on the market to fulfill your requirements or will appropriate internal resources, including a cost-effective and secure systems environment, be used to develop and maintain the required databases, application programs, and operating systems?
- Integrate and test
Does the system interact with other systems in the required manner? Does the system conform to the specified requirements?
- Implement the new system
Has the proper technology been utilized? Is the organization ready and supportive of the change effort? Have all processes affected by system implementation been considered? Have all system users been involved with its implementation?
- Maintain and operate the new system
Are appropriate system maintenance and operations practices in place? What might post-implementation and operating reviews of your new or enhanced system reveal? How will problems be dealt with?
Using well-established procedures to implement your change program can turn seemingly daunting tasks into rewarding outcomes.
Editor’s note: This article was first published in July, 2011, and has been updated.