Updated – managing complex change


My principal often tells me that one of the hardest tasks we have as educators is integrating ICT into our curriculum. For us to successfully integrate ICT, we need to manage the change and the best resource I have found for this process came from a paper by J. Thousand and R. Villa, called Managing complex change towards inclusive schooling. This table sums it up for me:

Table of change elements and results

vision + skills + incentives + resources + action plan = change
skills + incentives + resources + action plan = confusion
vision + incentives + resources + action plan = anxiety
vision + skills + resources + action plan = resistance
vision + skills + incentives + action plan = frustration
vision + skills + incentives + resources + = treadmill

(This excellent graphic is linked from the Langwitches blog – Brilliant)

For each of these we have to ask some questions.

1. Vision.

Crucial to any project or change working is a clear vision of where you want to go and what you want to achieve. You need to know what the forces or drivers are that are pushing this change. Obviously, a shared vision is better that one persons ideals, however most changes do require a champion to lead and drive the process. In project management terms this is the scope of the project. The scope of a project is one side of a triangle with Time and Cost. If you adjust the scope of your project then cost and time will also change. The bigger your goals (scope) the greater the cost or time. If you reduce the available funding then scope will have to change or the time to deliver the project product or change.
So here are some questions:

  • What is the guiding vision?
  • What are the drivers for this change?
  • Does it provide valid goals and objectives?
  • What are these goals and objectives?
  • Is it a shared vision? has everyone bought into these?
  • Are these goals achievable, measurable and manageable?
  • Are these “goal posts” shifting? Is the scope of the project, your goals and objectives, changing?

2. Skills

Most if not all changes will require a change or adjustment in the skill set of the people involved. This may be a major change or a minor one. For the change to be successful these must be considered. Starting with a skills audit is is a useful place to benchmark the change process. You also need to consider the method that you are going to use to provide these skills. Will it be a:

  • Just in time model – this is the better method of training as the user gets the skills as they need them but its harder to plan and organise and often requires considerably greater investment
  • Just in case model – this is the shot gun model – you are all getting the training incase you need it.

Here are some questions to ask:

  • What skills are needed?
  • What skills do the staff/community have?
  • What skills will the staff/community be provided with?
  • How will you provide them?
  • What support systems, processes etc are staff/community provided with?
  • What approach and model will we use Just in time or just in case? One to one or small group or lecture? Coaching, facilitated learning, peer supported learning e-learning?

3. Incentives.

To drive a change people must want to change. The incentives can be positive (tangible or intangible incentives) or negative (change or your fired).

  • What are the incentives for adoption of the project?
  • are they negative or positive?
  • are they:
    • tangible – financial, temporal, classroom facilities or
    • intangible – recognition, prestige, personal achievement

4. Resources.

Resoursing change is often an issue, are the funds, resources, support etc available? Can I access them? What tools can we use?. Even if staff are trained on a resource and are keen with out easy access to the resource tool or technology, the skills will atroph and motivation fade. Here are some questions for resources:

  • What are the resources we need?
  • What are the resources that are available?
  • Are they suitable and appropriate?
  • Are they reusable, flexible, engaging, portable?
  • How are they distributed or accessed?
  • Do they through availability and distribution enhance integration and adoption?
  • What resources are you going to add?
  • Is the distribution of resources equitable?
  • Do the resources suit the needs of all aspects of the community?
  • What is the TCO (Total cost of ownership) for the resource?
  • What level of support is available?

5. Action Plan.

Like each other phase of change, this is vital to the success of a project.

  • What is the action plan?
  • Has the staff/community been involved in developing this? Have they bought into this?
  • Who are the stakeholders and what is there level of buy in
  • Is it valid given the rapidly changing nature of the ICT?
  • Is it measurable and manageable?
  • Who has access to the plan? is it transparent and available?
  • Planning should ask:
    1. What is happening?
    2. When is it happening?
    3. Who is doing it?
    4. Where is it happening?
    5. Why is it happening? (what are the drivers?)
    6. How is it happening?

With each phase we also need to ask who is accountable and how do we measure this.

I also like to apply the KISS rule:

Keep It Simple (you can add in the last S)

Is it easy, no; Is it possible? yes and is it worth it….. Indeed!

If one of the elements above is missing you will be a little like the dog chasing his tail


URL: http://edorigami.wikispaces.com/Managing+Complex+Change

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