Though most companies do their strategic and tactical planning towards the year’s end, these plans usually have specific projects that need to be completed for the strategic vision to be realized. Each of these projects need careful consideration and have specific baselined sub-plans that need to be considered before they are rolled out.
When executives think about project plans, they are familiar with scope, schedule and cost. Those three elements are extremely important, but here are three additional elements and plans that should be considered that are often overlooked for most projects.
Organizational Change Management Plan
The most-often-forgotten plan in a project is the organizational change management plan. There are several standards that provide structure to organizational change management including, ADKAR®, CMMI® and PMBOK®. This important project element will identify all of the stakeholders, their roles in the project and the impact the project will have on that stakeholder group. Culture, number of people, internal and external stakeholders, location, organizational structure and regulations are only a few items that need to be considered when preparing the organizational change management plan. Each organization will have a different set of circumstances and standards.
Communication Management Plan
Once the organizational change management plan has been established, the detailed communication plan can be built. Several questions will need to be answered:
- What are all the means of communication for each stakeholder group? For example, is the messaging pushed out or put somewhere for the stakeholders to retrieve when they want it? What is the appropriate method, such as email, SharePoint, social media, screens in breakrooms, posters or other communication channels?
- Are there specific groups or people that need more or less communication?
- When will each group be communicated to and how?
- Who will send out communications? Who will manage the messages? Who needs to approve the messages?
- What are the right messages at each point of the project?
The communication management plan needs to consider the culture of each stakeholder group and how those groups get their information. Too much information too often will not work. Conversely, too little information will not work. This is why the communication management plan needs to be thought out and deliberate.
Like the communication management plan, the training plan will often support the organizational change management plan. The training plan, during the planning phase, will often include the high-level groups of people that need to be trained, the timing for this training and the overall approach. This should be communicated to the organization as soon as possible to ensure stakeholders know they will be trained at the appropriate time.
As the project progresses, the detailed training plan with actual dates, locations, names and other details will be defined. Once this detailed plan is established, share it with those who will be trained. This reduces anxiety as the project progresses for those who are not on the project team but will be impacted by the implementation, helping with the acceptance of the change that is being deployed.
These three plans are critical to the success of any significant project, especially one that has strategic importance. If they are not considered, the likelihood of success is diminished significantly. All of these plans should be reviewed and part of the overall project plan, which is baselined at the beginning of the project.
As with all of the plans, there will be adjustments made as the project progresses. These changes need to be reviewed and accepted by the sponsors and the steering committee that originally approved the plan. Communication and transparency will be key for these and all other project plans.