Is it ever too late to do change impacts?Oct 03, 2023
The Change Impact Assessment is probably the most well-known and attention-attracting of all the Change tools and templates out there. I’ve watched Changies spend weeks trying to craft the perfect Change Impact Assessment, and murder hundreds of Excel rows in the process. Don’t get me wrong, change impacts are definitely important and hugely useful. But they are dependent on a particular level of detail being available in both the project and the solution. And if we’re going to be super honest, projects don’t always run according to a planned and sequential timeline. Sometimes you can be months into a change without being able to really pinpoint what the change impacts are. So: is it ever too late to do change impacts?!
I practise and promote FIT-FOR-PURPOSE Change Management. This means choosing the right change activity at the right time to add the most value, not following a bouncing-ball methodology or step-by-step process. It’s about staying flexible and fluid and this means you can do anything at any time.
For example, even though Post-Implementation Reviews are usually done after a change, you can do a Post-Implementation Review as your very first activity if you want. Once, I started on a change when they were at the Pilot stage. So they'd already done Proof of Concept to a really small handful of sites and then they were at Pilot stage and I joined the project at that time. What did I do? A Post-Implementation Review for Proof of Concept. You can do anything at any stage, you've just got to ask yourself the question: “Is this going to add value at this time? Is this the most important priority?”
And the same goes for Impact Assessments. Sure, they’re usually done at the start of a change to understand the stakeholders, map the business impacts, and determine levels of change for a team. But if you didn’t have enough detail about the change when you started, or you’ve come into the project mid-way, or even if you’re about to launch and there’s confusion about what this is actually going to mean for leaders and teams in their day-to-day, you can always take a breath, take a pause, and do a Change Impact Assessment.
And you might even take a more creative and engaging approach, given a lot of people have probably heard about the change by now. You could:
- Run a leader briefing and ask them at the end to share back how the change will impact their teams
- Build the impact assessment subtly into training
- Map the experience flow and use that to understand the potential impacts if the detail isn’t available yet
It all comes down to understanding if it’s the best use of your time, if you’ve got the capacity to do it, and if there’s appetite for people to understand and get value from the output. If not - there might be another Change activity you can do to help people get clear and confident at the stage you’re at.
We’ll be talking about (and I’ll be doing a live demo) of how to do a Change Impact Assessment and a raft of other Change tools and templates in my upcoming free Change Tools Masterclass - click here to register. Plus you’ll get to ask any of your burning Change and Career questions throughout the masterclass week and get real-world answers from me. We kick off next week on Tuesday 10 October, spaces are limited, and not only will you get clear about how to do practical Change Management, you’ll also build the confidence to make choices about what’s fit-for-purpose for your project, change or team.
Whether you’re an aspiring Changie, a seasoned Change practitioner looking for extra tips, or a project or business leader wanting to add change leadership skills to your belt, come join my Change Tools Masterclass and learn all my top secrets to leading change with clarity and confidence.
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