Purpose of Change Management Planning Tools
The planning tools complement the strategic ones by helping to implement the change strategy. They complement the analytical ones by helping us respond to the data they give us. In short, planning tools help to move change forward. There are four key ones.
1. Project Plan
This tool is well-known. There are often many project plans in a change effort. They are usually a byproduct of a comprehensive change management plan. The scope and complexity of the change will drive the number of project plans.
Typically, a project manager works the project plan. A change management consultant or a program manager coordinates a group of project plans and managers. She also deals with the more relational and political aspects of change.
2. Internal Communication Plan
Communication is a key aspect of any change. An internal communication plan organizes and runs it. No change effort can run without communication.
The plan should:
- Define what needs communication
- Assess the forms of communication available to it
- Consider the audiences
- Identify the communicators
- Tailor the important broad points to those audiences
- Set timetables for those communications
- Determine the best way to deliver those communications
- Include guidelines, tools and templates to help those who will write the specific communications to fulfill the communication plan
3. Internal Marketing Plan
Some internal communication have a marketing bent to them. Yet, an internal marketing plan warrants special note. Too many times marketing change is overlooked or discounted. How we say something is often more important than what we say. The plan should answer questions such as:
- What is the name or slogan for the change?
- What is the one line description of the change?
- What keywords should be promoted?
- How will common objections be addressed?
- Which influencers are tapped as change agents?
- What message will the change agents give?
- What support tools will the change agents need?
The internal marketing plan is like an external marketing plan. Change requires selling, influencing. Marketing does these.
4. Training Plan
Most changes require people to do something new. In most cases, that means training. The training plan should address the topics, audiences and methods. This can include group settings, online courses and coaching.
The plan should take into account that people learn differently. That alters the form and pace of training. For example, running the same group through a second round is often a waste.
Putting Change Management Tools Together
This short series covered twelve change management tools. They fell into three groups: strategic, analytical and planning. Any change effort might not use all of them. However, it is suspect if it leaves out too many.
This is key because there are many change management processes. Some differ in name only. Others have valuable differences. Yet, knowing these common tools helps us to assess these processes. It makes us better consumers of change management processes and professionals.