Creating Change Impact Assessments (Episode 3/9) by Jonathan Parnaby


The key to unlocking your proactive change initiatives”

So, you’ve spent hours in workshops capturing many change impacts and you’ve been recording them successfully within the Change Impact Log (you can read more about this here if you’ve missed the last episode). You look at the sheer volume of data and information with dread and the Programme Manager is asking you for your Change Plans so he can brief the exec team on how we’re going to get the business to adopt these changes. 

Within the Change Framework we are now in Stage 3: Change Preparation, ideally, you should have captured everything you need to start analysing and building a series of practical activities but before we launch into a full-blown change plan we need to make sure that the Programme Team validates our understanding of what the changes mean.  This is where we introduce the Change Impact Assessment.

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Now the change impacts are captured, this is the time to review the impacts internally once again and to tag them with one (or more) of the following Change Impact Types:

  1. Policy – Changes in company policy which can affect internal / external operations within an organisation
  2. Process – Changes in the actual operation of a process by removing, amending or adding steps
  3. Skills – Changes in the required skills to operate the new ways of working
  4. Organisational Structure – Changes in the organisational structure & hierarchy such as reporting line changes, new hires or even brand new divisions
  5. Roles & Responsibilities – Changes in roles to formalise new tasks as part of their day job
  6. Workload Management – Changes to the volume of work which that department or person processes.  E.g. has this been transferred somewhere else?
  7. Reward & Recognition – Changes in colleagues performance managements and KPI’s which could impactcompensation/bonuss
  8. Culture & Ways of Working – Changes in the organisations culture, challenging the “we have always done it like that” mentality.

The reason for tagging your impacts at this stage is you can group and analyse all the 8 impacts types through one of the many lens and analyse to see if the impacts make sense.  Think about your change impacts being stored in a Rubiks Cube where you’re looking all around it, spinning rows & columns around until you get the picture you want (hopefully without giving up and throwing it in the bin at Christmas time, I definitely didn’t do that in the 80s!).

Using our case study example of implementing procurement changes into a retail organisation you may then ask “why do we only have policy related change impacts just against the Finance department and not the Stores Ops function?”  This is when you are really assessing the change to make sure that any gaps are resolved and plugged.  Once you’re happy with the change impact data then it’s time to present this information in a more accessible format.  Please don’t think about sitting down with the business along with your Change Impact Log spreadsheet containing 600 lines and making them go through it, trust me I’ve been there and it wasn’t pretty, accessibility is key here and we need to make the information targeted.

So, going into the practical example, the below Change Impact Assessment structure is one that I’ve used and works well.  First, you’ll need to decide how best you want to organise the assessment, it’s a good job we put all those filters in the change impact log.

  • Group by Project – This could work for you if you are working in a large-scale programme which contains multiple projects delivering capability at similar times.
  • Group by End to End Process – This could be useful if the programme is changing a lot of the end to end processes at similar times (e.g. Procure 2 Pay, Market 2 Cash, Hire 2 Retire)
  • Group by Function – This could be helpful if you need to demonstrate the changes to a function, e.g. if you’re sat with the Sales Director then you can demonstrate the changes to his / her division.


Think about your audience and who is going to consume this information, you may need to build a few based on different viewpoints (e.g. the Programme Team may want the assessment by the project because their programme is implementing 10 projects however the business may want to see it by function).  I’ll now break each section down with visual examples:

End State Summary – This section provides a holistic view of the all the high-level changes across your chosen grouped structure, in this case by function.  This can be used as an executive summary to senior stakeholders to help explain what the core changes are:

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High-Level Overview – This is designed to explore a bit more information about the change and its impact for a group (e.g. Stores).  The highlights are:

  • Key Changes – These are the grouped together change impacts (remember accessibility is key)
  • Timescales – Highlights when the expected changes are going to happen
  • Business Impact – RAG status on what the change impact types are
  • Business Benefits – A reminder to the recipient on why these changes are being made

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Core Changes – This section brings to life the grouped change impacts and breaks them down against their change mitigation type.  This shows the business which changes are going to impact them and which ones are before, during and after go-live so they can prepare and prioritise working on preparation tasks. 

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Benefits Map – This section visually shows which change impacts are linked to which benefits lines.  This is useful to demonstrate that if the business works on mitigating the respective change then they will help to yield the associated benefit.  Note: This is geared towards a larger scale transformation programme with lots of moving parts.


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Once you have your Change Impact Assessment you can start to think about getting out into the business to start making them aware of what’s coming.  This has no doubt been handled from a generic communication stand point, however, you are now holding the key to unlock your proactive and targeted change initiatives to help the business.  In the next three episodes, we’ll be staying put in Stage 3: Change Preparation to demonstrate practical examples of:

  • Episode 4 - Change Networks
  • Episode 5 - Change Journeys & Plans
  • Episode 6 - Control Rooms & Measuring Readiness

How do you assess change impacts? What techniques do you use when trying to get the business to understand the impacts upfront so they can work with the change teams?  As always please get involved and comment to engage with the transformation community.


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.