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Change Management Series: 8 Tools for Change Management

Two illustrated people at desk working together on timeline and communication plans for Salesforce implementation and change management

Change management plans are made up of several elements. Not all tools will be used for all plans.

The size and duration of your change management strategy should be in line with the impact of the change.

The first post in this three-part blog series on change management covered the basics of change management. We moved on to four core change management principles. And in this final post, we’ll dive into some critical tools for change management:

  • Timeline and communication plans
  • Finding project champions
  • User acceptance training
  • Other types of training
  • Go-live communication
  • Support and feedback
  • Ongoing learning
  • Analysis of success

Timelines and Communication Plans

A primary tool for any change management strategy is Timelines and Communication Plans.

Putting your plan down on paper will help you execute your plan. If you’re looking for a template, Project Management timelines or Marketing Editorial Calendars are great jumping-off points.

In the marketing world, research suggests that people need to hear something seven times and in seven different ways for it to really sink in. To apply this wisdom to your change management communication plan, consider the following:

Communicate Early and Often

Having early insight that important change is coming helps your team prepare. It’s ok not to have all of the answers right away. In fact, your team’s unexpected questions may help you better plan.

Use your existing channels

Every organization has many communication tools these days. Think creatively about using things like Slack, morning standups, regular team meetings, etc, to communicate with your team.

Try some new channels

Likely, your existing channels will cover 4 or 5 of the ways you want to communicate a change. Add in some new methods of communication to help the information really stick. Things like: office hour sessions, coffee nook signage, or mini-demo recordings are great, easy ways to share the information in new ways.

Right-size the information

You will never explain everything that needs to be understood in one giant meeting or document. Break it down into smaller, more digestible chunks and then deliver the right content, to the right audience, at the right time.

Finding your Champions

Change is hard on teams. Having strong champions can help ease the stress.

Your champions are there as an additional resource for support, to answer questions, and to advocate for the change. These individuals should be involved in Discovery Sessions, User Acceptance Testing, and Post-Launch to advocate for the team.

But how do you choose them? Likely, there are a few people that your team turns to in times of change. To help your team have confidence, it’s important that these people are armed with the right information early.

The best champions may not be who you think they are. Do you have one person on your team that is particularly against a certain change? Bring them in early. Getting them involved in the change may help them feel a sense of ownership and encourage the rest of the team to get on board.

User Acceptance Testing

User Acceptance Testing (UAT) is your opportunity to explore and test that the solutions you built meet your needs.

Illustrated person at desk testing new Salesforce tools

In most projects, UAT is the first time you’ll get hands-on with your new tools. There are a few ways to leverage UAT as part of your change management strategy:

  • Think about who will participate in UAT: This is a great time to expand who has participated in the project and bring in your champions and a few additional end-users to test.
  • Training first: Often, we will do a little bit of training before UAT, especially if you are new to the Salesforce Platform.
  • Take in the feedback: Iteration is important. Take the feedback you receive during UAT and leverage it to make your end result even stronger. That being said, not every idea that comes up in UAT is in scope. It is important that the project leadership stays aligned.

Training

Training is the cornerstone of change management. Without good training, it’s nearly impossible to adopt a new tool.

There are many many ways to do training, including and certainly not limited to:

Live Training

The old stand-by. Live training is a great way to get everyone in a room and introduce them to a new tool. If your roll-out includes various teams or many features, you should consider doing a series of training sessions and include specific audiences for various sessions.

Recorded Training

Record any training you conduct. This is a great reference for your existing team and the easiest way to bring new team members up to speed.

Training Documentation

Like training sessions, training documentation is another classic.

However, I’d like to invite you to think about documentation a little differently. There are many great tools for creating living documentation like Confluence that are easy to update and change as the tool is refined.

Additionally, think about the right size document for the role and task. For example, a one-page job aide is great for learning how to manage cases, whereas a multi-page admin guide may be a better holistic reference for how to Administer a system.

Opportunities for Reflection

In Education, they often talk about how adults learn best through reflection.

As your team is learning new tools, create opportunities for them to discuss what they are learning. This could be things like office hour sessions, lunch and learns where you invite your team to share tricks they’ve learned, or even creating opportunities for team members to train each other.

Trailhead, Salesforce Documentation, and YouTube

You don’t have to create every piece of content you leverage for a training plan.

Salesforce has abundant documentation. Their free, online training platform, Trailhead, is an invaluable tool for learning about the platform regardless of experience level.

Lastly, Salesforce has a great YouTube channel that offers demos, walkthrough videos, and training resources.

Go-Live Communication

The day has come! You are about to launch your new platform or tool. There are a few core principles to make sure you are as successful as possible:

  1. No surprises: Your team should know when Go-Live is happening and be ready. Ideally, your go-live date is old news. Don’t hesitate to put the date on everyone’s calendars so they can see it.
  2. Make time: Going live with a new tool takes time. Make sure you have given your team an ample amount of time to log in for the first time and look around. Be realistic about the time it will take to resolve any login issues or initial questions.
  3. Work your communication plan: In the excitement of go-live, don’t let your plan go out the window. Pre-schedule anything that can be pre-scheduled and then work your plan.

Support and Feedback

Once your tool is live, that isn’t the end of the road. No one likes being told they have to do something without getting any support to do it.

Your team will need support, and they will have plenty of feedback. So what do you do with it?

Illustrated person at desk on video conference reviewing new Salesforce tools and providing feedback

Make it Easy to Give Feedback

If there’s feedback or issues, it should be as easy as possible for users to share them.

A simple feedback tracker sheet or designated ticket type in your regular ticketing system can go a long way to helping issues be reported.

Communicate Refinements and Additional Releases

Once you get feedback, you have to do something with it and support your team.

IT changes can often take longer than the end-users want. Communicate with them early and often about when changes can be expected. Change Logs are a great way for users to see what updates are coming and when.

Don’t Let Things Fester

If there’s a large or repeated issue, don’t let it go by with no action. Nothing impacts morale more than when team members feel like their voice doesn’t matter.

Make sure you are communicating workarounds, plans to fix issues, and the roadmap clearly.

Ongoing Learning

Change management doesn’t end once the new tool is live. Learning will be ongoing.

As you develop your communication plans, consider the future. How will you train new users that join your team? How will you help your team continue to sharpen the ax? Planning ahead for quarterly refresher training and training for future releases will help your team continue learning.

Analysis of Success

Never do anything without a goal in mind. For change management, the goal is to shift with new technologies and successfully implement change. How do we know if we’ve reached it?

Change management can feel like a difficult thing to measure since, at its heart, it’s about people. While you execute your plan, there are several metrics to capture to understand how it’s going.

Leading Metrics

Before a tool is implemented, there are a few indicators of success:

  • Is the project team engaged in your discovery sessions? Are they coming to those conversations prepared?
  • Is the project team engaging in learning materials on their own?
  • Was participation in UAT as expected? Was their high-quality feedback?

Lagging Metrics

After a tool is implemented, you can measure:

  • How well attended are the training and office hour sessions?
  • How much feedback has come in? No feedback isn’t a sign of no problems, it often means there is low usage of the tool.
  • How do the User Adoption Reports look? Salesforce has some great tools for measuring logins and record creation right out of the box.

Conclusion

When implementing any change at any organization, a lot of focus is on the tools and the technology. As you are implementing, take some time to think about your people. Meeting them where they are is a critical step to ensuring your investment in Salesforce is as successful as possible.

As we end this change management blog series, please know that the Red Argyle team is here to help. Reach out and schedule a time to talk about your vision for your organization, and we’ll determine how a Salesforce solution will make that happen.

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