Effective change management was a critical success factor in our transformation.
In the lead-up to each phase of the transformation, comprehensive change management plans were formulated based on the scope of work. This single, consolidated delivery plan helped provide clarity on the scope of work to be completed across multiple teams for each release.
A change management methodology was developed to ensure a well-tested, structured approach to managing change at IR was followed. This methodology was followed in each release as the consistent and 'tried and tested' approach helped deliver successful outcomes.
Impact analysis and change management planning was tightly coordinated with business stakeholders. Learnings from previous releases were used as input to avoid pitfalls previously encountered.
Assessing impacts early on
Initial and early assessment of programme impacts was essential, especially understanding the scale, inter-dependencies and timing of the changes. People from across IR were invited to participate in ‘Open Homes’ - sessions in which they had an opportunity to provide feedback on the implications of the planned changes. This gave us a deeper understanding of both the people and customer impacts and enabled us to factor these into the change plan.
Impacts were socialised early on with key business stakeholders and delivery leads. The high-level impact assessment was used as the starting point for developing the change approach, stakeholder plan, communications plan and training needs analysis.
Establishing and leveraging networks
Key contacts from each of the business segments were consulted to validate information about their people and their training needs. These contacts were also actively engaged in the change and training delivery. Working groups were established to bring together stakeholders and SMEs who played a role in ensuring customer and business partner readiness.
A network of change champions (the ‘Blue Crew’) was established early in the transformation. It served as a valuable support structure to those affected by the change and was a good means of feeding information into the business. With the change champions being part of the business, peers were encouraged to check in with their change champions first before raising issues for resolution. This empowered people to resolve issues themselves and reduced the number of issues raised with support teams.
Having the same (project and business) people work on successive releases proved helpful as it provided continuity and retention of intellectual property. For example, the ‘Blue Crew’ remained in place as a support network across all releases. Many of the programme people worked on most if not all of the transformation releases. The knowledge they gained over time and relationships they formed considerably helped getting things delivered.
Change, business deployment, relationship management, communication and marketing teams were well connected and worked together. Regular catch-ups proved useful in staying connected to ensure there was alignment and visibility of upcoming external campaigns or communications. Responsibilities were clearly defined to ensure everyone was clear on what part they played. All parties brought specialist expertise to the table and teams trusted each other to do what they do best.
Training approach and delivery
In the first phase of transformation, training design and delivery was done in conjunction with an external provider. From the second release, an external provider supported training design however training delivery was brought fully in-house. Trainers were seconded from the business and upskilled to deliver the training to their peers. This approach was found to be more effective from a people perspective.
SMEs were also recruited from the business to review and update procedural instructions and knowledge content about new business processes and to support customer interactions for people to use day to day in their jobs. Effort was taken to ensure consistency and alignment across communications, training and instructional content.
Clear signoff processes
Agreeing how to review and signoff documentation was agreed upfront. This enabled the team to avoid repetition and ensure consistency across all change, communication and engagement materials and content.
Leaders played an integral role in fronting and driving the change. Considerable effort was put into engaging leaders at the outset and gaining their support for the change. They were engaged first which enabled them to gain an understanding of what’s changing, before any information was shared with staff. We supported leaders by providing tools and collateral (including change management training, information packs and guides etc) to help them lead people through the change.
Commitment from business
A sizable time commitment was required in getting people ready for the change. Getting commitment upfront from the business in terms of how much time would be required to get their people ready for the change was key, for example, time for completing people-readiness surveys, attending design reviews, training and so on.
Working with system developers
Change analysts worked side by side with system developers and subject matter experts to gain an understanding of what was changing. This enabled the change team to develop change packs which served as the one-stop information shop for what was changing. In turn, these packs enabled the training and communications teams to compile training and communications plans and materials.
Transformational vs incremental change
A multi-year transformation is more complex than a one-off technology implementation and requires a different mindset. As the change occurs over a longer period, (and at times feels like it’s a constant) one must consider that the change happens within a business-as-usual context, which means people who experience this change still need to deliver their day-to-day work while experiencing change-related disruption.
Co-existence between old and new technology made this even more complex as people worked in ‘two worlds’. As our Deputy Commissioner of Business Transformation called out, ‘the soft stuff is the hard stuff’.
Maintaining momentum across a multi-year programme was challenging, so our focus was on being ‘change fit’. This entailed ensuring we understood who would be impacted, when and to what degree, enabling us to pace the change appropriately and have the right support in place.