Posted by: kenwbudd | September 3, 2009

Adaptive Change Management – Part 2 The Science

The Science of Change, is a completely different entity. It provides the structure to support change management activities.

It helps bring order to the often complex process of managing the human elements of a project by defining the tasks, roles, milestones and timelines required to achieve project objectives.

Without Science, our insights into human motivation remain only insights without the corresponding actions needed to create desired behavioural change.

The Science of Change is more than a well-designed deliverable. It is the process that can translate the language of human behaviour into the language of project management. You will understand how necessary this is because it helps Project managers better understand the relationship between technical activities and the actions required to achieve the behavioural change required.

The elements that need to be applied include:

  • Project Management 101 – Although the change team can create a high-level plan upfront, they also need to expand the detail once the project has started. They also need to fully link their activities with those of other work streams. This will build their credibility and they are more likely to be seen as collaborative, and avoid the change team being seen as separate from the project, the PMO and technical teams.
  • Follow the Leader – The change team need to identify one clear leader, and avoid operating in a loose formation. Busy project managers, who are focused on driving to timelines and budgets, will better understand the chain of command and will easily direct the communications and accountability, in that direction. Increasing the visibility of the change leader improves the perception of accountability and establishes a clear point of communication, which project leaders need and demand.
  • Boundaries – Once you have established clear divisions and boundaries capture them in a detailed project plan. That way the team will better understand what skills and capability is needed to complete the work. This strengthens the quality focus and the targetted results because team members are assigned work consistent with their skills.
  • Define Tasks – Provide a clear project structure with well defined tasks and task responsibilities. This will help everyone focus on their specific objectives and prevent the change team holding a crisis meeting every day, to address the latest hot issue of the day.
  • Proven Tools – Use the well trodden path and well proven tools, wherever possible and include them in the detailed project plan. It introduces more constants and helps the team see where they can bring consistency into the use of tools. This also brings with it an improvement in the quality of reports, assessments, and templates that work stream leaders use. It is teh responsibility of the change team to make project teams aware of the existance of such tools and that they are used appropriately.
  • Regular Team Meetings – The Science of Change will also help manage the regular team meetings effectively and make them more focused and directed. The change team needs to create a more consistent meeting schedule and again make sure the appropriate structure is adhered to.

When the ‘Art of change’ is applied without the ‘Science of Change’, the change team will be visibly less successful and less able to help the project resources adapt to the new organisational realities.

When you apply the surgical tools of the Science, the PMO team will not only understand the actions required for intervention, but also the deliverables and accountability to help them generate better results.

Integration is essential.
The ‘Science’ needs the ‘Art’ because the ‘Art’ identifies any underlying issues and the drivers of behavioural change. It identifies pathways and conduits for adaptive solutions to flow through and this is required to overcome any and all project challenges.

Likewise, the ‘Art’ needs the ‘Science’ because the ‘Science’ converts the ‘Art’s information and ideas into an understanable and realisable structured action with clearly defined outcomes.

The ‘Art’ identifies what needs to happen and the ‘Science’ makes it happen. By recognising and understanding the existance and the connections between the two, change leaders will be far better able to bring about the adaptive capability, required to manage change, more effectively.


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