Business Preparation Checklists (Episode 8/9) By Jonathan Parnaby

Jonathan Parnaby is a Digital & Business Transformation professional who specialises in Change Management, Programme Management and Business Analysis.

Jonathan has 10 years of business transformation experience across multiple sectors having performed a variety of project roles in Dunelm Ltd, Alliance Boots plc and Viridor Ltd.

Jonathan currently resides in the South West of the UK and is the founder and owner of The Transformation Office Ltd, a boutique consultancy which tailors its services around their clients’ requirements, goals and future capabilities.

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Creating and executing the recipe for change”

In this article, I’m going to explore the Stakeholder Preparation stage of my change framework which is primarily all about performing the activities to physically prepare the individual, team or organisation for the changes ahead.  Technically performing awareness or education type activities is preparation, however, I like to think of this stage being more of the ‘to do’ list of the business that they need to complete before any change is implemented.

Back in the second episode, I discussed the importance of change impacts and how we can identify its change impact type to be managed before, during or after cutover/go-live.  These business preparation type change impacts should have been reviewed and added to the change journeys also outlined in episode five so you should have the building blocks to start helping the business help themselves.

Using your control rooms as discussed in episode six, is the change team’s mechanism to first creating a checklist for the business to follow but also, more importantly, ensuring that it is being followed and reported back to the programme or sponsors.

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So, why is a Business Preparation Checklist important? In my experience just having tasks in a plan that you “hope” the business will work on isn’t going to cut it, like most activities sat on a project plan they need to be managed, chased, checked and reported on regularly.  I like to think of the checklist like a recipe, essentially taking all the ingredients (change impacts, change journeys & change plans) and assembling them together with a method to produce the desired effect.

The practical example below highlights how I’ve created a checklist on a previous transformation programme where an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system was being implemented to multiple parts of the business at the same time.  Once the key information is analysed then those tasks can be logged on the checklist to capture the following information:

  • What does it relate to? PROCESS – Is this task related to an end to end process that’s changing (e.g. Procure to Pay)
  • What is the activity? TITLE – What is the task that the business needs to resolve

  • What do we need to do? DESCRIPTION – Further detail on what the business needs to resolve & why

  • When do we need to do it by? DEADLINE – In accordance to your change plan when do these activities need to be completed by. 

  • Which core impacted functions does it relate to? – Not all preparation tasks will relate to all business units so having these mapped will help you be able to focus on what a specific function needs to do but also to keep all the preparation tasks together

  • Status of preparation tasks – To highlight whether the business unit has started or completed a task

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The checklist truly sits in the heart of the control room process where the initial list of tasks is set from the change plans, the change team is meeting regularly with the business unit identifying what needs to happen and reporting progress back into the programme.  This mechanism can also be used to link the programme teams’ requests on the business which can sometimes become a bit ad-hoc depending on the size of the changes.  The benefits of using preparation checklists are:

  • Tangible measurement of how prepared each business unit is for go-live
  • Easily compare against other divisions to help motivate them
  • Easily filter and hide information not relevant to a business unit
  • Visualisation to physically see % completion

What business preparation techniques do you use on your change programmes?  Please get involved and share your experiences.  In the final episode of The Practical Change Manager, I will end the series discussing the final stage of the change framework which is all about helping the business to adopt the changes and realising benefits.

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