Posted at 09.10.2018
This essay is about the importance of change management in information systems development and discusses about the problems that will be the result of change within an organization as well as the relationship between change management and system implementation. This essay will explain the theories with related examples which were the implications of change in an organization and can critically evaluate and discusses ideas from my own point of view. This essay will reflect upon my knowledge of change management that I've learned out of this module.
Change management is important in any type of organisations and especially in information system development. It really is a structured way to control change. According to Disraeli as quoted in (Gilley, 2005) "Change is constant". Change exists everywhere. The change can be in an individual, in an organization or in an organization. When an individual is motivated to do something differently, the change that occurs within an individual is the primary reason for the whole word to change. Because the individual is associated with groups, and groups are related to other groups to form an organisation, the key process partly of change is determined by all individuals, groups or teams, and organisations and leaders also have an important responsibility in the process of change. (Cameron & Green, 2009).
Technology, globalization, society and evolving legislation forces many organisations to change constantly. The organisation's ability to effectively implement change decides the success of the change process which completely depends of the person involved with managing the change. Change is essential for an organisation nowadays because of competetive pressures and to meet up with the current customer needs. According to (Gilley, 2005), every 4 or 5 years, organisations findings planning to undertake major organisational changes and atleast one per year to attempt moderate organisational change. So change management is inevitable in every organisations to successfully manage the process of change.
The induction of this module started with the justification for the need of computer professionals to know change management. Most of the projects related to IT failed due to various reasons in which one would be due to poor change management. According to (Burnes, 2009) Brindle study states that UK government had to admit the failure of its 170 million pounds programme to change the old computer systems that holds the whole country's National insurance records was a chaos that collapsed the system and leaving the social security number into agitation. According to (Burnes, 2009) Done and Willman explained that the key reason behind the BA's Terminal 5 debacle was the failure of its cutting-edge computerized baggage handling system. According to (CMSI Lectures, 2010, Week 1, Slide 11), the role of the IT professionals would be working in a team with other professionals, designing the system which other folks use, expecting how they'll use the machine and explaining the users how to use the machine with their maximum potential. A big change management process involves all all these roles of an IT professional. These points provided me a complete justification and understanding of the need of change management for a person like me who's an IT professional.
The following week I learned about different type of systems and different types of implementations involved in an IT project, other considerations for an implementation, the explanation for the implementation and the process of implementation. The various types of systems are software such as applications and desktop, hardware system and infrastructure systems such as buildings and network. The facts that needs to be consider while implementing something are the degree of knowledge in the system, technology, the amount of importance with the system and people, whether it's in sourced/outsourced and using the maturity models. According to (Okrent & Vokurka, 2004), there are three types of implementation 1) Pilot implementation where the prioritized functional area gives the most benefits is implemented first 2) Parallel implementation in which the change is tested in both old and new systems parallel and 3) Big bang implementation in which the data is migrated from old system to the new system all at one time which is the most risky implementation.
The big bang implementation is considered as most risky implementation since almost all of the projects implemented this way fails. For example, Heathrow Terminal 5 project was implemented using Big bang implementation. The cutting-edge computerized baggage handler system was regarded as "one of the hardest-working IT systems" as said by BAA and British Airways(BA) before its launch of the system and it didn't work when it was to work. (Swabey, 2008).
There will vary types of change such as reactive and proactive change, incremental and 'All at once' change, planned and emergent change. According to (Orlikowski & Hofman, 1997) the different types of change are planned(anticipated), emergent and opportunity-based change. Planned change is the change that is well planned and it happenes even as planned. Emergent change is the change which occurs spontaneously out of some experimentation which is not planned. The opportunity-based change is the change that is not planned but introduced purposefully to meet the opportunities that were not expected.
Some various problems and aspects of change management can be illustrated with a research study: GK Printers Limited
GK Printers Limited is a tiny printing business established after the Second World War. It is a family group business where the current managing director's father established the business. The company was involved in printing jobs along with producing publicity catlogues for local companies, business cards and stationeries. The business transpired due to various reasons such as recession, no computerised printing techniques and no graphics designed printing. This made the managing director to form some strategy along with the printing manager in which the first phase was to subcontract the printing works together with graphical design instead of investing more income in new equipments. The company grew very well plus they had a good profit and bought new equipments. In 1989, due to its growth running a business, it was complicated to control printing, designing and managing the subcontracting activities altogether. The next phase of planned change was to manage company's costing system, controlling paperwork and production scheduling. After many discussion, the company planned to set up Computer Based System(CBS) and it took two years completely to install the working system after purchasing hardwares and refining the softwares in line with the company's requirement. Training were provided to the users and also some managers to use the machine effectively. The business had a growth again with their successful installing CBS plus they managed the changes that happened in their organisation. All the changes were in organisation and there have been no change in the managerial behaviour of the organisation. The situation again aroused because the customers wants the business to reduce the expense of printing due to recession plus they were giving smaller orders. This made GK to take into account their survival. Given that they were consistently getting only smaller orders, their production cost remained the same and if they want to reduce the purchase price to retain the customers, they will not have any profits. To discover a solution, the managing director approached the marketing and design manager to create the issues and solutions. The manager developed the problems and suggested to boost the design business by using more design staffs. The senior staffs didn't agree and there were no decisions taken following the meeting. This made the managing director to consider and he approached a team builder to organise the teams inside the company. The team builder developed a report that all the managers in the business are working and fully committed for the business's success and the negative point was the way the managing director approach for solutions. He made decisions himself or to talk to only with one manager to make up with the decisions. The managing director was upset with this shock and he said he always wanted a team work in the business and henceforth all the decisions will be taken by consulting everyone in the management. This made the managers happy plus they were asked to come up with solutions, and after six months, GK met all their customer requirements with the solutions the team developed and there was a significant growth available. The business also developed the business enterprise of designing and developing the websites for its customers where this business was an accidental development and the managing director created a separate department because of this business which become the most profitable and fastest growing part of GK. (Burnes, 2009:383-395)
According to my own perspective on the above discussed case study, the organisation had three phase of change and this is a phased implementation. Even though the strategies weren't planned and it emerged because of the problems, the approach to the change was planned rather than emergent approach. Inside the first two phase of changes, the company had changes in the organisation but not in the behavioural which resulted in some failures such as poor coordination and cooperation between your teams and managers and also the fighting for the position between managers. These led the business for the third phase of change that was the behavioural change where all the members of the organisation understood and cooperated to interact and also the managin director decided to take decisions after discussing with the appropiate teams.
The human implications of the change process can be noted in the above mentioned research study. When GK want to change their manual system to computerized system, the workers themselves suggested some companies to GK to go over about the CBS system. The managing director gave the responsiblities of CBS system to the group of folks who have been the students analysing GK's requirements to set up the systems and write softwares for the system. All the organisation changes that were manufactured in the first two phases and the behavioural change which were made in the 3rd phase were accepted by the individuals in the organisation. According to (Burnes, 2004) Lewin was interested to investigate the origins for change and he wants to comprehend why people dislike change. Lewin's theories includes about the planned change embarked by the business and unintended change that happens suddenly due for some contingencies, the three stage model (Unfreeze-movement-refreeze) and models of changes. However in this research study, the organisation does not have any individuals who resisted change.
According to (CMSI Lectures, 2010, Week 4, Slide 16) Mintzberg's definition of strategy as five 'P' s' can be applied on this research study as a prescriptive stream because the strategy preceds change and implementation flows from the strategic plan. Some of the plans involved in the GK's strategy was to make the manual systems computerized, meet the customer requirements and create a good team in the organisation. A number of the ploys involved were to provide customers with graphic design service and fulfill all kind of customer needs. The positioning of GK's place in the market is high and they are among the finest among in providing creative web development for the clients.
In contrast to the planned approach, the example of Volvo's approach which is one the best Swedish automobile manufacturer to reorganising vehicle production from the original ways of car assembly can be studied as an approach to change as emergent. The decisions are based from the workers of the company and it is completely based on the group work where Volvo's method of change is unique in its manner in which it considers human-centered approach to work.
A consultant is someone who is having skills that will vary or unique plus they have different perspective on a concern. The reasons for by using consultancy approach includes requirement of extra staff resources, on the temporary basis, need for expert help and knowledge to deal some situations, look differently in regards to a particular situation and for outside thoughts and opinions and disinterested information. (Nachimuthu, 23 November 2010). Inside the above research study, since nobody in the organisation were aware of the changes to be brought, the managing director approached a lecturer at a polytechnic who is the friend of printing manager, in which the lecture suggested one of is own student studying business can become a consultant for the company's improvements. The student worked as a consultant, studied the business for just two months and produced a report of the organisations's finding to the managing director and the printing manager that was the basis for the change in the organisation.
Management involves doing things right whereas leadership involves doing the right things. Management is approximately maintaining stability and leadership is about bringing the change. Management processes concentrate on today's and leadership processes give attention to the near future. Management processes involves implementing policies and procedures whereas leadership processes involves creating a culture based on shared values. Management processes uses the power of their position and leadership processes uses the non-public power. Leadership roles get strengths with different personality types. (CMSI Lectures, 2010, Week 7, Slide 21). For instance, the case study which i was using in the seminar about the Shell Company fostering its new level of individual power can be studied. The leadership skills and personality types of Chris Knight were discussed. The case study explains the strategies followed by Knight. Chris knight was a good leader with skills such as motivation, knowledge of the business and ability to manage the change and system implementations that turn around the growth of Shell. (CMSI Seminars, 2010, Week 7)
Whether if it is planned or emergent method of change, if it is at individual, group or organisation level change, or incremental or continuos change, there must be one person to manage the change and take responsibility of the change. Change agent is the one who takes that responsibility who are able to be considered a managers, external or internal consultants or it can be a team. (Burnes, 2004) states that 'Expect the unexpected' might be the motto of most change agents because the change agents should manage to dealing with the unexpected. EASILY was an agent of change in the Heathrow Terminal 5 project, I'd have tested the computerized baggage system with an increase of load and could have given training to all staffs in how to get to the parking area and especially how to handle the baggage system. I'd have not compromised on testing as the chief executive of BA did on the Terminal 5 project. (Massey, 2008).
It can be concluded from the above discussion on various issues of change, its implication on human as an individual and groups within an organisation, the different types of approaches to change, the need of consultants and importance of leadership that the data of change management is inevitable in any organisation for an effective system implementation where the GK research study is an example. The need of change management, its relationship with systems implementation and its importance in IT is justified from the above discussions.
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