How to Implement An Effective IT Change Management Plan

Change is an inevitable part of any business. As a technical manager, you have to anticipate change and ensure your team members maintain their performance when new solutions are implemented. That's why having a change management plan is critical.

A change management plan is like a map that helps your company navigate all aspects of implementing a new change. That could be a change in technology, internal processes, team structure, or all the above. For most IT professionals, having a change management plan is an essential step to successfully implementing the software. Let's explore the steps involved in creating one.

Connecting multiple monitors to multiple operating systems

Chances are that your desktop setup already consists of multiple computers and/or operating systems with multiple displays. Maybe you’re a developer needing to run multiple applications or someone working in the financial industry where having several displays is the norm. 

The problem is that there’s often a practical limit to how many displays your operating system can handle. These resource limitations become evident when using more than 3 monitors, but they can be minimized by distributing your displays across multiple operating systems. For example, rather than trying to run 5 displays on a single computer, you could have two screens connected to your PC workstation, two on your Linux machine, and one to your macOS, or some other similar setup. That would enable you to create sophisticated display setups like in the image below while maintaining high application performance. 

Of course, one of the challenges of having multiple operating systems is that you’ll also have to manage multiple peripherals on your desk. This not only creates desk clutter, but it can also impact your productivity and user experience.

A solution to this problem is to use one keyboard and mouse to control all your devices. The conventional way of doing this is with a KVM switch, which requires special hardware to switch between operating systems. A more cost-effective solution would be to use a software like Synergy instead.

Why you need a change management plan

A change management plan gives your project a clear path to completion. It keeps your team aligned and reduces the likelihood of delays and other roadblocks you might encounter while implementing new changes without a definite plan. As Benjamin Franklin once said, "If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail."

With that in mind, it's worth noting that a change management plan can take on different forms depending on the context. For this article, we'll be looking at change management in the context of IT or technical teams. The stages covered will give you a good starting point, but you can always modify them to fit your situation. 

We'll cover the main components, including goal creation, team selection, plan development, and plan execution. Read on to learn more about these stages in more detail.

1. Set your goals

Every change management plan starts with a clear definition of your project goals. Find out what you hope to accomplish by implementing a new solution. Is it an increase in productivity? More profitability? Or some other metric. We recommend setting a goal that you can measure. If your goal can't be measured, you'll have a hard time determining your solution's success. 

Here's a case study from our personal experience working with many different users to roll out new software. One problem we often see users is having to work through a support ticket cue efficiently. This was the situation that one of our customers in the education industry found themselves in. They wanted to reduce the number of internal support tickets related to switching between multiple computers on their internal workstations. 

The company had initially tried a KVM switch, but this was later replaced with Synergy because it required less technical support to maintain. Synergy allowed their team to switch between multiple computers with only one keyboard, giving the technical support staff time to focus on resolving other issues in the company.

2. Select your team

Once you have your change management goals in place, you'll need to identify the right team to execute your plan. As a technical manager, this means getting buy-in from other leaders in your company and stakeholders on your team. This can include a security engineer, system admin, systems engineer, or someone else who can oversee your plan's implementation from a technical point of view.

So, why is selecting your team important? Let us share insight into a recent project of ours. We once had a customer that wanted to build a unique multi-screen setup consisting of 100 million+ pixels. An implementation of this scale required expert technical knowledge of Synergy's configuration settings. So, the customer put together a team of data scientists and developers to oversee the implementation. This gave them better insight into the technical requirements of the solution. If the wrong team was selected, the final implementation may have not have worked as expected.

3. Develop a plan

With a team and set of goals in place, the next step of the change management plan is developing the actual plan itself. It's good practice to use a task-based approach, so you can quickly identify the activities that need to take place. This can be done using project management software like Asana or Trello. You can use them to track each task, set deadlines for completion, and collaborate with stakeholders.

Let’s see an example of how one of our users planned out their implementation.They were a large education institution that decided to use Synergy following the COVID-19 shutdowns. The company wanted to roll out a learning solution that enabled instructors to control multiple computers simultaneously during online lectures. After identifying their goals and implementation team, they decided to roll out Synergy in stages to see the solution's impact before rolling it out across the entire organization. 

Tasks were created over a month, with regular checkpoints for the team to regroup and discuss the progress. When the initial implementation was complete, the company successfully rolled out Synergy to all of its instructors without any issues. Without this plan, it would have taken the company longer to implement Synergy, which could have resulted in increased costs.

4. Measure your progress

Change management doesn't end once you've implemented your plan. It's an ongoing process. You need to continuously iterate and measure your progress to correct course if things get off track. It's not uncommon for team members to retain some of the same workflows and behaviors they were using before the change. So it's essential to have regular check-ins to reinforce new practices to strengthen employee adoption of change. Provide incentives, offer additional training, and performance reviews until the team has adapted. Did you know that 70 percent of change programs fail to achieve their goals, largely due to employee resistance and lack of management support?

To calculate the ROI of your change management program, you can apply a basic formula to figure out the cost of implementation and compare that against the benefits your company will gain:

ROI = Net Project Benefits/ Project Costs

Where ROI = [(Benefit of Project - Project Costs )/ Project Costs ] * 100

Benefit of Project is the purpose for implementing your new change management solution. This could range from reducing cost of handling technical support requests to making processes more efficient. Project Cost looks at all the direct and indirect costs associated with implementing the change. This could include things such as software subscription costs, licenses, salaries, and business resource allocation coasts. The longer it takes to implement a change, the higher the costs will be. 

From working with different organizations, we've seen teams adapt to Synergy in a matter of hours to a few days. If you enjoyed reading this, you might also be interested in our change management template. Be sure to download it here

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