Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Final Thoughts on Integrating OCM Deliverables in Your Process Improvement Plan (Phase III, Operate, continued)

Dear Readers,

Today’s post is a continuation of our response to a question from a federal government contractor in Central Ohio, who asked about integrating Organizational Change Management (OCM) deliverables into his process improvement plan. Julie Calfin, Broadsword’s Director of Consulting and our resident expert on OCM, has done great work helping software and engineering professionals who are leading their organizations through large scale change. Take it away, Julie! ~ The CMMI Appraiser 

Thank you, CMMI Appraiser!

Before I address Organizational Alignment Assessment and Action Plan, which make up the final component of the Third Phase (Operate) of integrating OCM deliverables into your process improvement plan, I want to take a step back and remind everyone why this work is important in the first place.

There is a very simple reason that organizations invest in OCM. They want to have a smooth transition that keeps their projects on time and budget while they are asking their people to do things differently.

For that reason, OCM should always be embedded in whatever the transfer initiative is. In this case, we are talking about integrating OCM deliverables with the process improvement plan.

In previous posts, we discussed the OCM deliverables that can be added to each phase of your Process Improvement Plan that will help you affect the change you are striving for. The Phases that we have outlined for your Process Improvement Plan are: 1) Initiate; 2) Implement; and 3) Operate.

Today, our focus is on the Organizational Alignment Assessment and Action Plan deliverable in the third phase, Operate:

Organizational Alignment Assessment – The purpose of the Organizational Alignment Assessment is to identify which of the organization’s “systems” need to change to align with the changes that your process improvement program implemented. Some examples of organizational systems are:
  • Organizational design and structure – jobs, the number of people performing each job and the relationships between/among jobs
  • Performance management – measures used to gauge performance and the methods used to evaluate employees
  • Compensation, benefits, and incentives – pay, vacation, rewards, and benefits that are offered to attract talented professionals and to incent high performance
  • Hiring and promoting – practices and criteria used to hire new talent and to promote existing employees to higher level jobs
  • Education and development – resources available to equip employees with the knowledge, skills, and abilities they need to perform their jobs effectively
  • Corporate communications – resources and methods used to disseminate important information to employees and collect their feedback

Organizational systems are really performance levers that help you change the culture of the organization. Just like the levers on the instrument panel of an aircraft, we can bring performance up or down by utilizing our organizational systems as performance levers.

This tool is separate from the Stakeholder Commitment Assessment. It is bigger, broader and more strategic in nature. Here’s how it works. Now that the organization has implemented process changes and new tools to enable the process, and has created new roles and new jobs in the organization, leadership can use the Organizational Alignment Assessment to look at all of the organizational systems and see if they are still aligned with all of the changes introduced. You build an assessment tool to investigate each of the organizational systems in the context of the changes to people, process, and technology. Then, you evaluate all the systems that the organization has, and decide if (and how) those systems need to change to align with the changes that you’ve just introduced.

The Organizational Alignment Assessment tool is highly useful. It helps you answer, “Are things getting better?” as well as, “How do you know?” It gives you information to make the changes necessary to establish the type of environment that can make you a great company.

Organizational Alignment Assessment Action Plan – This Action Plan helps you answer additional questions, such as, “Are your organizational systems (like performance management and compensation) still aligned with the new processes and tools? Which organizational systems need to change to align with the changes implemented by the process improvement program?”

As its name implies, the Organizational Alignment Assessment Action Plan is based on the results of the organizational alignment assessment. This assessment helps you identify which of the organizational systems needs to change to align with the changes that your process improvement program implemented.

This Action Plan will include actions that the organization needs to take to align its systems with its new jobs, processes, and tools. Each action will have an associated owner and a due date. Actions typically include changes to the organizational systems that are no longer aligned with the way the organization does its work. For example, if new jobs were created or additional workload was added to existing jobs, the organizational design and structure need to change. Actions may include writing new or updated job descriptions and evaluating how many people are needed to perform each job. Other actions may involve changing the reporting structure within the organization to enable new relationships between jobs.

This concludes my answer to the question about how to integrate OCM deliverables into the process improvement plan. I hope you have found it useful! If I could leave you with one insight, it is this: OCM is not some ethereal or ambiguous concept. OCM is a strategy and a set of tactics that help you get your people to change their behavior without hurting them or your business.

The rest is up to you.

Like this blog? Forward to your nearest engineering or software exec!

Julie Calfin is the Director of Consulting at Broadsword Solutions Corporation. She has years of real world experience using OCM strategy and tactics to help her clients achieve their goals. Julie also uses the CMMI, in partnership with her clients, to set-up, monitor, and sustain process improvement programs.

Visit for more information about running a successful CMMI program.

No comments: