Measuring and evaluating the success and results of your change initiative are vital. Knowing what data to look for and how to interpret it are keys to knowing whether you are on the path to success or failure.
Often, organizations decide upon a set of measures for their change initiative that have no relation to true performance. These measures focus on activity rather than productivity. An example would be interviewing 50 stakeholders to understand what they hope to see as a result of the change initiative, only to have them come back and say they do not like what they have seen. The focus should not be on interviewing 50 stakeholdersit should be related to how the stakeholders see progress toward reaching the goals agreed on at the beginning of the project. Measures need to give you information you can use to show progress toward a goal.
Measurement is important because
- it allows for communicating the level of progress toward reaching a goal
- it keeps stakeholders informed of what is working and potential issues that have come up.
Helping your stakeholders identify and agree on areas to measure, and how often to measure them, builds credibility and allows them to see how things are actually progressing compared to the change plan. It allows for issues to be addressed early before they turn into major problems. It also allows for contact on a regular basis, which is another important aspect in communicating with stakeholders to build strong relationships. Make sure your metrics are aligned with the goals of your change initiative.
What will you be measuring? How will you be measuring it? How often will you share information on progress toward the goals? The answers to these questions should be agreed to by both the stakeholders and the project sponsors. Any changes in plans or the timeline should be discussed and agreed upon. Keep areas in mind that refer to quality, speed, and costsometimes referred to as the better, faster, cheaper model. Some areas to consider incorporating in your measures include the following:
Budget. What budget was set for the project? How is the money being spent (burn rate), in what amounts, and during what period of time? Measures would show whether the change initiative is under or over budget and by how much at what point in time.
Other financials. How much will the change initiative save in production? From an internal perspective look at cost cutting, and from an external perspective consider revenue generation. Can you see an increase in existing customer spending or new customers coming onboard as a direct result of the change process?
Time. What timeline did you set before starting the change project? Identifying key project dates and specific project milestones gives individuals involved in the change initiative something to strive for as they make progress toward change.
People. How have the skill sets of change team members affected other areas of the project and the overall goals? Measuring individuals contributions makes it easier to know what areas are lacking and what type of additional change team members are needed to fill these gaps.
Recognition. How are change team members responding to the change process? Are they excited? Is the project acting as a motivator to drive further change, or do members of the change team need more support?
Quality (thoroughness). Are there recognized industry standards that can help in the measurement process? To what extent and in what ways has your organization adhered to these standards?
Functionality. Can the results of your change initiative be measured incrementally as you work to achieve your overall goal? One way to measure progress is to release a subset of a product line as it is completed, but before the whole product line is available.
Resources. How effectively are you using available resources, and to what extent? Consider enlisting technology, knowledge, and other tools or supplies.
Competition. Are you keeping up with, ahead of, or behind the competition?
Keeping stakeholders informed of the progress toward reaching the change goals is important in maintaining their ongoing support. It is best to identify what will be measured, how, and how often at the start of the change effort, in your change management plan. A good plan gives stakeholders an opportunity to provide ongoing feedback from their perspective as well.
Note: This article is excerpted from 10 Steps to Successful Change Management by George Vukotich.