Podcast: Change Management Explored with Michael Hopkins

Michael Grace, RPI Consultants Tech Pro Unicorn, talks all things Change Management with Michael Hopkins, RPI’s Change Management Consultant. The discuss the practical application of Change Management on large technology projects and why it these services are getting renewed attention.

Transcript

Intro/Outro:

Welcome to the Tech Pro Unicorn Podcast, brought to you by RPI Consultants. A podcast about the magic of digital transformation through technology. Each week we’ll cover topics related to ERP, RPA, business transformation, leadership, healthcare, and unicorns.

Michael Grace:

And welcome back to another episode of Tech Pro Unicorn. Today I am joined by Michael Hopkins. Michael Hopkins is with RPI Consultants. Michael, could you introduce yourself and share with the folks what you do?

Michael Hopkins:

Yeah, absolutely. Thank you, Michael. As you said, my name is Michael Hopkins, I lead our change management practice. A little bit of a new practice for us, something we’ve been developing over the last 18 months or so. We’re excited to bring some new services, bring in new perspective, especially to these larger projects that we’re doing around V11 cloud suite migrations.

Michael Grace:

Awesome. Well thanks for taking the time, I appreciate it.

Michael Hopkins:

Thank you.

Michael Grace:

So, change management is just a consistent buzz word in the project management community, right? And over the last few years it’s taken on new life with some organizations that tout themselves as a change management certification organizations and such, so we’ll touch on that as well. But for the audience could you share a little bit about what change management really is?

Michael Hopkins:

Yeah, absolutely. So for us, so our background and our expertise is helping large companies through these large software projects. And so change management for us is really figuring out ways to invest in people and in communication to help ensure that the project that we’re delivering is successful. And so we kind of talk about it, and a lot of change management folks talk about it this way, it’s the people side of change, right? It’s the processes people, the side of any sort of project. And so our change management is really focused on how do we build up why an organization is doing this project, which we call value propositions, and then communicating that out to the user base. So as it becomes time to test software, do training, and eventually go live, hopefully we’ve created a pretty good foundation of why folks should be interested in this change, why they should go through the effort, and get ready and then actually adopt change.

Michael Grace:

Awesome. So people tend to be, when you look at projects and you, especially like a cloud suite project or any real large project and you’re trying to cut costs, seems like change management is where people kind of look. And they’re like, “Oh, we don’t really need change management.” But you kind of do, right? Like you said, otherwise you go through a project checklist essentially of tasks, and you kind of leave the people behind. And then you have all this resistance to, you know there’s that saying, you can do the project with them or you can do the project to them. So I think change really brings them along on the effort.

Michael Hopkins:

Yeah, absolutely. And it is one of those things that’s kind of easy to say, “Oh, that sounds great. Let’s include it in scope.” And then once you get inside of a project, your timeline starting to pinch a little bit, costs are starting to move a little bit. It’s an easy thing to look at for sure. And the way that we like to talk about it with our clients is that the true change management is really the most effective when it comes from internal. And so the way we approach change management on these projects is not taking a lot of the heavy lifting on ourselves, which is why generally speaking or relatively, there’s not as many hours assigned to change management as there is to let’s say, project management or any of the other tasks associated with the project.

Michael Hopkins:

But what we hope we’re doing is creating a foundation or a framework to be able to go back to our clients and say, “Hey, this is what an effective change management program looks like. This is how you should build a change champ