Business today is changing faster than ever. In match there must be a ready-posture on the part of IT to not only support change, but to lead it. But not just any change. Change must be qualified: Solutions need to be on-target, on-time, and on-budget.
- On-target: Change must deliver accurately identified solutions for delivery. If a so-called “solution” is off-target of actual requirement(s), it is no solution at all; or, if it is poorly fitted, expensive fixes and work-arounds cost the organization time, money, and potential hits to its reputation
- On-time: Delays are costly – no more really needs to be said
- On-budget: Again, the evident need here is… evident
All of these things require specialized talents and judgement.
A real world example: There is a quickening business-technology environment that makes things ever-more tricky. Every aspect of business and supporting technology seems to accelerate. Let’s take a real-world example. In the past, attempting to leverage discreet apps and their data with other enhancing (related) data was inhibited by the expense of the related project: Generally an expensive coding endeavor that required the mount of a project, a project plan and careful management. It also required the engagement of deep resources in the form of Developers/programmers, a Project Manager (or mangers), Admin folks, Beta-testers/users/early-adopters, system resources, and that most valuable of resources: Time.
But today, there are emerging products that shatter the silos between discreet apps and data, and enable the building of joined, leveraged, cohesive systems by virtue of graphical-user-interfaces (GUIs): If you can drag-and-drop, point-and-click, and draw lines, you can craft solutions for the here-and-now that formerly had been held in abeyance by virtue of cost-inhibition - due to the related expensive coding endeavors. That’s a powerful, recent, change to the business-IT landscape. As powerful fact: You can resuscitate legacy apps, turning them into Legacy-as-a-Service (LaaS) contributions to the collective whole of your technical support to business: Goodbye “rip and replace”; Hello powerful, affordable, solutions now. For the org, if you’re not carefully positioned to take advantage of these changing, new, and powerful enablements, you’ll find yourself spending money and time needlessly had you been up-to-spec.
By virtue of this example, we can see that the trick in managing change is not merely the mundane steerage of approved projects – but the ability to track what is up-and-coming; subsequently proven as a solid product; qualifying it for fit; and then budgeting and scheduling it favorably for deployment in the organization. One must learn how to cast their eyes to the horizon, watching for these up and coming solutions, or if you prefer, solutions-enablers; judge them for fit and service to your org, and adopt the best, most relevant, ones.
Change is a continuum. For the organization, something is continuously changing that affects it - change is happening within, and it is happening in the surrounding environment. All change must be weighed and assessed for impact, and there must be a ready posture for doing this. Too many organizations think of change as something mounted in a burst; “now we can rest.” This is why so many organizations seem to take action at the back edge of the envelope: change for them is constituted as an addressal of problems under pressure-filled and even desperate circumstances. When change is mounted under pressure, there is usually a failure to fully survey where you are, therefore the route to destination is a broken one – reaching the destination is painful, inefficient, and sometimes not even achieved. Projects can be torn apart or even thrown out - and remounted. Budget, morale, and business suffers.
The smart organization doesn’t disengage from change – nothing around them stands still if they do. Therefore, the management of change isn’t just some reaction to what is happening internally, or some engagement that is “forced” by outside change. You must occupy a position of readiness, so that you have the “muscle” in place to exercise change. You must also be casting about in terms of vision – looking for breaking developments and even imagining new developments that can aid the organization. You must be able to forecast, develop, and schedule. This requirement for readiness presents itself to the individual, to groups, and to the organization in equal measure.
Further, we need to realize and acknowledge that even change changes. How does change change? Consider: While we’re busy implementing a documented, sanctioned change, some of our assumptions, support products, regulatory requirements, business practices, etc., haven’t done us the courtesy of standing still. Further, various projects and their change can compete for common resources; they can shift in schedule and crash into one another; they can have interlocking dependencies and impacts that must be carefully coordinated. Any time you make a course correction, an accommodation, an expansion in scope, etc., you are making a change to change. Circumstances such as these, and the quality of planning in your organization, either yields a house of cards that tumbles with the first vibration of a ‘change to change’ - or yields a solid structure of mutually reinforcing initiatives and projects.
Because things are shifting and evolving around us all the time, we need plans that have enough structure to guide us effectively, but that are not so rigid as to “straightjacket” us. We don’t want to be implementing so-so or broken solutions today that looked great yesterday. We don’t want the organization to be thrashing as it attempts to mount major changes without regard to prudent sequence, or that are even in direct competition with each other.
Consider what the “quickening business-technology environment” means to you. Consider what it means to your organization. Debut the concept of dynamic change in an appropriate meeting within your organization and gauge the reaction:
See if others have a true grasp on managing the future in view of new change dynamics and velocities – and keep scanning the horizon.