Incorporating Changes to Management & The Role of Change Management
It’s impossible to avoid changes when it comes to software development, especially when requirements change. Therefore, change management is used to assist in the planning, integration, and continuous evaluation of the software deployment processes . Furthermore, change management leads to improved productivity, decreased stress for employees, and decreases resistance to change. Therefore, it’s important to plan the change management process and the skills needed for it.
Focusing on Stakeholder Requirements Using Agile Project Management
Before change management can be deployed, it’s important that changes in the workflow actually benefit the users. Therefore, focusing on stakeholders’ requirements is crucial during change management. Stakeholders are typically the customers who will be using the software that is being developed. They can also be the ones affected by the process of the development project . Developers will often have to consistently collaborate and communicate with stakeholders to figure out their specific needs and wants. This is the beginning of providing human-centered design (HCD) since it requires that the UI design is built with stakeholder requirements in mind. However, this can be difficult without the use of an iterative tool that focuses on the customer throughout the process.
Fortunately, the Agile project management model is an effective tool that uses HCD throughout the software design process. The Agile model promotes transparency, focuses on the users, provides continuous improvement, and adapts to changes in needs . One way the Agile model accomplishes this is through the use of feedback loops which are checkpoints to reconnect with the users and ensure that functional requirements are met the way they were asked to be . Although it may be difficult for customers and developers to understand one another at first without work from both sides, it’s crucial for the process and helps reduce the need for rework . Furthermore, users may not always know what they want, so the feedback loop also requires being able to adapt to changes in requirements that can lead to delays. Overall, the agile model is an effective tool that focuses on HCD.
Addressing Changes in the Workflow
Once HCD requirements are met, the next step is implementation and the actual use of the product. Oftentimes, this requires some changes to the workflow known as change deployment. It’s important to note that this step can also implement the Agile management process. For instance, senior leaders need to focus on how the rest of the team will be impacted by the change and continue communicating and collaborating with them to meet their needs and concerns . This requires both sides to be transparent and flexible throughout the process as they negotiate the different changes in management . Oftentimes, employees are hesitant towards change, and this requires a certain level of patience and focus. Although change is inevitable, the agile model focuses on implementing changes to specific areas to promote efficiencies while being more relaxed in certain areas to support the team during the transition.
Common Challenges Seen During Change Management
There are common challenges that are seen during change management. The first one is the lack of understanding the need for change management . This can cause the team to be more hesitant to change and less collaborative in the process. Another challenge is the lack of support from senior leadership. This can often be due to the lack of senior members understanding their role in the change or the purpose for the change . The senior team may also be resistant to the change in workflow overall which may make it harder for their team to be flexible. This can unfortunately lead to delays in the workflow process and trickle down to the rest of the team.
Furthermore, the lack of communication throughout the process can misalign the organization’s goals and cause employees to feel excluded from the process. Employees want to be engaged throughout the process and be assured that the change in the workflow will have positive effects on them. Leadership needs to clearly state why the changes are occurring, and how these changes will benefit the rest of the team. Another challenge is the lack of knowledge of the benefits to change management . Senior leaders may not see the importance of change management and this can be due to a lack of resources, time, and money spent on the process of implementing change effectively . This requires reiterating the importance of change management at the beginning of the project. Lastly, resistance to the process is another challenge that can slow down the transition in the workflow and lead to lower performance .
Adding Soft Skills into Software Deployment
Oftentimes, software deployment lacks the soft skills needed to ease changes in the workflow. It’s important to remember that employees need to be encouraged and reassured throughout the process. Again, this requires constant communication so employees are aware of why the change is needed and their roles . This can be done with regular check-ins that catch resistance to change and supports the team toward common goals . Furthermore, communication requires actively listening to employees and providing feedback that makes the new changes stick . Employees also need to be updated on whether their expected goals are met, and how they can meet them. This requires strategically creating goals that different levels of leadership can meet and a plan for reaching them . Lastly, leaders must remember to motivate their team towards success and remind them of why the change is beneficial.