In my first article, we discussed that one of the important ingredients for a successful change program is creating ownership for change. Many a times the decisions taken by the senior management and the rationale is not understood by all in the organisation creating resistance for the change. Therefore, the team implementing the change is as important as the change itself. A team with the right skills, responsibilities, influences and ownership can create a pull for change. Depending on the complexity of the change, the team may vary; this article focuses on the key members of the change management structure.
- Steering Committee: Steering Committee (may also be known as the board) is a decision-making body comprising of senior representatives from different departments with the power to remove roadblocks, expertise to take right decisions, power to commit resources for the design and implementation of the change. Most organisations have a way of the project governance mechanism by organising a meeting fortnightly or monthly to oversee the project progress.
- Project Sponsor: Project Sponsor (PS) is the one who owns the business case and ensures that the real benefits of the project are achieved. He/she secures funding, provides leadership and assurance that the project will achieve the defined objectives. PS most likely is part of the steering committee and ensures that other important sponsors and stakeholders engaged. The sponsor also has the critical role to support the project manager with timely decision-making, resource allocation and relationship management. PS would be more involved in the project activities and may expect a weekly update on the project. For example, a services company that embarked on a business change journey to improve its customer service by strengthening its IT platforms. The change sponsor in the above example could be the Head of Sales or Customer Service, as the case may be.
- Project Manager: Project Manager (PM) works closely with the project sponsor and outlines the project definition. The PM is responsible to ensure that the project is delivered within budget, schedule, and scope. He/she also ensures that the right resources are staffed on the project and understand their roles and responsibilities. PM also prepares and tracks project plan, escalates issues and risks to seek early resolution. Project manager also allocates and reviews work of third party suppliers/vendors if involved in the project. Communication skills, stakeholder management, ability to work under pressure and team management are some of the skills needed in a good project manager.
- Change Manager: Change Manager (CM) works with a project manager to ensure that the organisation is prepared to accept the changes envisaged from the project. While project manager’s focus is on accomplishing project activities and milestones, change manager’s focus is on preparing business for the change. CM leads the design and delivery of change interventions such as communications, change network identification and engagement, stakeholder management, training and business readiness activities, in sync with project activities. Change Manager oversees the work of the change management team working on the people and business readiness activities.
- Project Team: Project team consists of individuals from the impacted businesses and help in defining the requirements, preparing implementation roadmap and blueprint of the business processes. Project team is divided into various workstreams/functional teams depending on the area of work. They usually have considerable experience in their department and have a good understanding of end to end business processes. They also provide inputs to the training and communications team on the change impact areas and how it should be addressed.
- Change Agents: Change Agents have a crucial role of cascading the change down in the organisation and facilitate solicited feedback upwards in the project structure. It is important that network of change agents represent a cross section of impacted businesses and locations. While they do not have any decision making power, they act as the eyes and the ears of the project. Convincing skills and communication skills are some of the skills required in a good change agent. Change agents are involved in reviewing the implementation plan for the site/business and play a significant role in communications, training, business readiness and post implementation support.
Project team structures are temporary in nature until the project is live and the business benefits are delivered. Each individual in the project has a crucial role to play in the project delivery and if they clearly understand their roles and responsibilities, it is easier to achieve project outcomes.