9: The Change Planning Framework

Every project is a change project. Even the replacement of your IT infrastructure is a change project.

One of the major shifts in thinking the Governance team should bring to a project is that it is a change project. That it is not, say, a systems project with change management helping with the implementation; but a change project with the system’s implementation helping realize the business value.

The Change Planning Framework helps make this change by making change planning simple.

It starts with the ‘desired business outcomes’ — where the organization wants to end up at and after the end of this project. So it starts with the end to be achieved.

Then it looks at the current state — where are we today? What works, what doesn’t, what do we have, what are we missing?

What is not known about the current or future states is identified in the “Clarify” column — what do we need to know, what do we need to find out before we go too far? Do we know how many suppliers will be impacted, what other competitors have done, what history we have on the system? This is an essential step and one that is often neglected as it is not seen as a change activity but then comes up later, delaying subsequent steps.

This Change Planning Framework breaks the change delivery activities into two types — Preparation that gets the change ready for implementation and Migration that actually makes the change within and across the organization. This split allows the range of change activities to be segmented by their impacts and allow project readiness for implementation to be evaluated (“Have we completed all of the preparation activities?”).

The final “Sustain” column locks in the value. Change is not a one-way street. Change that has been made does not automatically stay, you need to put in place activities to ensure the change and associated value is sustained. Without these sustain activities old processes reappear, new staff learn the wrong processes and gradually (and often quite quickly) the value gained seeps away.

This Change Planning Framework can be used to identify the major changes required to achieve the project’s ‘desired business outcomes’, and then re-applied to each change activity to identify the tasks to achieve each activity, and then to each task to identify the steps required to deliver each task. So the framework provides a common way of thinking about and planning for change that all staff can use to determine what needs to be done.

Importantly, it requires every change to have a clear, measurable ‘desired business outcome’ — a very clear end state to be achieved. Too many change activities have vague ‘objectives’ to be achieved and, therefore, cannot be easily measured as successful or not.

We also recommend this Framework is used for risk and issue management. “What is the risk outcome desired? Where are we today? What don’t we know? What do we need to do prepare for the risk? What do we need to do to manage the risk? What do we need to do to sustain the low/no risk situation?

This simple Change Planning Framework allows everyone to easily participate in change planning.

Further information and tools on change management are arriving soon at valuedeliverymanagement.com

Topics: Project Controls, Capital Investment, Value Equation, Project Governance

Further Reading



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Revision History

First published: Simms, J. (Apr 2008) as "The Change Planning Framework"

Updated: Chapman, A. (March 2020), Revisions and Corrections