Change Specialists - Simplifying Change

Best Practice Techniques for Governing Change Programmes

In today’s uncertain economic climate and competitive landscape, having in place effective governance for IT and change programmes is critical to enable organisations to adapt, innovate, and stay ahead of the competition.

Author of today’s blog post is Julian Brown, Practice Director at Change Specialists

With technology playing such a pivotal role in driving business success, I cannot stress enough how important it is to put in place robust governance practices that ensure the successful execution and delivery of IT initiatives.

In this blog post, I will share some best practice techniques for governing change programmes. At Change Specialists we refer to this as our ‘Basic Drills’.

Define a Clear Governance Framework

Establishing a well-defined governance framework is the starting point and foundation for ensuring that an IT or business change programme is governed effectively. This framework should outline the roles, responsibilities, and decision-making processes within the organisation. Key components of the framework should include:

– Defining roles and responsibilities of stakeholders, such as executive sponsors, programme managers, project teams, and governance committees. It’s important to call out the decision-making authority at the outset to avoid ambiguity.

– Establishing effective channels for communication and reporting, ensuring that stakeholders receive timely updates and are involved in decision-making processes. Regular status reports, accurate project dashboards, and executive briefing sessions are all effective communication tools. Transparency is key, no one likes surprises, and be sure to keep the updates factual.

– Developing comprehensive policies and procedures that govern the stage gates which the project will go through – for instance, initiation, planning, execution, monitoring, and control of the change initiative.

Engage Stakeholders and Establish Ownership

Engaging stakeholders early on and ensuring their active involvement throughout the project lifecycle is crucial for effective governance. Here’s how you can achieve this:

– Secure strong executive sponsorship to provide strategic direction, allocate necessary resources, and remove any roadblocks that may be blockers.

– Foster collaboration between IT, the business, and other relevant stakeholders to ensure alignment of project objectives with organisational goals. Encourage open dialogue and involve stakeholders in decision-making processes.

– Assign clear ownership for deliverables, milestones, issues and risks. This accountability ensures that individuals are responsible for their respective areas and also fosters a sense of ownership and commitment.

Establish Robust Programme and Project Management Practices

Implementing effective practices is vital for successful governance of IT and business change projects. You may want to consider the following:

– Develop detailed project plans, outlining objectives, timelines, resource requirements, and deliverables. Implement a robust project management methodology. Which one you select will depend on the nature of the project.

– Identify, assess, and manage risks throughout the lifecycle. Implement a risk management framework that enables proactive risk identification, mitigation, and effective contingency planning.

– Establish KPIs and metrics to track progress, measure success, and identify areas for improvement. Regularly monitor and report on these metrics to stakeholders.

– Identify and register dependencies within the project and also those that are external i.e. in the wider organisation or outside.

Continuous Improvement and Learning

To drive continuous improvement and learning, organisations need to create a culture of adaptability and innovation. Here are some thoughts on how you might create this:

– Conduct in-depth reviews / retrospectives at the end of each project phase to capture lessons learned. Document and share successes, challenges, and recommendations for future initiatives.

– Establish knowledge-sharing mechanisms, such as communities of practice, to encourage sharing of best practice, experiences, and lessons learned across the organisation. Encourage and recognise colleagues who are leading the way on collaborating and sharing ideas.

– Embrace agile principles in governance practices, allowing for iterative adjustments and flexibility. Continuously review and adapt governance processes to address evolving needs and changes in the IT landscape.

If you would like to find out how Change Specialists can support you to deliver your IT and Business Change agenda, including effective governance for IT and change programmes, please contact Julian to schedule a call, it would be great to learn more about the work you are doing.

Change Specialists - Governance