Monday, March 18, 2013

How to Integrate OCM Deliverables in Your Process Improvement Plan (Phase III, Operate)

Dear Readers,

Over the course of many poignant blog posts here at Ask the CMMI Appraiser, Julie Calfin, Broadsword’s Director of Consulting and our resident expert on Organizational Change Management (OCM), has been responding to the inquiries of software and engineering professionals who are leading their organizations through large scale change. Today’s post is a continuation of our response to a question from a federal government contractor in Central Ohio, who asked about integrating OCM deliverables into his process improvement plan. Take it away, Julie! ~ The CMMI Appraiser 

Thank you, CMMI Appraiser!

For those just joining us, this conversation has been about applying the discipline known as OCM in a structured but agile manner, using the CMMI as one of your tools, in order to help your organization transition from wherever you are today to wherever you want to be tomorrow.

As I mentioned in previous posts, there are 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 OCM deliverables in the Third Phase, Operate:

Phase III, Operate, is a critical part of your OCM strategy. The Operate Phase is the point in the Process Improvement Plan where you have deployed your new processes and are now monitoring their deployment. This phase is all about measuring the results of the processes. How well are the processes performing? Are they achieving the desired results? And most importantly: How do you know?

The Operate Phase gives us data about how well the process works. After all, if we don't know that - why are we doing this?

Some of the OCM deliverables in the Operate Phase include topics we’ve already covered, such as the status dashboard, ongoing training and mentoring, and ongoing communications. But there is an important deliverable we have not yet discussed, the Stakeholder Commitment Assessment and Action Plan.

Stakeholder Commitment Assessment – The purpose of the Stakeholder Commitment Assessment is to determine how committed your stakeholders are to the behavior changes that you are asking them to make. A Stakeholder Commitment Assessment helps you inform management where you think the stakeholders are with regard to the changes that your Process Improvement Program has implemented. Are they onboard with little evidence of change resistance? Are there some issues? Is a stakeholder group resisting the new ways of doing things? Are there any correlations between the stakeholder groups’ commitment levels to indicate that one group is influencing another?

I recommend assessing the different stakeholder groups that were identified in your Stakeholder Identification and Analysis deliverable from the Initiate Phase. The assessment can be a survey or an interview questionnaire that includes questions to reveal the level of commitment from each stakeholder. For example, the survey may include a statement such as, “Most people in my group seem committed to making the changes that are necessary to perform the company’s new CMMI-based processes.” Survey-takers would indicate their response to this statement by a six-point scale that ranges from “Strongly Agree” to “Strongly Disagree”.

We may choose to represent this information using a simple stoplight chart where red (danger), yellow (potential problem) and green (no problem) indicators are provided for each stakeholder group. Or, we could demonstrate this information using a dashboard with gauges (like in your car) that point to a number between 0 and 10. Such a dashboard would indicate the current commitment level of each stakeholder group.

Keep in mind, regardless of how you display the data, this is anecdotal information. It is based on interviews and survey results and is not intended to be ultra precise. Instead, it serves to help you understand where your stakeholders are on the commitment curve.

Do you remember that, when you created the Stakeholder Identification and Analysis (in the Initiate Phase), you gave each stakeholder a rating about how impacted they would be by the changes, and another rating for how influential could they be to influence people either for or against the change? The Stakeholder Commitment Assessment helps you determine how accurate you were in that initial analysis. Because this is ongoing, the Stakeholder Commitment Assessment is performed multiple times throughout a process improvement program. Based on the results, you can identify any problems and develop your action plan to address those problems, outlining the steps the organization needs to take to bring these stakeholders up the commitment curve to adoption and institutionalization.

Now, to put the Stakeholder Commitment Assessment into action:

Stakeholder Commitment Assessment Action Plan – The Stakeholder Commitment Assessment Action Plan helps you answer the question, “What are you going to do for each stakeholder group to get them on board with the change, and bring them up the Commitment Curve?”

This Action Plan contains specific actions that the organization will take to gain the commitment of high risk stakeholder groups and to sustain the commitment of stakeholders who are adopting the changes. Each action will have an associated owner and a due date. Actions typically include communications, mentoring, training, and incentives. In cases where there is a large segment of the organization’s stakeholders who are resisting the changes, the organization may need to take more significant actions such as reorganizing departments, changing reporting structures, hiring new people, or reassigning people who cannot adopt the changes.

There is one more aspect of integrating OCM deliverables into your process improvement plan that I would like to address in a separate post: your Organizational Alignment Assessment and Action Plan. Check back soon!

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: