Divide and conquer? The intersection between Change Management and Business Analysis

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negative space office team building fist bump desk rawpixelAt Caiman, we've observed that our clients are constantly looking for ways to be more efficient, while bolstering their bottom line. Today, one of the biggest challenges for many organizations is their ability to manage their data. Companies may have multiple disparate data systems and need to connect their data and make it more reliable to be analyzed and used. Reducing the amount of time and manual processes involved in data is a key business imperative, with multiple cross-industry studies showing that 80% of analysts’ time is spent simply discovering and preparing data.

With more companies investing in data management systems, and overall global IT spend expected to total $3.7 trillion in 2018, it's important to ensure change management is in place to ensure buy-in from your employees and prevent wasted spend from "shelfware". We may cringe when asked to “fast track” change management work, understanding the importance of communicating the vision of what a new software or system will enable, but regardless, it is a frequent ask. Left to define clever ways of ensuring adoption, we have discovered methods to make change management and business analysis work in parallel. The trick to compress the work without compromising the end user is in identifying the foundational elements of success with your team of subject matter experts, business analysts, and key stakeholders upfront to enable the sequence of activities to work.

A Joint Effort by the Business Analysts and the Change Managers

Two roles involved in managing change and implementation are the Change Practitioner (sometimes known as the Change Manager or CM), and the Business Analyst (BA). Traditionally, the Change Manager may be responsible for doing stakeholder assessments, gathering win themes, and helping to define the vision for the future. A Business Analyst helps identify current state processes, gather user stories, and document the future state design. Many times, these roles may work in silos, focused on just technical aspects or stakeholder management, but to expedite the success of a system implementation project, it's important that these two roles collaborate – especially early on.

Collecting business requirements together and conducting mini-workshops with users and stakeholders of all levels together, the team can significantly reduce the time spent on re-work for requirements gathering, while ensuring more effective meetings. For example, by working alongside the change practitioner to collect win themes together, a BA can quickly identify any of the use cases that most closely relate to a project and use the win themes to facilitate user story writing. By working together and following this sequence, you ensure the business need is understood, with a deep understanding of the root cause, and ensure the solution will meet the business need.

Moving through Phases

Following the completion of the win themes, the change management team is now ready to focus on their individual deliverables. Depending on the methodology used for the project (Agile or Waterfall methodologies or a hybrid of both), the BA determines if it makes sense to develop User Stories, or Use Cases and the Business Requirements Document. The Change Manager will turn to developing the first portion of the Change Management plan, which may include the Case for Change, the Sponsor and Influencer Assessment, the Change Impact Assessment and the Skills Assessment. All of these are informed by the Business Interviews, with the win themes helping tie User Stories or Requirements directly back to project goals and executive level expectations. As the BA and CM begin this work, they continue to support each other with joint deep dives with both business users and technical teams. The Business Analyst and Change Manager roles have evolved over time and become more blended. It's no doubt that the BA and CM both need the skills to do more effective planning and be better equipped to handle resistance.

Pictures are Worth More Than a Thousand Words

Oftentimes, project teams rely on words to describe problems and solutions. Using visualization to document the future state is often overlooked as a fast and effective mode of communication for all users. We have found, in many instances, one visual can serve many purposes. For instance, taking the time to build a future state process map shortens the time to build both the BRD and the steering committee meeting presentation. At the same time, building a “What's in it for me” change matrix, speeds up Use Case development and bolsters the project’s funding request. You may need to customize the visuals for each audience, but visuals are a powerful way for people to understand the future. During a recent implementation of a Master Data Management tool, we often started stakeholder engagement meetings with a slide depicting the future state vision to solicit win themes. This approach allowed us to fluidly move into use case identification and requirements gathering.

Caiman Brings Flexibility and Innovation

Change management is never something easy to navigate within an organization. Caiman Consulting helps empower our clients and develop their people through talent optimization, culture and engagement, and storytelling practices. We seek to make our clients happy and successful while doing the right thing. Caiman consultants collaborate, innovate and challenge the norm. Want to share a comment, or ask us a question? Contact us on LinkedIn or Twitter, or contact us directly - we're happy to talk more!