Dear Bob ...
A while back you posted "The world's quickest course in project management," (Advice Line, 7/20/2009). I'm managing a project right now, following your Bare Bones approach, and everything is going well.
Or it was, until the business sponsor asked me what I'm doing to manage resistance to change.
Any chance you have a "quickest course" for that?
- Tap Dancing
Dear Dancer ...
Well, OK, but I'm not making a nickel on this, and as I'm sure you know, there are lots of consultants out there who charge lots of money on this subject. Sadly, most of them start out headed in exactly the wrong direction.
Here's the starting point: Some business change management consultants start with the premise that employees resist change because they're just naturally stupid, failing to understand that "all change is good."
I rarely make absolute statements. I'm going to here: Employees resist change because they're smart. Decades of business change have taught them that business change means layoffs, more work for not any more pay, the invalidation of hard-won skills, and frequently the de-enrichment of the jobs that are left.
That's what they've been taught to expect through hard experience. You're managing a project, projects are about making change happen, and unless you take this expectation into account throughout the design, implementation, and rollout phases of your effort, they'll expect your project to be just another change effort that's good for the shareholders and bad for them.
The solution? Do everything you can so that your project results in job enrichment. Do what you can so that its goal isn't layoffs, and if the goal is layoffs, do what you can so that the employees who support the change are the ones who do well as a result of it.
That's the core. Beyond that, a business change management plan has six elements to it: a stakeholder analysis, involvement plan, metrics plan, training plan, culture change plan, and communications plan.