Last month, Parker Avery published a new case study, “Global Organizational Change Management (OCM)” which focused on a project that encompassed not only a global retail and manufacturing organization, but also massively impacted the company’s pricing, purchase order management, sales order management, inventory management, supply/demand matching, and master data governance business processes. To say the least, this project was no small effort. It spanned 25+ months and involved over 200 resources—ranging from internal associates, application vendor representatives, and third-party consultants.
A decent size contingent from The Parker Avery Group held several key positions on the implementation team, including overall project management, business process leadership, and change management.
The change management team was comprised of both Parker Avery and client resources, working in tight collaboration with business transformation leaders and stakeholders. Parker Avery’s deep experience in leading broad retail transformation efforts was a key success factor in leading the diverse change management program, with efforts focused on communication; organization assessment and alignment; skills development and learning; and long-term sustainability. As an added complexity, many of the materials developed for communication and training required not only review and approval from multiple business areas around the globe, but also translation into the French language—all delivered via multiple platforms and channels.
Another tricky element to effectively managing change is having to seemingly stop and spin on a dime during the occasions when a process design change necessitates altering training and communication materials. While this was not a common occurrence during this particular initiative, even very slight design and resulting system configuration alterations or alternative business processes require at least a review and understanding of training and role impacts. If modifications are in fact required, there is a series of activities that must be managed to ensure these changes are not only vetted and incorporated but also effectively communicated so the end-users receive the most updated materials and information. A major system implementation is tough enough on most companies, so ensuring the correct communications and materials are available is a pretty high priority to ensure standardization and compliance.
On the lighter side, the change management team also typically gets the ‘fun’ responsibility of celebrating, showcasing, and rewarding key milestones with team building workshops, cocktail hours, notes of encouragement, field trips, goody bags, and other little surprises that help ease the tension, frustration, and long days (and nights) that often are inherent in large-scale implementations. Often times pushing towards the finish line means straddling between potential burnout and frenzied energy. Remembering the dynamic people component and acknowledging where individuals are on the change curve is vital.
Like many initiatives, ours had its highs and lows and hand-wringing decisions. The client moved forward with the ensuing phases (with the continued assistance of Parker Avery), supplemented with lessons learned and their internal change management team equipped with the tools, experience, and skills to handle subsequent transformations.
Big or small, change is almost never easy, and there is not a ‘one size fits all’ approach to successful change management programs. However, having a solid methodology, experience and lessons learned from past initiatives, plus the correct tools in place—coupled with a team that just would not give up—made this experience successful for the client and really pretty rewarding for me.