Organizational change management has many definitions, and while it’s true that every change initiative is unique, we think they all have two common components, as this blog post describes. 


Assumption #1: Let’s stipulate the following statements are true:

  • No sector or industry is immune from uncertainty and complexity.
  • Technology change will always be with us.

The Covid epidemic gave us complexity and uncertainty in spades, with effects in every direction. And an enterprise that recognizes it’s a technology organization (in addition to its core business) will always be entering, implementing, or optimizing some kind of technology change.

The question then becomes how to manage transitions and navigate uncertainty effectively. This is where organizational change management (OCM) can help.

Here’s how we define OCM:

OCM helps an enterprise and its people manage transitions and navigate uncertainty.

Twin Tasks: Manage Transitions, Navigate Uncertainty

Manage Transitions

transition management

Assumption #2: A set of transparent, repeatable steps can account for uncertainty and successfully manage a technology transition.

Let’s get concrete. Here are examples of common technology transitions:

  • Migrating from SharePoint on-prem to SharePoint Online
  • Retiring data reports housed in legacy applications and rebuilding them in Power BI
  • Rolling out multi-factor authentication
  • Moving from on-prem services to a hybrid cloud environment

You may say: That repeatable process you use for everyone else won’t work for us. We’re different.

My reply: Tell us more about that.

As the conversation unfolds, there’s typically an array of challenges, such as:

  • A team needs 24/7 access to an automated workflow
  • Making it easier to comply with regulations and standards like SOX or ISO
  • The General Counsel has monthly filing deadlines; no changes can occur the week before a deadline

Our proven yet always improving migration process expects nuances and edge cases. That’s why the first step begins with discovery, asking basic questions like:

  • What does it mean to rewrite the code for XYZ application?
  • Assuming compliance with the organization’s security and regulatory requirements, can developers decide how they monitor, measure, and document their work?
  • What is still unsaid about this app modernization project?

Navigate Uncertainty

navigate uncertainty

Assumption #3: Enterprises grapple with how (and sometimes whether) to tap the talent, ambition, and skepticism (yes, skepticism) of their employees.

Since it’s hard to make something as amorphous as uncertainty concrete, an example can help.

Organizations that adopt Domain Driven Design (DDD) end up with more but smaller teams. DDD brings many benefits; it also introduces uncertainty, since it’s impossible to predict how these teams will interact and their impact on each other.

We can navigate uncertainty by conducting multiple, parallel probes (experiments) to evaluate complex changes, reviewing the data from each probe using ADIMSM – Amplify, Diminish, Ignore, Monitor.

  • Amplify: what do we want more of?
  • Diminish: what do we want less of?
  • Ignore: what did we analyze then decide not to act? (helpful for decision history)
  • Monitor: there might be something there, but our data is insufficient or inadequate. Let’s single this item out for more data collection and scrutiny.

Learn More

What kind of organizational shifts are on your mind? We’re happy to put together a multi-disciplinary team to discuss them with you, just let us know.