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3 essential positions on your project team

(Project Management) Permanent link

Cracker Jack baseball card

You expect to see 9 players on the field at a professional baseball game, right? But what if you go to a game and your team’s catcher, first baseman, and shortstop aren’t there?

What if the manager decided instead to use some of the front-office guys in those positions? He figures they’re already on the payroll, they’re smart, and they’re hard workers. How well do you think that will work?

Everyone knows the types of players and skills required for a successful baseball team, but many association executives and IT professionals don’t know the types of players needed for a project team. Too often, association staffers are asked to take on project roles for which they’re not at all qualified, yet they’re expected to perform as if they were.

When associations decide to select and implement a new system, 3 roles on the project team must be filled by qualified professionals:

  • Business analyst
  • System analyst
  • Project manager

 

Here’s a breakdown on each of those roles.

 

Business Analyst

The business analyst (BA) helps staff define, analyze, prioritize, and document functional requirements for the new system. She has a proven process for guiding organizations through the requirements phase of a project. She knows which questions to ask to reveal issues and needs, and can safely ask those sometimes difficult questions.

Having come to an understanding of the association’s business goals, business rules, and desired features, the business analyst develops user stories and functional requirements for the new system. She conveys to the system analyst and solution provider what the system has to do to deliver value to the end-users and other stakeholders. Ultimately, she is accountable for the solution meeting business requirements and, therefore, the association’s expectations.

 

System Analyst

The system analyst (SA) writes specifications for the solution based on the business requirements developed by the business analyst. These specs include the configuration of the system, and the configuration results necessary to meet system requirements and goals. Often, the same person serves as both the business analyst and system analyst. However, it is important to understand the difference between the two roles or steps in the process:

  • First, the business requirements and rules (BA)
  • Then, translating them into what the system needs to do to meet those requirements (SA)

 

Project Manager

The project manager is in charge of managing the project, including its schedule, costs, and resources. He sets up the project charter, outlines the scope of the project, and is in charge of communication about the project. He is responsible for defining the roles and responsibilities of those on the project team, and monitoring any risks that may impact the project’s budget, schedule, and ultimate success.

 

Minor league players can cause major league consequences.

Why is it so important that qualified professionals be in these roles, rather than staff trying to learn on the job? When a project goes haywire, we can usually trace the cause back to one of these roles being poorly done or going unfilled.

For example, if you don’t have a qualified business analyst on the project team, you can end up with insufficiently developed requirements and, therefore, a final product that may not solve your business problems.

Or, you may end up with a weak contract. We’re sometimes called in after the fact because a vendor isn’t delivering what the association expected. We often find a contract containing nebulous terms about the prototype, deliverables, and/or client approval process.

These 3 roles—business analyst, system analyst, and project manager—are all easily outsourced, yet many organizations don’t budget for them. If you have a hard time selling this concept to your leadership, try the realtor analogy.

A good realtor will tell you to spend only 80% of your housing budget so you can reserve 20% of your funds for other costs related to a new home purchase, like moving, repair, and furniture expenses. Projects need a similar resource buffer to cover business analysis, system analysis, and project management.

Flickr photo by murphman61

Thoughts on the ASAE Technology Conference Pathways

(Community, Events) Permanent link

Later this week the call for proposals for the ASAE Technology Conference (aka #tech15) are due. It’s a good time to review why the conference’s 4 educational pathways are appropriate themes for the association community to discuss.

Tech14 CIO Session

Leadership and Strategy

Here’s the Leadership and Strategy pathway description from the conference website:

Specifically designed for the c-suite executive, this pathway will focus on high level learning such as how to build a top-notch staff, talent management, c-suite communication, trends, etc.

The 4 pathways reflect the shift made by IT departments in the last several years as well as new issues they must address. In the past, IT was a service department that answered the calls of staff when a new report or printer repair was needed. IT’s place in the org chart, as part of overhead, was often underneath Finance or Administration.

Now, IT is a business unit whose leader is most likely to report directly to the CEO. IT employees are in-house technology advisors who help other departments address challenges and accomplish goals. They understand their organization’s membership value proposition and help their colleagues use technology to deliver, enhance, and measure that value proposition.

In the past, IT might get a copy of the board-approved strategic plan and learn how they were expected to support it. Now, they’re involved in influencing strategy, developing the plan, and offering ideas on how technology can further their association’s strategic objectives.

If your organization lacks the resources to hire a full-time IT professional for this critical role, don’t despair. Many of us in the association community provide that type of consulting, and a handful of us provide virtual CIO services as well. Even the smallest staff association can benefit from having IT Leadership and Strategy talent on its team.

The Business of IT

Topics can address risk management, security, privacy, intellectual properties, security for members, litigations, and ‘things your board needs to know.’

IT leaders have a more strategic focus nowadays, but they still must dedicate time to managing staff, deploying projects, and “putting out fires.” They must also deal with the repercussions and liabilities that are inherent in using technology.

In this pathway, ASAE has identified several challenges that associations must address to prevent worst case scenarios. These issues often slip off the radar and don’t make it into leadership conversations as they should.

Kudos to ASAE’s Technology Council for raising the visibility of these issues and starting a conversation at Tech 15 that you can take back to your office. You will find vendors on Tech 15’s Expo floor that provide services, such as security assessment or digital asset management, that can help you minimize the risk these new threats present.

The New IT

How does IT get deployed in an organization? What does the Co-IT look like? What is the face of leadership in the new IT? What is trending in digital ecosystems?

Associations are investing an increasing proportion of their budget in technology solutions and, understandably, have high expectations for that investment. To deploy these solutions successfully, you must have people on the project team with the appropriate, specialized skills: business analysis, system analysis, and project management. Yet, too often, organizations expect staff to develop requirements, select systems, and manage the entire project without the benefit of these skills.

Because everyone is used to figuring out how to use new apps in their personal lives, many organizations fail to provide the necessary training for IT and non-IT staff to effectively use the technology at work. For example, staff usually receives training on a new system prior to implementation, but too often that’s where training ends. Additional training isn’t included in future budgets so staff never learns how to take full advantage of the technology.

Marketing and communication (MarComm) professionals find themselves in constant catch-up mode, as new social, mobile, and web tools come onto the market. Do they understand the capabilities of MarComm technology so they can decide which type of system will help them accomplish their goals?

MarComm and Technology

How do marketing, communications and technology blend to develop and distribute a true digital experience? What factors contribute to a successful collaboration?

MarComm is quickly becoming the department most reliant on technology to do its job. Email marketing, social media, marketing automation, content management, and web analytics are just some of the tools used by MarComm association professionals every day.

The IT and MarComm departments are business partners – and that’s why association MarComm professionals should participate in this conference and the high-level conversations that will take place at it.

IT staff must understand the technology needed by MarComm staff now and in the future. For example, IT staff should become familiar with inbound marketing tools: how these tools can help their association achieve its goals and which tools will integrate best with their organization’s existing systems. As for MarComm staff, they must understand the security and privacy issues that surround the use of SaaS products and mobile devices, and be a true partner with IT in minimizing those risks.

Contribute to the conversation

The ASAE Technology Conference provides the opportunity for the executive, IT, and MarComm departments to have strategic conversations about the role of technology in fulfilling their association’s mission. If you want to help drive that conversation, consider submitting a session proposal before COB Friday!

Photo: @TechConf

Editor’s note: The author is a former chair of the ASAE Technology Council.

Reframe Your Approach to Change Management: Community Theater

(Project Management) Permanent link

man posing as stone mask  

Change has the potential to create office drama, and, along with it, a whole range of emotions: anger, loss, angst, stress, relief, joy. You can minimize the drama by preparing for change management challenges.

I had a fascinating conversation with René Shonerd, Managing Director of Technology Initiatives at the American Industrial Hygiene Association, about her approach to change management. She uses a four-frame model based on Reframing Organizations by Lee Bolman and Terrence Deal.

These 4 frames of change management are lenses through which we can understand, prepare for, and respond to resistance to change. So far, we’ve discussed 3 of the frames:

  1. The Structural frame is useful for dealing with changes that affect the infrastructure or framework of your organization, such as policies, processes, procedures, and job positions or descriptions.
  2. The Human frame deals with the effects of change on people and takes into consideration their perceptions, emotions, and behavior.
  3. The Political frame approaches the organization as a jungle, a place where conflict, concerns, and power grabs (or losses) are worked out with rules, referees, and spectators.

This fourth and final post in the series will discuss how René uses the Symbolic frame. This frame views the organization as a theater – in the classical Greek sense with its rituals and traditions, and catharsis and celebration.

For some people, change is perceived as a personal tragedy. They may have a hard time letting the ways of the past go. When a new system or process is introduced, they may no longer be the go-to person. René recommends honoring, not dismissing, their feelings of loss, and taking steps to make them still feel important and valued by others.

Honor thy traditions.

Before introducing change, think about any formal or informal traditions (or rituals) attached to the old system or process. Were there traditions such as regular meetings, reports, or presentations that were meaningful to people? Were any informal roles attached to the old system or process? Or to those traditions? Is someone’s institutional knowledge no longer needed?

Be aware of the feelings of those who might feel as if their skills and knowledge are no longer valued. For example, in the past everyone might have gone to the membership department’s program assistant to ask her to pull reports from the old database, but now everyone can easily produce the reports they need themselves. Honor the assistant’s knowledge by including her in requirements gathering meetings and asking her to help test the new system, particularly the reports. Don’t shut her out.

Pay attention to language. Project teams often use jargon that others don’t understand. That language becomes a wall between project champions and those on staff who are at-risk for becoming project naysayers.

Throw a cast party.

René says it’s important to create rituals to mark the transition to the new system and the new opportunities it brings the organization. She organized a retirement party to honor an old AMS and, by extension, all those who worked with it. If you sense people are having a hard time letting go, don’t disparage the old system, acknowledge that it served your past needs well, and that now’s the time to adopt a system that will serve the organization and its members well into the future.

Organize an all-staff champagne toast to celebrate the launch of a new system – another idea from René. The underlying message for these visible rituals is: change is here, it’s happening, and it’s time for you to join us and get on board.

Use the 4 frames to reframe.

Try on each of these 4 frames or perspectives when planning your next project and as you progress through the project timeline. Using these 4 frames, you can better understand the needs of the organization and individual staff as well as the structural, social, cultural, and psychological barriers to change.

Flickr photo by Nano Anderson

April 2015 Blogger’s Digest, Food Drive Kickoff, & Upcoming Events

(Everything Else) Permanent link

Together we can solve hunger

Tomorrow, we launch our 13th Annual .org Community Food Drive for the Capital Area Food Bank, because we believe in strengthening our community. The food bank serves the entire Metro DC Region, distributing 42 million pounds of food annually to more than ½ million of our neighbors in need. It’s not too late for your organization to join as a participating team. Every dollar provides 2.5 meals, and every donation is appreciated. Our goal is to raise $20,000 – the equivalent of 50,000 meals. Please donate today to support this vital community organization! For more information on DelCor’s commitment to ending hunger in our community, read our blog post, Neighbor helping neighbor (April 23, 2015).

Blogger’s Digest: April 2015

Upcoming Events

Elsewhere

  • Data security is a hot topic these days among companies large and small – and with association executives, too. Associations Now associate editor Katie Bascuas asked Chris Ecker about the give-and-take of IT security in Talking Tech: Balancing Act (April 1, 2015).

How to prepare your association for a move to the cloud – the not-so-technical edition

(Cloud Computing, Infrastructure, Security) Permanent link

enlightenment

Moving your network and data to the cloud is more than an IT project. Like any technology system implementation that affects other departments, a transition to cloud hosting – whether it’s to Amazon Web Services, DelCor Cloud Connection, or moving membership data to a SaaS system – is essentially a change management project.

Before beginning your association’s migration to the cloud, think about the transition from a non-IT staff perspective. Start by recalling their adoption of new systems and business processes in the past. To what degree do they readily accept change or resist change? During these times of change do you hear the buzz of positive anticipation or a chorus of gripes and grumblings?

To successfully implement new technology and manage change, leadership support, empathy, and education are crucial.

Encourage senior staff to be champions of change.

When new work policies and procedures are presented to staff, they’re going to look to senior staff to see if they’re setting the example. They’re not going to start using a new collaboration tool if their department head still does things the old way “just this once.”

Manage change with kindness.

Control is a hot button. People don’t always have a sense of control in their lives at work, even though they strongly desire it. When they’re used to doing things a certain way, that process may be one of the few areas where they do feel like that have some control. And now you’re going to take that away from them – so tread carefully (tread with care).

Losing that control is a legitimate concern – one that has real-life implications. For example, staff may have to adjust to a new user experience when they have to access the AMS using Microsoft RemoteApp. Or, the Exchange admin may no longer be able to view log files because you no longer have a server on site. Is that going to be a problem?

Don’t just pop something new on staff without preparing them for it. You may understand all the reasons why cloud hosting is right for your organization and worth any temporary inconvenience, but they may not.

Explain what’s going on and why.

Prepare and educate staff on any changes in work routines and processes that will affect them. They won’t necessarily notice a difference on their desktop, but they need to be aware of the new work environment and responsibilities that the cloud brings.

Before migrating to the cloud, enlighten staff. The word “enlighten” lends itself to more of a peer-to-peer collaborative mindset than “training,” which has more of a “command-and-control” character, so think of it that way.

Help staff understand what the cloud really is. Don’t assume they know how it works. The word “cloud” is tossed around so much these days, but every organization uses the cloud in a different way. Explain to staff how your cloud will work – what’s being hosted and where.

Make sure your explanations – in staff meetings, individual sessions, and/or FAQs – cover the following:

  • Why the association is moving to the cloud.
  • The value and the potential impact of the cloud environment for the association, staff, and, ultimately, its members.
  • How each person (individuals, job types, and departments) will be impacted by the move to the cloud.

Help staff understand their new responsibilities.

The cloud can unchain staff from their cubicles and offices and give them the freedom to be productive no matter where they’re located – and they know it. However, with great freedom comes great responsibility – and they may not know that.

First and foremost, a move to the cloud requires education about data and network security. Staff must understand:

  • How to protect data and passwords in their care.
  • What can and can’t be shared in the cloud.
  • What to do if data is mistakenly shared.

A transition to cloud hosting is an opportunity to help staff understand the constant vigilance required these days to secure data and networks, and their role in IT security.

Before you “go live,” not after, is the time to discuss:

  • New software, apps, or platforms that staff will now be able to use.
  • Proposed streamlining or standardization of business processes.
  • Changes to IT policies, like mobile device and file-sharing policies.

Make sure staff understands the reasoning behind any changes and the positive, personal impact of those changes.

Consider the implications of freedom and flexibility – good and bad.

The cloud gives employees the tools they need to be productive while also providing IT departments the security and control they require. Staff is most likely ready for this new freedom and flexibility, but is your association? Do your policies align with this new mobile culture? More importantly, is your workplace culture ready? And to what extent do you want staff to work from home?

Be ready to manage expectations about telecommuting. Although telecommuting can enhance productivity for some employees, it will also change the work experience and workplace culture for everyone – those who work at home and those who work in the office. Again, tread with care.

The freedom and flexibility of “life in the cloud” create real opportunities to increase efficiency.

For example, DelCor has 2 clients that, until very recently, would take their AMS database offline, export it onto a laptop or loaner server, drag it to their conventions, process registrations and other conference activities, then come back to HQ and bring the whole thing back online – a painful process any way you look at it.

After moving to DelCor Cloud Connection, these organizations experienced a brand new (and possibly scary, at first) way of doing things. With their AMS in the cloud, there were no databases to “pack” – they simply arrived on location and connected to remote desktop with full access to their production database.

It may be taken for granted – or not – but cloud-enabling their existing AMS, giving staff a familiar user interface, and providing the ability to access it in real time from anywhere in the world is powerful. And it makes for smoother pre-, during, and post-conference computing.

Maintain control by becoming a technology advisor.

Association staff are used to selecting cloud-based apps to use in their personal lives. Many of them may also be using cloud-based apps at work. In the past, the IT department was the only gateway to new technology; now employees are experienced consumers of technology and may (un)intentionally leave IT out of the loop when looking for technology solutions.

This new scenario requires a shift in focus by IT professionals. Because the maintenance and management of association systems and network infrastructure are now outsourced, the IT department must focus on their new, more strategic role. They’re the in-house technology advisors who can help staff find and implement new technology solutions. However, the IT team won’t even be aware of opportunities where they can assist – unless staff knows they’re ready to help, and seeks their help.

 

Flickr photo by Marcelo Quinan

How to Reframe Your Approach to Change Management: Welcome to the Jungle

(Project Management) Permanent link

Domo of the jungle

When the topic of home page real estate comes up, 4 out of 5 association professionals are likely to let out a groan. I've heard their stories of sitting in meetings where decisions about home page content are made based on power politics – whoever has the most departmental clout gets the primo real estate.

But this doesn't happen if René Shonerd is on your team

As the Managing Director of Technology Initiatives at the American Industrial Hygiene Association, René has a proven approach to dealing with change management challenges, including website squabbles. She uses a 4-frame model first introduced in Reframing Organizations by Lee Bolman and Terrence Deal.

With the first of the 4 frames, the Structural frame, you look at how change brought on by new technology affects the infrastructure or framework of your organization. Which policies, processes, procedures, job positions or descriptions are affected by the change?

The second frame, the Human frame, views the organization through a more human (or humane) lens that focuses on people – their perceptions, emotions, and behavior.

The third frame, the Political frame, views the organization as a jungle. Does that sound about right from your experience?

If you don't have a change management plan in place, alongside change comes conflict. In the minds of many, change results in winners and losers. Some on staff will feel disempowered. Some will use the occasion to make power grabs. There's one thing you can count on: pushback.

Keep on talking – and listening

"Much of this drama can be avoided if you build two-way communication into your project management plan," said René. She warns, however, that "if your communication with staff is one-way only and staff has no opportunity for input, you miss the opportunity to build trust and buy-in with those who will be affected by the change."

René recommends creating arenas for conflict – opportunities for concerns and issues to be worked out in a healthy fashion with rules, referees, and spectators. She used this approach when leading a website redesign project. She heard the "my content needs to be on the home page" argument too, but she had a plan.

The players make the rules

Working with the vendor, René decided to do the card-sort exercise not only with the project team but with senior staff as well so they could have input into the primary navigation and home page elements. She gathered all the "powers that be" together for a facilitated exercise about strategic priorities for the site. Once the strategic priorities were tied to organizational goals, it took the politics out of the discussion. She let them sort the cards and come to the appropriate decisions themselves. Everyone had the opportunity to be heard, but now they all understood how navigation was designed and why specific types of content were given priority on the homepage.

Clever, isn't it? The outcome is a website that serves the goals of the association instead of being a political pawn.

Flickr photo by Richard Elzey  

Neighbor helping neighbor

(Community, Events) Permanent link

Last night, the DelCor crew made the short trip over to Shepherd's Table, where we served 141 members of our community a delicious dinner of cheesesteaks, onion rings, mixed veggies, salad, and desserts. It was our 4th time doing so, and probably one of our quietest nights of service; the guests were all so busy enjoying this special dinner that they weren't very chatty!

Shepherd's Table is a partner agency of the Capital Area Food Bank, of which we are also a long-time supporter. In fact, we're about to kick off our 13th Annual .org Community Food Drive for CAFB, which will help the food bank distribute much-needed nourishment throughout our entire region through its 500 or so partner agencies, including our neighbor, Shepherd's Table.

 

Please *click here* to join our food drive & help the food bank fulfill its mission to our community!

 

Need to know more before you commit? No problem!

  • The DelCor-sponsored food drive raises much-needed funds that go directly to our local food bank.
    • To date, the .org Community Food Drive, sponsored by DelCor, has provided more than 280,000 meals.
    • 92¢ of every dollar is used for food programs, distribution, and transportation – all of which are critical to the "frontline" work that CAFB and its 500 partner agencies do on a daily basis. It is truly neighbor helping neighbor.
     
  • How many children in our region are food-insecure?
    • Nearly 1/3 of children in D.C.
    • Nearly 1/5 of children in Maryland
    • 55,000 children in Northern Virginia
     
  • CAFB served more than ½ million people last year. And the need is actually greater than their capacity, and growing – not shrinking – despite "economic recovery."
    • Last year, the food bank distributed 42 million pounds of food – equivalent to 35 million meals.
     
  • What areas does CAFB serve?
    • Washington, D.C.
    • Montgomery County, MD
    • Prince George's County, MD
    • Fairfax County, VA
    • Prince William County, VA
    • Arlington County, VA
    • City of Alexandria, VA
     
  • 21,000 volunteers support the work of the food bank each year, representing a $2.6 million savings in staffing costs.
    • This year, DelCor will sponsor our 3rd Annual Volunteer Night @ CAFB (date TBD), in conjunction with this food drive.
     
  • What is food insecurity?

Limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods, or limited or uncertain ability to acquire acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways.

 

What can YOU do?

Those are the facts – and there are many more – but there is something more than "fact" that I hope compels you to join our drive. It's the Power of (A)yes, the Power of Associations – to join together to better our community.

If your organization is headquartered anywhere in the Metro DC Region, the truth is that the food bank serves you, your family, your neighbors, your staff, your clients, your members – because we are each part of the fabric of our community.

Please, do something good today to strengthen the fabric of your community: join the 13th Annual .org Community Food Drive! Together, we can solve hunger – and demonstrate the Power of (A).

 

Details, details

Our food drive begins Friday, May 1, and runs through Thursday, May 21. Any association, nonprofit, or charitable organization may take part, as well as any vendor, company, or supplier supporting the association/nonprofit community. Participating organizations agree to promote the food drive to their staff and/or members, with guidance from DelCor. Any individual, organization, or company may donate directly to the food drive when it launches on May 1.

Not in the D.C. region? Support your local food bank! Find it here.

How to Reframe Your Approach to Change Management: We Are Family

(Project Management) Permanent link

normal family

When implementing new technology, it’s rarely the new system itself that’s the challenge for project managers and IT staff. Rather, it’s your colleagues – the people who must work with the new system. People don’t like change.

René Shonerd, Managing Director of Technology Initiatives at the American Industrial Hygiene Association, found a way to understand, prepare for, and respond to staff resistance to change. She uses a 4-frame model developed by Lee Bolman and Terrence Deal, authors of Reframing Organizations.

In my last post, I described how René uses the first of the 4 frames, the Structural frame, to understand how a new project affects the infrastructure or framework of an organization.

Change creates ambiguity and distrust

The second frame, the Human frame, views the organization as an extended family. With this change management lens, you focus on people – their perceptions, emotions, and behavior. With the introduction of new technology and the resulting structural changes in policies, processes, and procedures, people aren’t quite sure yet what is expected of them or what to expect from others.

In the face of this change, people believe their “old” knowledge and skills are being devalued. They don’t yet have the skills required for their new role or for new processes, and many don’t have the desire to acquire them. Their confidence and ego are shaken. As a result, they resist change, hoping others will see that the old way is the best way.

Provide comfort in the hopes of joy

In these scenarios, project managers and IT staff must provide support, or arrange for it to be provided. People need to feel heard. They need to feel secure in their status. You might have to act as a counselor, listening to them and helping them work through the anxiety they’re feeling.

“Counselor” isn’t a role most IT professionals are used to, but this support must be provided. René said, “If you’re not the best person to provide support, ask for the help of someone who can, perhaps human resources staff or a project champion on staff who has the aptitude for this type of role.”

A story from the association front line

A benefit of new technology is that it often frees up staff time to focus on more mission-critical work. But this change can be alarming to staff whose jobs are affected by that implementation. After a shift to e-commerce at René’s former association, the number of orders placed by phone and mail decreased, and along with it the need for data entry by call center staff.

“As we were moving to online ordering, the president set a goal to increase membership,” said René. “We worked with HR to draft new position descriptions for 2 of the call center staff because we shifted their focus from entering orders to entering membership prospect data. The way we handled this transition helped the call center staff deal with change because they knew their jobs weren’t going away.”

René warns that staff who are experts on an old system or process may feel anxious about learning a new system or process because they’ll no longer be perceived as the expert. She recommends including them in demonstrations, user acceptance testing, and formal training so they regain confidence and become more invested in the new system.

The Human frame helps you turn what could be a threatening and stressful time of change for your fellow staff into a more humane experience that will help them ease into transition with their dignity and ego intact.

Flickr photo by DaveBleasdale

Reframe Your Approach to Change Management: Welcome to the Machine

(Project Management) Permanent link

Change management is no longer the exclusive specialty of consultants. To help their organizations implement and master new technology, IT professionals must also become proficient with change management.

René Shonerd, Managing Director of Technology Initiatives at the American Industrial Hygiene Association, is an IT professional who understands change management. She recently told me about a session she co-led at the 2014 ASAE Technology Conference titled “Leading Change in IT.” She said that change management is a part of project management that is often overlooked by both the IT and executive staff.

She’s been using a 4-frame model to deal with change management challenges. The model, from the book Reframing Organizations by Lee Bolman and Terrence Deal, has helped her address and reduce any resistance to change brought about by the implementation of new technology and to ensure that technology project goals are realized.

In their book, Bolman and Deal use a metaphor to describe each of the 4 frames. The first frame, the Structural frame, views the organization as a machine. With this structural lens, you look at how a new project affects the machinery of your organization – its infrastructure or framework. Will the new technology require changes in policies, processes, procedures, job positions/descriptions, or training?

If you don’t consider the project’s impact on your organization’s structure and prepare staff for any necessary changes, an ugly disconnect will reveal itself. Old policies and procedures may no longer make sense given the new technology. A sense of confusion and chaos settles in for staff whose jobs are affected. Your once well-oiled machine begins to break down.

That Change Management ’70s Show

Change management isn’t a 21st century phenomenon. René told me a story about her father-in-law’s employer, a large technology company, in the 1970s. Back then his office’s standard mode of communication was well-written and edited interoffice memos. To improve communication between different locations, the company introduced a pre-email electronic communication system.

The new technology was a game-changer. No longer did managers have to rely on support staff to type, proof, and mail correspondence. Instead they could communicate directly, person-to-person, with their colleagues. Entry- and mid-level management adopted the new system. However, senior management resisted because they couldn’t (or wouldn’t) type. They continued using support staff to send out and receive correspondence in the traditional way.

Sensing trouble ahead, the project manager asked the CEO to use the new system to make a request of senior staff. Although initially resistant, the CEO sent the message and set a deadline to reply. When senior staff missed the deadline because they never read the original message, the CEO made his frustration known. Finally, senior staff got on board and learned to type so they could use the new system.

Modern Day Change Management

Before introducing new technology, consider the skills that staff will need to learn. For example, even the chief lobbyist will need to learn how to look up a phone number in the AMS or pull a list to send an email to a group of CEOs.

Recently, René was involved in drafting a new IT vision and strategy that would make it possible for staff to work remotely. However, the association’s policy didn’t allow staff to do that. Her team worked with HR staff to put a new telework policy in place that defined who could work remotely.

René said, “Without this change in policy, any system needed for telework, no matter how well the project was managed or executed, would have been dead on arrival.”

Next we’ll look at how René used the Human frame, which views the organization as a family, to ease the anxiety and stress that can spread through an organization at times of change.

DelCor Awarded Workplace Excellence Seal of Approval

(Our Company) Permanent link

Association/nonprofit-focused IT consulting firm recognized as model workplace

AWE Workplace Excellence Award 2015

The Alliance for Workplace Excellence honored DelCor Technology Solutions yesterday with a Workplace Excellence Seal of Approval. DelCor is one of 51 companies to receive the award for their exemplary commitment to building excellent places to work in Montgomery County and through the United States. The Alliance also recognized 10 additional winners in other categories.

“It is our vision to be a model partner for our clients and a model workplace for our staff,” said founder and CEO Loretta Monterastelli DeLuca. “This award is wonderful recognition of our commitment to that vision.”

All award recipients undergo a rigorous assessment process led by an independent review panel. They recognized DelCor for its commitment to staff, including company-paid professional development and memberships, liberal telework programs, and ergonomic office products such as lift desks and treadmill desks. As well, DelCor was applauded for its commitment to Montgomery County and the surrounding communities, including the company’s membership in Community Profits Montgomery, 30 Acts of Appreciation, and annual sponsorship of the .org Community Food Drive for the Capital Area Food Bank.

The Alliance for Workplace Excellence will celebrate all of the winners at an annual awards luncheon on May 21 in Bethesda, MD.  The awards luncheon, focused on “The Future of Workplace Excellence,” will feature a keynote address by Michele Norris, President of Navigen Leadership, LLC, and will be hosted by award-winning journalist Leon Harris, from ABC7/WJLA-TV. For event information, visit www.excellentworkplace.org/events.html.

About DelCor

DelCor Technology Solutions, Inc., is an independent technology consulting firm headquartered in Silver Spring, Maryland, with seven areas of service designed especially for associations and nonprofits. Since its founding in 1984, DelCor has helped hundreds of organizations nationwide achieve progress through technology, with a focus on IT Maturity.

About AWE

The Alliance for Workplace Excellence (AWE) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization founded in 1999 by Montgomery County, MD, and Discovery Communications.  Over the past 16 years, AWE has been dedicated to empowering employers to build excellence in the workplace as a means of supporting the quality of life for employees, their families, and the community at-large.  AWE is dedicated to increasing the number of excellent workplaces within the business community through education and recognition, as a means to enhance the quality of life of its citizens and empower economic growth. For more information, visit www.excellentworkplace.org.