5 Things CIO Needs to Know About Agile Change Management

5 Things the CIO Needs to Know About Overseeing Agile Change Management

September 21, 2015

Is change really that important? John F. Kennedy said, "Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future." George Bernard Shaw also had some important comments on the importance of change, "Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything."

Being a "Chief Information Officer" in the "Age of Information" is no trivial feat. Change isn't just something that happens sometimes. Change is essential, continual, and requires a driving force to keep it progressing in the right direction. Here are some important things that the CIO needs to remember when managing the inevitable change in their organization.

Sometimes change originates from within the company and there is ample time to plan and respond. Other times, change is initiated from outside, such as changes in laws or regulations, and the organization has to be agile enough to change quickly without time to prepare and plan.

1. Understand What's Driving the Change

Not all change is created equal. Sometimes change is forced on the organization from external sources (such as an economic tumble or a merger). Sometimes it's internal (directives from the shareholders or CEO). Change can also be driven by technical advancements, such as the influx of BYOD devices or the drive towards a paperless workplace. Each of these needs to be managed differently and communicated differently in order to be successful.

2. Change Needs to Be a Collaborative Effort

The CIO should never try to manage change on her/his own. Before focusing on change management, get involved in building a team of supporters to help manage the changes to come. Once the CIO has established a network of supportive people, the change can be a collaborative effort. This way, it is not perceived as "the CIO against everyone else".

3. Change Needs to be Gradual

Occasionally, change has to be sudden and reactive, such as during a public relations catastrophe that drives stocks through the floor or following a major disaster like a devastating hurricane that severely damaged headquarters. In all other instances, change needs to be gradual so that people can understand the change, adjust to the change, and accept the change.

4. Change Needs to Be Budgeted Wisely

The one thing that is constant about change is the tendency of organizations to under budget for it. Budgeting for change means setting aside adequate funds -- yes. But it also involves budgeting for the time it takes to implement the change and the other resources change will demand, including the time it takes the people to adjust to and train for the new way of doing things. Don't budget any of these things too tightly, because that sets the organization up for failure from the beginning.

Whatever the change is, there needs to be monitoring solutions in place to measure the progress and success, and to identify areas that may need improvements.<

5. Change Requires Monitoring and Measurement

When managing change, the CIO can't just assume it is or isn't going well. There has to be metrics to back up the progress (or lack of progress). For example, if the change is technical, be sure you have a good network monitoring system in place to see how the system is responding to the new changes. This gives you solid evidence for how the technology is working within your current IT infrastructure.

Is it possible to undergo significant changes without losing the confidence and trust of the people -- both your internal and external customers? It is for the CIO who masters the art of change management. Visit NETSCOUT today to get your free copy of "The Frictionless Enterprise." This is the essential guide for the CIO navigating an organization through today's massive technical changes.