Your team has just completed weeks of grueling process mapping sessions. You've identified current state pain points and know exactly how these will be fixed in the future state. All the documentation is complete and signed off on. You've even got a plan in place for when each future state process adjustment will be implemented. The team is feeling pretty good about itself, and there are congratulations all around on a job well done. Because now you're done…right?

Not quite.

The establishment of efficient new processes and cutting edge technologies does not happen in a vacuum. Real people have to interact with the results; they have to break old habits and start something new; and they have to buy into the same logic the team used when creating these changes. The effort required to ensure user adoption is a tall order—even for changes that are a net positive for employees. A structured, well-defined Organizational Change Management (OCM) strategy is absolutely critical to the long term success of new processes. Thus, OCM and process engineering cannot happen in separate silos—rather, they have to work in tandem as equal partners.

An old colleague of mine, a Six Sigma Black Belt with more than 20 years of change management experience, was very passionate about his work and used to delight in saying, "I've got job security because everything's a process and it always changes." Indeed, process and change have a symbiotic relationship—each relies on the other. And while they follow separate methodologies, they overlap at a critical juncture.

Consider the image below that depicts key steps in both:

The following table provides more detail on the interaction between process and change.

Vision Definition

Change Definition

  • Once the current state analysis is complete, the team should have a pretty good idea of what needs to be solved and how the organization's process(es) should evolve.
  • The Process Engineer works with the core team to define a vision—an aspirational goal for the process that is simple to convey, yet powerful.

  • OCM kicks off with aligning the team on exactly what the change is.
  • Often, the OCM lead is actively involved in establishing the process vision, along with the rationale for what makes this change essential right now.

Future State Modeling

Impact & Readiness

  • The Process Engineer uses the current state analysis, along with the team's vision, to begin modeling a potential future state.
  • This typically includes an analysis of the gaps between the current state and proposed future state.

  • OCM uses all available documentation—process maps, gap assessments, etc.—to determine who will be impacted and how much by this change.
  • Further, the OCM lead will also assess the organization's ability to accept the change.
  • This provides a view into the overall level of OCM effort needed to make the change successful.

Roadmap Development

Communication & Training

  • With the future state agreed to the team then establishes the approach, timeline, and tactics for how the changes will be introduced.
  • While the Process Engineer may still be engaged beyond this point to monitor performance, the bulk of their work is complete.

  • The OCM lead uses the roadmap developed by the process team as a guide for when communication and training materials need to be ready.
  • Communication and training events will be coordinated with the milestones outlined on the roadmap.

You may have created the best process in the world—it doesn't matter if you don't have the buy-in and acceptance from your stakeholders and end users. You may have the best change management strategy in the world—it doesn't matter if the OCM lead really doesn't understand the process. Embedding OCM with process engineering makes each workstream stronger and ultimately reduces the timeline required for making the change part of business as usual. And that's important because people don't change just because it's the right thing to do—they change because they have to.