Communication in Change Management Part 2

Communication Is Key When You Want People to Change

Mary Kuch | January 31, 2017

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Changing how your teams work is hard.  In my previous post, I covered the first three of my learnings in my time as a Strategic Customer Success Manager at Jama.  I’m now going to fill you in on how to approach communicating about Jama to your various stakeholders.

We all know we need to communicate, but communicating about change needs to be thought through.  It’s not enough to post a broad scale notification on the company’s intranet and hope that readers can “right-size” this information and accurately apply it’s meaning to their roles.  Do everyone a solid and think through the various categories of people who need to be brought up to speed and spoon feed them only the information they need to digest.

To do this correctly, this needs to be done in advance – then actually executed. I say this because once the process of rolling the tool out begins, things get muddy and you will forget to notify folks in the way you’d envisioned.  Think about each group of people you’re communicating with.  In my experience there are several groups:  leadership, those creating requirements, stakeholders, etc.  Some of these people will be defined by Jama license type, some will not.  Tell them what they want to know.  For example, how you communicate with your leadership will be different from somebody who will be simply reviewing and chiming in on requirements.  Below is an example of what I’m talking about.

Communication Plan

Audience Responsibilities Interests and Concerns What do they need to know? Communications Methods
Business Analysts
Product Owners
  • Define requirements in Jama
  • Execute user stories
  • Define high quality requirements quickly
  • Understand how best to leverage Jama to capture requirements
  • Obtain high quality requirements to build software
  • Have all of the information needed to build a story available in one place
  • Understand how best to leverage Jama integration to support development process
  • Ensuring stakeholders and dev teams are bought in to the new process – don’t want resistance to change to increase workload (e.g. business not willing to use Review Center, so stories have to be exported for review)
  • Don’t want to have to spend time in additional tools to get context for scope
  • Maintain momentum of use of new process – ensure teams can execute independently following new approach
  • Provide support to help teams navigate through challenging issues
  • Keep community abreast of key technical events (upgrades, enhancements, etc)
  • Improve individuals’ skills to allow them to become coaches themselves to develop competency in their peers – coach the coach
  • Affirm value
  • Team meetings
  • Intranet posts
  • Stand-ups
  • Individual reach outs
  • All hands meetings
Leaders and Management
  • Managing portfolios with multiple projects
  • Planning and funding products and projects
  • Reporting on progress and delivery of their products and projects to the organization
  • Achieving higher ROIs
  • Delivering more business value faster
  • Reducing costs of development and delivery
  • Maintaining team satisfaction
  • Very little time to meet or read e-mails
  • Need high-level, executive style overviews (don’t want all the details)
  • Investment in change is working
  • Products are getting out the door faster
  • Number of released defects are decreasing
  • Rework is decreasing
  • Intranet posts
  • Individual reach outs
  • Emails highlighting ROI improvements
Stakeholders and Requirement Reviewers Review requirements and provide feedback Don’t understand why they need to change how they provide requirement feedback
  • How to work with the new process and tool
  • Affirm value of new process and tool
  • Team meetings
  • Intranet posts
  • Stand-ups
  • Individual reach outs
  • All hands meetings

Another wrinkle of the communications plan is to think through the cultural norms and politics at play in your organization.  Actually think about the order of communications and who needs to know what and when.   Are there influencers you need to hit one on one?  Perhaps there is a member of the team part of the old guard who needs to be spoon fed information.  Don’t fight it – account for it and assure they get the information they need in a way they can digest it.  And don’t forget about external resources – partners and consultants that are helping you bring your products to market.

The last important thing I’d like to share with you about this is to share your wins widely.  Make your improvements and advancements in your process public knowledge!   Even small improvements in your process can have dramatic results over the long haul, so talk it up.  And not just in your team meetings and stand-ups either – be sure leadership is aware their investment is starting to bear fruit.  Not only will this garner goodwill with your management, but it will encourage further adoption and help silence latent naysayers.