To ensure that changes are completed successfully, a solid change team must be in place. This team must consist of members who understand the change and the magnitude of the project necessary to implement that change. The size of the team should be determined based on the severity and riskiness of the change (e.g. an additional step in a process vs. an entire process redesign or transitioning a group of 100 people vs. a group of 12), but in my experience the smaller the team the better. In addition, the team should be comprised of members from different backgrounds. Having all project managers, operational people, finance people, etc. could present an opportunity for the team to miss various aspects of the change due to limited viewpoints.
All members of an effective change team need to be working toward the same goal: implementing the desired change. This focal point will help in keeping constant communication throughout the project. In addition to maintaining a high level of communication, the team should establish clear roles and responsibilities so that no one on the team is left confused about who should be doing what. Having this in place enables the team to hold themselves and others accountable for accomplishing the agreed upon tasks throughout the project. Being able to see the completion of these tasks can also serve as a motivator to individuals on the team as it gives everyone the opportunity to own a part of the change and receive recognition for their work.
There are many decisions that will need to be made throughout the change implementation process. All members of the change team should have the freedom to give input and share ideas on how best to address various risks and challenges involved in the project. Allowing the various members of the team to provide their expertise can aid in finding quicker solutions to complex problems that may arise.
These are the main characteristics of successful change teams I have had the opportunity to be a part of thus far in my career. What are some of your good experiences with change teams? Is there anything that you would have changed about how your team worked to complete the project?