How to Support a Change Management Process Using Roadmaps

Change is hard. It’s an uphill battle against the familiar, the routine, complacency, and inertia. Even when people agree, change is needed. Figuring out the best change management process requires continued commitment and discipline.

More significant changes are even harder, mainly when the status quo has been stagnant for an extended period. On top of it all, all change needs to sync up across the entire organization’s complexities.

Significant changes must be intentional and well-planned efforts. They need a comprehensive program. A plan that encompasses all the essential elements and provides transparent communication to all involved. One of the best ways to ensure excellent communication with stakeholders is through leveraging a roadmapping tool.

What is a change management roadmap?

A change management plan roadmap presents the holistic view of all change management deliverables for all stakeholders. A change management roadmap provides an overview of the deliverables and milestones that need to be delivered to support a business change. These roadmaps are typically set up as timelines with a sequential flow of the deliverables.

6 Ways a roadmap supports change management process

1. A roadmap acts as a single source of truth.

Major overhauls take time and involve a lot of moving pieces. Keeping track of pending projects and tasks might feel like a Herculean effort.  But using roadmapping software for the change management process enables you to put everything from overarching themes to specific tasks all in one place.

The product roadmap serves as the system of record for the overall project. Roadmaps create transparency. Every interested party knows where to look for the current view of the world. It also means any deviations from the plan or status updates all happen in the same place.

Instead of referencing multiple sources, juggle lots of static presentations, spreadsheets, and project plans, it’s all in one spot. Roadmaps hosted in the cloud means there are no version control concerns. Nor are there worries that someone is referencing an outdated version of the plan.

Integrations with essential tools in the product development stack streamline the flow of information. Integrations keep everyone and everything in sync. It means less time bugging different teams for status updates and more time actively managing the process.

2. Easy way to keep stakeholders informed.

There is no substitute for the occasional in-person or virtual status review. However, roadmapping software has another crucial benefit in providing automated update notifications. Whether it’s a task marked completed, a new item added to the docket, or a tweak of the schedule, those who want to know can receive updates via email, Slack, or other asynchronous collaboration tools.

This will ensure no one is unaware of a significant change. It also keeps the project top of mind when modifications occur. Instead of waiting to hear about it later, anyone impacted by a given change or adjustment gets instant notice and can act accordingly.

3. A tool for resource management and accountability.

The larger the undertaking, the more people involved. Increased participants create opportunities for people to shirk their responsibilities. Or blame someone else when something slips or doesn’t meet the requirements.

While a roadmapping tool can’t change human nature, it can provide clear visibility into who’s doing what. Using milestones, any clear, hard deadlines can be set for specific dates, which leaves no question regarding expectations. This can help smooth the interpersonal dynamics that accompany cross-functional collaboration.

Roadmapping software can provide a more visual look at how you’re deploying resources. You can quickly spot who’s double-booked as well as who might have some openings to pick up some slack. A glance can also indicate which team or individual is responsible for a given deliverable for increased accountability, a clear escalation path, and supports the change management process.

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4. Roadmaps add context.

When a large change management program is broken down into dozens of discrete tasks, it cannot be easy to see the big picture. It’s not always clear WHY a given item needs to be done at a particular time… or even at all for that matter.

Breaking plans down into specific streams based on key goals, objectives, or themes is a way to present the context for specific work items visually. Not only does this illustrate the connective relationships between each piece of the puzzle, but it also conveys the larger story of the initiative.

For example, if an organization is trying to overhaul its sales process, there would be multiple themes for that undertaking. A “Systems” theme includes any work related to acquiring and standing up a new CRM and modifications to the accounts receivable and inventory solutions. Meanwhile, there could be a “Staffing” theme that includes talent evaluation, territory development, hiring, onboarding, and training. There might also be a “Marketing” theme that includes new messaging and positioning, a refresh of digital assets, and new collateral development and production.

Within each of those themes are many to-do items of various shapes and sizes, with each slotted, resourced, and tracked. But by rolling them up under specific themes, their relevance to the overall project is clear.

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5. Customized views for uncomplicated communication.

Even though all the project details are within the roadmapping software, it doesn’t mean everyone needs to see it all. Custom views tailor what different stakeholders see.

With this capability, you can apply filters to limit how much information each audience views. The goal here isn’t to hide data but to only present people with the information, they need and want to see.

Customizing views can keep things at the appropriate level for a given person or a particular conversation or meeting. Removing extraneous details, what’s vital for that given context, won’t get lost in a sea of data.

6. Clarity and simplicity for alignment.

Many project planning tools allow you to track and schedule resources down to the minute. Yet, these aren’t incredibly helpful for communicating with stakeholders and creating alignment. They’re too specific, detailed, and complicated for someone who doesn’t spend most of their day worried about the minor nuances.

A visual roadmapping tool makes it easy. Users can drag and drop to create their plans, using color coding and legends to tell the story and give each piece meaning to the casual observer. And while there’s always the ability to drill down for more detail, the big picture never gets lost.

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Set your change management project up for success

Many organizations have lofty aspirations and good intentions when they try to transform their structure. But far too often, they end in a mixed bag of partial victories. It’s a universal truth that transparency, visibility, and accountability are usually partially to blame.

Those with the power to fix things seldom know there’s an issue at all. Not until it’s snowballed into a significant problem. This is why a single source of truth supports a change management process.

Using roadmapping software as the foundation for how these change management projects planned, managed, and executed can mitigate many of these factors. The goals, milestones, and latest status are always available to those who need to see them. There’s a shared foundation for the hard conversations and tough decisions accompanying any project of this size and importance.
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