Help! I'm not an IT Change Manager!!

change leadership change management it organisational change technology Jul 05, 2022
Lata in white jumper, pointing to right behind, text: Help! I'm not an IT Change Manager!

I once took a call from a recruiter and we spoke for at least 5 minutes before I realised we were talking about completely different jobs. 


She was talking about an IT Change Manager role. 


I was talking about an Organisational Change Manager role. 


Both have the title "Change Manager" but they couldn't be more different. 


And to make matters even more complicated, I help lots of my consulting clients on their digital transformations and technology changes AND I've worked in and with many IT teams (which is probably why she reached out in the first place).


But I'm still not an IT Change Manager. 




So what is the difference between an IT Change Manager and an Organisational Change Manager? 

And do you need to know both to successfully land or work in each role?



What is an IT Change Manager?


When I was working in an IT team, I learned the ITIL process: a service lifecycle framework for setting up, managing, and maintaining technology systems, applications and platforms. "Change Management" in the ITIL process is usually related to the CAB (Change Advisory Board), which is a process and regular meeting held to review and approve any proposed changes in the system itself.


i.e. If we change this piece of code or this function here on this date, will that create any bugs or issues in the system upstream or downstream?



Whenever I'm starting a new leadership training or kicking off on a new client project, I usually explain this.

And then say: "Yeah, that's not the type of Change Management that I do!" hahaha.


I then take the time to define what I actually do - Organisational Change Management.




What is an Organisational Change Manager?


I love to define things as simply as possible, and I define Organisational Change Management as: "Moving a group of people from what they are currently thinking, feeling and doing to a new way of thinking, feeling and doing, in order to realise the benefits of a business change."


It can be any kind of business change - a new process, a new product or service, a new team structure, or of course - a digital, technology, system, or application change.


Yes, my friend, you can apply Organisational Change Management to an IT change.


But you are still not an IT Change Manager (even if you work within or with the IT Team). 


Because as an Organisational Change Manager, your focus is on people – ensuring they are inspired, informed, comfortable and ready for the change so it can be accepted, embraced and embedded. We do this through communications, training and business readiness. And we set and track the results and benefits of the change, and embed ways of working and culture for the future.



You might work as a Change Manager on a system, technology or digital change but you wouldn't be running the CAB process or likely even involved in the decision-making processes of maintaining the back-end or functionality service of a system.


As you can see, the two are very different and I've explained the difference to clients, students, project managers, technology vendors and partners, and of course to that recruiter! :)


And I encourage you to do the same - the more that we can demystify and de-confuse Change Management, the more that we can encourage our organisations and projects to scope Change Management into their changes (whether technology or otherwise).




One last use of "Change Management"

There's just one other example where I often see people confusing what Organisational Change Management is. Sometimes, "Change Management" has been used as a softener for a very specific highly-sensitive type of organisational change: the operating model change or restructure.


I'll sometimes get clients, students, or stakeholders saying to me: "Oh yes, I've been through Change Management."


Which doesn't actually make sense.


What they mean to say is: "I've been through an operating model change / restructure."


And (somewhat ironically) that restructure may or may not have been supported by Organisational Change Management!


This euphemism has done nothing to help the case and profile of Change Management, so be sure to correct people when you hear this, too!




The end of the dictionary lesson


So look, I hope you found this interesting.


The crux of it is that you certainly don't need to be an IT Change Manager to be an Organisational Change Manager.


But whether you're working on a technology change, an operating model change, or any other type of organisational change, learning Organisational Change Management will hold you in good stead for any role, project, or recruiter call!



If you'd like to learn how to lead and deliver Organisational Change Management, come join my Leading Successful Change program:


CLICK HERE to find out more about Leading Successful Change


Lata xx

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