HR Projects Integrated with Change Management End-to-End Framework: Improve your Odds of Project Success.

Here’s the scenario: Your manager comes to you as the human resources leader to discuss a project that will impact human resources in a transformative way. They need you to execute this critical business change or better known as the “people side of the business” project within the next six months.

As the human resources leader in this rapidly changing and growing business unit, you fully understand the strategic and tactical implications of not completing the project on time. Especially given the enormous amount of exposure and impact this business project will have.

Your community of practice or your Center of Excellence (Human Capital) is unable to provide any artifacts from past projects that will give you a template to help you frame up the project. What can you do to deliver the project given the time constraints successfully?

Does this sound like something you have experienced as a manager or leader of human resources? Chances are yes you have. There are many approaches to delivering projects. The project framework is typically stored in the organization’s process assets vault of information. However, if your organization hasn’t captured and curated the lessons learned or uses an established project methodology, you are then left to your tools and resources to deliver the project deliverables within the defined timeframe.

Having worked in the human resources space using organization change management tools and techniques for many years, I encourage human resources leaders in functional roles to leverage organization change management processes to improve the likelihood of project success.

One such method is to overlay your human resources (people side of the business) project with an organizational change management end-to-end framework. There are many versions of end-to-end organizational change management frameworks and this article is not advocating one over the other.

This article intends to help human resources professionals establish a project framework which is repeatable and robust. Organizational change management approaches, for the most part, are typically linear. However, according to your specific project and business needs, wants, and business reality you may need to skip a step especially with tight project delivery windows. Keeping in mind that you need to deliver value to the project.

HR Projects Integrated with Change Management End-to-End Framework
(Visioning the Case for Change, HR Strategy and Plans, Stakeholder Analysis/Engagement, Organizational Readiness, Communications Strategy/Plans, Training Approach, Sustaining & Reinforcing Outcomes, and People & Business Alignment)

Use the questions in each step of the framework to generate discussion and create realistic solutions based on business needs.

Visioning the Case for Change (Initiation)
1. What is the business case for change and how will this people side of the business project add increased economic value to the organization and shareholders?
2. How do we align critical stakeholders with the project?
3. What will their expectations be as we look to define project deliverables and ultimately success?

HR Strategy and Plans (Planning)
1. How do we operationalize the HR strategy into actionable and realistic plans as we move from phase to phase of the project?
2. How do we determine the required resources for the individual workstreams that need to occur as the project progresses?
3. How do we get a line of sight and assess the resources required (people) for the project?

Stakeholder Analysis and Engagement (Planning)
1. What is the fastest way to identify critical stakeholders that could have an impact on the failure or success of the project outcomes?
2. How best to leverage the RACI matrix (Responsible Accountable, Consulted, Informed) to engage stakeholders?
3. Once we have identified those specific stakeholders, what is the plan to engage them proactively?

Organizational Readiness (Planning)
1. How do we assess organizational readiness? 
2. How do we leverage the adoption plans to work most efficiently for this culture? How can we execute these plans for maximum impact?
3. How best to use the assessed data to drive the strategy and plans for the project?

Communications Strategy/Plan (Execution)
1. What platforms do we use to inform the organization of the projects expected outcomes?
2. Should we use push or pull communications to disseminate information?
3. How many communications channels do we have so that we connect with all members of the organization?

Training to Drive Adoption (Execution)
1. How much training do we think each person impacted by the project deliverables will require?
2. How much time do we have to accomplish the training before we go live?
3. How will the training be delivered? Webinars, hands-on, self-paced, etc.

Sustaining and Reinforcing Outcomes (Monitor/Control)
1. What KPI’s and metrics will we use to measure the effectiveness of the training?
2. Are we documenting the lessons learned for future HR projects and where do we store the data?
3. How do we reinforce the outcomes of the project deliverables so that people continue to leverage their new resources?

People and Business Alignment (Closing)
1. Did the project outcomes (increase organizational/shareholder value) meet or exceed our expectations?
2. Have those impacted by the project outcomes mastered their new competencies? 
3. What reinforcement activities need to occur to ensure we grow these new competencies from an organizational perspective?

The approach above is a robust framework by which you can expand or narrow down to fit your human resources project business needs. You also notice there are five process areas identified in each step of the end-to-end framework (initiation, planning, execution, monitor/control, and closing).

These five process areas come from project management and are the steps by which projects are completed. Why understand these process areas? Because, project management and organizational change management are interdependent and interconnected from the start to finish of a project, which increases project success through continuous alignment.

As business partners, human resources leaders must continually provide value in the services and contributions they make to their organizations regarding processes, systems, and people that drive organizational value.

I know from first-hand experiences that human resources, organization change management, and organization development projects can come at you quickly with tight timelines. This end-to-end framework from organizational change management is yet another tool human resources professionals can leverage in their organizations to optimize results, increase organizational effectiveness, and improve performance.