Friday, May 3, 2013

OCM? What’s in it for me?

Hey CMMI Appraiser, I’ve seen a few posts here about OCM, and my team is interested in learning more. Can you tell us how would OCM benefit our organization and its process improvement planning effort? We are a CMMI Level 3 organization ~ Jonathan A.

Jonathan, thank you for stopping by.  The discipline you have been reading about here at Ask the CMMI Appraiser, known as Organizational Change Management (OCM), is the specialty of our resident expert, Julie Calfin, Broadsword’s Director of Consulting. Julie does amazing work with companies that are undergoing large scale business transformation like yours. Take it away, Julie! ~ The CMMI Appraiser 

Thank you, CMMI Appraiser!

Jonathan, great question! “What’s in it for me?” is generally the first thing anyone wants to know when they find out about OCM. Depending your role in the organization, I give my answer one of two ways:

1) From the organization’s perspective:

The benefit of OCM is it gives you a way of making your future state a reality. In other words, OCM is a discipline for helping you transform your company into whatever you want it to be.

As a practical matter, the organization benefits by embracing OCM because change is incredibly disruptive to any organization. OCM allows you to manage the change with minimum disruption. That’s the main benefit for the organization.

Is there an ROI? Absolutely! Organizations that embrace OCM make a significant investment in tactics and tools such as communications, training, stakeholder involvement, recognition & rewards, and what they get out of it is the ability to implement all of these changes, without burning out their workforce, without missing all of their project deadlines, and without losing their customers.

2) From the individual’s perspective:

The individual benefits from the adoption of OCM practices as well. After all, the organization is investing in you so that you can have a role in its future state. OCM tactics employed by your organization give you the ability to make the necessary changes without burning yourself out or harming your work product in the process.

Oh, I understand that sometimes they don’t make themselves clear. Tell me if this has ever happened to you. The order comes down from above that a specific change is coming. Unfortunately, the person sponsoring the initiative does not know how to make the change a reality. They know WHAT needs to change (they know, for example, they need processes that are CMMI-based), but don’t know HOW to go about affecting that change.

This is the purpose of OCM. Using OCM, the leaders of your team can create a blueprint for how to make these changes a reality, how to change their culture, and how to sustain that culture change over time.

There are three more ways OCM helps individuals do their jobs better.

Efficiency: Nowadays, more people are asked to do a lot with a little. OCM techniques allow people to implement large scale changes without overtaxing themselves in the process. For example, by involving the right people in the change initiative at the right time, you can avoid delays that are caused by false starts and negative emotions.

Learning: There is a learning component to OCM as well. Each individual has to acquire some new knowledge, skills and abilities – and potentially some new attitudes – in order to make the change a reality. One of the things we do in OCM, for each stakeholder group, is to quantify the learning that is needed and schedule it to be acquired at the right time. The advantage is that the organization is not going to just ask you to change. Instead, they will give you the learning opportunities you need to make these changes.

Influence: Finally, the adoption of OCM practices will equip individuals in the company to positively influence those around them. Change leaders are needed throughout the organization, not just at the top. Individuals become influential by disseminating valuable information, modeling desired behaviors, and eliminating barriers to change. Influential leaders emerge when we provide opportunities for them that are aligned with our future state vision.

I appreciate your question, Jonathan.  Please check back in the weeks ahead as Broadsword Solutions is planning to announce the availability of our first OCM eBook!

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.

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