What is a Change Management Process?

The step-by-step guide for a successful change management process.

Get started with Mavenlink

In today's rapidly evolving business world, technology enables change faster than ever. Change management is a process that outlines goals for organizational changes and the steps required to implement these changes optimally and sustainably.

Enacting change without properly strategized change management steps can result in:
  • Frustrated employees
  • Lack of direction
  • Loss of understanding
  • Misguided resources
  • Decrease in productivity and efficiency

Most organizations implement some type of substantial change as they grow and develop. As expected, change is not always easy. Sometimes, employees are uneasy about changing routines and new day-to-day activities.

But don’t worry — change doesn’t have to be daunting. We’ll walk you through all aspects of the change management process. We’ll explain why it’s important, the different levels, the dangers of the process and the guiding principles of change management. You’ll also learn how change management plans affect individuals, projects and organizations. Before you know it, you’ll be able to improve your change management approach, leveraging tools and processes that can make the overall shift successful for you and your business.

Why is a Change Management Plan Important?

Top leaders recognize that detailed change management steps are vital. A PwC survey of 1,150 CEOs found 76 percent said their ability to adapt to change is a competitive advantage. A McKinsey study reports 90 percent of executives say organizational agility is critical to success.

A change management plan:
  • Outlines goals with change
  • Details steps to achieve objectives
  • Designates duties
  • Holds people accountable
  • Enables a business to pivot

A plan can be amended based on progress and results, but having one helps a team stay focused.

What Are the Levels of a Change Management Plan?

Change management within an organization can typically be divided into three levels: individuals, project teams and whole organizations.
  • Individuals: Each person's response to change will affect their performance in groups and the entire enterprise.
  • Project teams: Project success depends on the adoption and execution of change elements. Inconsistencies can cause critical failures, missed opportunities and stagnation.
  • Whole organizations: Change must be effectively communicated and embedded within every part of an organization.

Each component affects the other. Change management process flow permeates the entire business.

What Are the Dangers of Disorganized Change Management?

A lack of change management tools can affect employees, projects and organizations in the following ways:
  • Employees: Employees don't understand the reasoning behind the change. There may not be motivation to change, which decreases willingness to execute.
  • Projects: Projects may stagnate. Work suffers. Workflow becomes less efficient.
  • Organizations: A decrease in quality of work decreases customer satisfaction. Sales may plummet, and business reputation could deteriorate.

From individuals, to teams, to the organization, to customers, disorganized change management affects every element of a business.

How Does Change Management Affect Individuals?

An effective change management process affects individuals in the following ways:
  • Employees become invested in the positive outcomes change can bring.
  • Individuals make an effort to learn how to successfully migrate to change.
  • Employees can hold each other accountable throughout group projects.
  • Invested employees are more likely to offer feedback so the change process can be further optimized.
  • Customer-facing employees effectively communicate reasons for change to customers and encourage a positive view of change.

Without a focus on individuals in change management, engagement declines and work suffers.

How Does Change Management Affect Projects?

A change management plan at the project level is critical to maintain momentum and ensure work remains high-quality. Here's why:
  • Change management at the project level ensures work is completed by utilizing new methods or processes.
  • Individuals understand their roles and responsibilities within a project and can execute.
  • Results and return on investment can increase when teams adopt optimized changes.
  • Managers and leaders can better facilitate project work.

When those working on a project need to change, change management keeps a team heading towards results.

How Does Change Management Affect Organizations?

Change within an organization can affect day-to-day details and big-picture visions. Here's how change management affects enterprises:
  • Shifts in strategy are understood and adopted from the top-down, which affects product development and customer relations.
  • Processes and tools used to implement change are adopted throughout an organization.
  • Working toward a common goal and vision strengthens an organization and how it performs for customers.

Change management adoption through an organization helps employees stay engaged, ensuring projects succeed and customers remain satisfied.

What Are Best Practice Change Management Principles?

Use these change management principles to ensure change in an organization is a success:
  • Use data and specific examples to clearly explain reasoning for change.
  • Get key stakeholders, executives and leaders on board to inspire others in an organization.
  • Determine how change management will affect every level of an organization.
  • Use an inspiring vision to motivate change adoption.
  • Anticipate future changes and be willing to be agile.

Be mindful of how change affects broad company cultures and individual employees. Use empathy for effective change communication.

How Can the Change Management Process Flow Be Improved?

Change management is executed more effectively with project and resource management. A tool like Mavenlink improves change management by:
  • Giving insight into projects and resources that will be affected by change.
  • Enabling instant updates to projects and resources based on change.
  • Creating clear expectations of individuals so they stay on track.
  • Providing an activity feed that enables managers to view progress.
  • Forecasting future needs.

Change management strategy should be clearly explained and instantly accessible. Real-time updates to projects increase visibility and maintain productivity.

What Are Essential Change Management Tools?

The following change management tools can help organizations, teams and individuals adapt better to change.
  • Readiness assessments offer insight into which areas need extra guidance and which are ready to change quickly.
  • Training sessions explain the components of change and address manager and employee requirements to successfully migrate.
  • Project management ensures teams and individuals follow through on change.
  • Analysis tools measure impact of change and show where improvements can be made.

Fostering an open and collaborative approach to change management strengthens the transition. Mavenlink, the most-installed project management app, can help you link your Google apps to your project workspace. This allows your team to quickly move forward and avoid rework. Our project management app also gives you secure cloud access with Single Sign-On (SSO).

Another Mavenlink advantage? You can manage your invoices, budgets and rates — all in real time. Mavenlink can also help sync your data, from billed finances to time tracking, giving you a better handle on your projects.

Knowing the availability of all your resources, the status on all tasks and the profitability of each project is easy with Mavenlink’s tools.

Ways to Ensure Change Management Success

Change management is a continuing process. From strategy to implementation to optimization, change management success produces better projects, more productivity and more secure finances. Use these techniques:
  • Instill a vision that reinforces the need for change.
  • Develop a clear strategy and communication throughout an organization.
  • Monitor how change affects every level of an organization.
  • Reinforce change adoption through rewards and progress updates.
  • Use data and employee feedback to drive new initiatives.

Just like an agile business adopts change management once, future change should be anticipated.

How does Mavenlink assist the change management process?

Mavenlink project and resource management software enables organizations to manage change effortlessly. Resource managers and projects managers see how individual actions affect projects in real time, so resource plans can instantly be updated and viewed by those working on them. Simple-to-use dashboards, streamlined schedule visibility, clear activity feeds and resource and project tracking make organizations work more intelligently. With Mavenlink, it's easy to embrace change.

Ready to make the most of your workforce?
Get Started