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Change Governance and Measurement of Change

Posted 12 August 2021
by Caroline Mills

Why is change governance important?

Excellent Change Governance ensures that we are focusing on getting maximum value from any change initiatives we are undertaking and managing our people risk.

Governance generally answers four key questions:

  • Are we doing the right things? 
  • Are we doing them the right way? 
  • Are we getting them done well? 
  • Are we getting the benefits?

What are the benefits of having change governance during change initiatives?

The key benefits of establishing change governance are:

  • Providing a structured approach to reaching agreement across key decision-makers on the direction and progress of the change initiative. 
  • Ensuring key decision-makers focus on the right issues and make decisions quickly based on a good understanding of the intended change outcomes.   
  • Creating an escalation point for the Change team to resolve challenging issues.
  • Creating strong ownership for the change initiative across the impacted business units (by involving them in the governance and having them own readiness criteria)

Do I need change governance if project governance already exists?

I find change governance is not something that we talk about a lot in change circles. I think firstly, you need to need to make sure your broader planning and approach are right, else you might govern the wrong things. Second, you need to make sure you have done all your base work around things like your change impact assessments and change planning etc. 

If we assume then that work is underway and you are clear on the why, what and starting to get clear on the how of change, now turn your attention to governance.

I still experience when we consult with clients a typical scenario where there is project governance, and yes, a component of that is change, but elements are missing. Project governance can often be focused on things like scope, time and delivery. What’s often missing for me is discussing the people transition (where your change is up to and how that’s going) and the people readiness or change readiness. 

Can you just establish your own change governance forum? 

When I am either leading a change or advising an organisation on change, particularly if it is a bigger change, I recommend establishing a change governance forum.

Often, I’m putting something in place that’s focused on change readiness and implementation readiness. If you get the right people in the room, these forums can create a sense of ownership in the business for the change. 

So, if you’ve got the business owners, people that are adopting and accepting the change in those governance forums, then you’re getting a stronger sense of accountability around that change initiative. That’s also helpful if you have to make decisions around change, things like design or even items like how we’re delivering the change, when, what order, really thinking about implementation and change readiness. 

Is the change sponsor part of change governance?

The Change Sponsor is key in your change governance. Often they will be chairing the meeting, working with the change team to decide on the participants. We all know the data that good Change Sponsorship is CRITICAL to successful change implementation, so really, you cannot go past go without good executive sponsorship. 

What might be discussed in change governance meetings?

It totally depends on how you set them up, they might be more formal like Steering Committees, or they might be Implementation/Change Readiness focused, but some of the things that might be discussed are:

  • The change initiative progress to ensure the achievement of change project outcomes. 
  • Ensure that mitigation strategies to address potential risks/threats to the change success have been identified and that the risks are regularly re-assessed. 
  • Ensure change project issues are identified and resolved, removing obstacles and breaking down organisational barriers. 
  • Be the escalation point for decisions and issues from the change management team. 
  • Change readiness measurement and results
  • Agreement and tracking of change & implementation readiness criteria (a focus that is much more around are the users ready, are the support teams ready, as opposed to just are the “widgets” built)

It sounds to be quite a dry topic, but I can speak confidently from years of experience that it can make a world of difference to your change and to ownership of change across the business.

Reach out to me if you want me to talk you through this in a bit more detail.

Allegra Consulting acknowledges and pays respect to the past, present and future Traditional Custodians and Elders of this nation and the continuation of cultural, spiritual and educational practices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.