Change Checklists I

When considering a major change, in this case a new project management platform, it’s common for a few people to be really excited about change, a few people will be staunchly resistant, and the majority of people will stay somewhere in the middle, fine with the change if it happens but not wanting to own the extra work. I like to use first four steps in JP Kotter’s Formula for Change as a reality check before even starting a project to judge if it has any chance at all for success.

1. Create a Sense of Urgency

Ask around the groups you will be working with to identify their issues with the current process. If the group is ready for a change you will hear indicators like:

  • I don’t know how to fix this but something has to be done.
  • I know exactly how to fix this but no one will listen.
  • At my old company we used to do it this way and it worked so much better.
  • I know we’re supposed to do it this way but no one has the time so we just do it this other way instead.

If you consistently pick up these change positive indicators than, when the time comes, creating a sense of urgency will be possible. If a group is not ready for change you may hear more neutral or change negative indicators like:

  • We all like how this is set up. It doesn’t take much work and we get the information we need.
  • I never really think much about it.
  • Doing this at my old job was a hassle but it works fine here.

Try to stay objective. If you don’t hear an urgent need for change in your interviews, it will be difficult or impossible to create one later and your platform change project may be retired before it even begins.

2. Build a Guiding Coalition

While polling the teams, keep track of both who is highly motivated and who is influential. If you identify team members who are both, you have the basis for a guiding coalition. In this example, the people who are actually collecting data, laying out project documentation, and reporting off of it are the ones who will be the most influential in the process. People working off of generated task lists or seeing report outputs only care about their part of the process and will be easy to keep happy whatever platform you choose.

If you can identify the motivated and influential early, your project has good chance for success. If you can’t, reconsider the strategy before starting. 

Johnathan Deckert