Managing Projects & Conducting Change: When Two Worlds Collide – or Not! Part 2

“What are change management consultants doing in our business analysis workshops?”

“What are change management consultants doing in our business analysis workshops? Couldn’t they just show up at the end of the development phase, after all the solutions have been approved?”

The answer to this question, obviously, is NO!

“And why not?”, some would ask.

  1. Because by participating in workshops on an ongoing basis, you’ll be in a position to take note of various impacts as they come up, instead of getting them all at the last minute and realizing you don’t have all the necessary information to deal with them.
  1. Because most business analysts are not really preoccupied by change management. In other words, they won’t think to ask who’s responsible, what are the usual training and communication tools, and what’s the usual procedure in each business unit.
  1. Because they also won’t think to ask how managers and employees may react to the proposed change, how they reacted to the last change, and why. They won’t note the contributors’ hesitations and they won’t be very preoccupied with establishing the necessary conditions for the project’s success. Those are the kinds of details that change management consultants are trained to consider.
  1. Because you should be in a position to properly understand existing work systems and procedures, in order to grasp the impact that the new solutions will have on the daily lives of managers and employees. The “Needs and Requirements” documents prepared by business analysts don’t necessarily look at how things are done right now. Just reading these documents on their own will not be enough. During workshops, several undocumented practices will surface and your presence will allow you to collect precious information. The same holds true in terms of discussions that often go unreported in the analyst’s summary, because let’s face it, some analysts are more thorough than others. Nothing beats hearing the information first-hand from the business line contributors themselves.
  1. Because your participation in the workshops could contribute to improving the solution. Will the business architect really think of putting a data entry field on the left-hand side of the screen, even if it seems more practical to place it on the right? For users who usually see this entry field on the left, leaving it in its initial position will mean one less element of change to deal with.
  1. Because you’ll be in a position to counter certain perceptions or preoccupations expressed by contributors during the workshop – which will give you a head start. These contributors will be your first change ambassadors within their business units, so it’s important to have them leave the workshops with a positive outlook on the upcoming change.

And one last piece of advice: have your business analyst set aside some time at the end of each workshop so you can make sure you’ve fully understood the impacts identified. Furthermore, don’t hesitate to make some hypotheses of your own regarding potential preoccupations that may be brought up by the managers and employees who are targeted by the solution. You should also validate your perceptions with business line contributors.

These few precious minutes at the end of a workshop will allow you to move your change management deliverables forward on an ongoing basis – one small step at a time!


You will find, here, part 1 of this blog post.