Free Organizational Change Management Tasks & Checklist for Change Managers (Free Checklist Download)
Whether you’re a new change practitioner that’s just been assigned a change project position or have decades of experience under your belt delivering change, having a comprehensive change management checklist is essential and saves time.
One request we often receive from thousands of new change managers and project leads is, “How do we get started with our change project?”
Similar questions we hear often when giving demos of our change management software are:
- “Do you have a list of change management process steps?”
- “Where should we tell our new change agents to begin their change management activities?”
- Do you have a ‘Start here’ button for change practitioners?”
- Is there a standardized list of steps to implement change in an organization?
Based on those multiple requests we have received from change managers, change consultants, and project leads, we have put together a list of change management tasks that change practitioners should complete depending on their project.
As pioneers of best change management practices and frameworks, we believe in supporting the change management community where possible. This includes developing and offering best change practices and processes like the change management checklist template, free download, and steps to implement change provided below.
A business change can range from implementing new processes or technology integration to changing the entire culture of an organization. Irrespective of the type of change, change managers need to be familiar with the list of change management steps that may need to be completed.
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Do I Need to Complete All These Change Management Tasks? No, You Don’t!
Not every business change will require you to perform all the organizational change management steps outlined below. Projects that impact a larger group of end-users or projects that are large in scope are often the ones that need most or all of the change management exercises listed below.
This change management process steps guide provides you with a holistic end-to-end view of change management tasks. However, the tasks you will need to complete will be based on the scope, scale, and severity of the change you are supporting.
Where Do These Change Management Steps Come From?
AGS’ senior change manager has more than a decade and a half of change management experience. This includes a thorough understanding of change management basics as well as practical experience with what works and what doesn’t.
In addition, we are always listening to our customers and change communities and have built our products based on their feedback.
All this knowledge and experience, and expert research by corporate training professionals, has gone into the AGS model framework for change management. The steps in the change management procedure below are based upon that AGS Change Management Framework.
This is a 5-phase change model that uses a “manage by deliverables” approach for implementing change management. The phases categorize the change management activities that need to happen to conduct a successful change project from start to finish.
Each phase includes people-based deliverables which require a set of change management tasks to achieve. Our change approach allows the freedom to accomplish those deliverables in the way the change team feels is most optimized. The steps to implement change and enable business process change management are easily scalable to any size or scope of the project and can be used with both Agile and Waterfall approaches.
Change Management Steps (Holistic View)
The image below outlines the various change management tasks needed to complete a typical change project. We will discuss each of these change management process steps in the sections below. Note that these tasks are broken into five segments to match the five change management phases in the comprehensive AGS change management approach.
Phase 1 (Assess Phase) includes those change management activities that you should complete when you first join a project. It is not based on when the project began. A lot of times, change practitioners are brought in when the project is already in progress. Phase 1 is focused on the assessments that you need to complete when you initially hit the ground running to learn about the project and its impacts on the organization.
Phase 2 (Develop Phase) involves the change management steps needed for developing your change management plans and deliverables.
Phase 3 (Deploy Phase) involves the execution of your change management task list. This will include things like the unfreezing stage of change, and engagement with stakeholders, sponsors, change champions, and others.
Phase 4 (Normalize Phase) includes the support and follow-up change management exercises you need to do to ensure the change is adopted and sustained successfully. This will also involve success tracking, among other change management basics.
Phase 5 (Exit Phase) involves the hand-off of process responsibilities (ongoing training, etc.) to a permanent team, and closure of the change management procedure for the project.
► Tip: Click the image below to get a better, larger view.
Checklist Change Management Steps
What are the steps for implementing change management? The end-to-end steps and tasks for an effective change program are listed below.
- Assess the Project/Program
- Conduct Stakeholder Analysis
- Perform Change Impacts’ Assessments
- Complete a Target Audience Analysis
- Conduct a Preliminary Organization Readiness
- Complete a Change Risk Analysis
- Choose Change Approach & Tools
- Develop a Change Management Strategy & Roadmap
- Establish a Change Management Group
- Develop Detailed Change Plans
- Execute Change Plans
- Deploy Change Champions/Agents Network
- Deploy Communications Plan
- Conduct Coaching & Training
- Manage and Resolve Resistance
- Resolve Adoption Roadblocks
- Follow-Up / Support Calls
- Celebrate Successes
- Hand Off Responsibilities
- Final Report & Lessons Learned
See the sections further down on this page for a more detailed overview of these business change steps and phases.
Tip: You can download the list above in a quick reference PDF checklist by clicking on the Change Management Steps & Tasks Checklist at the bottom of this page.
Change Management Process Steps & Tasks
Tip: You can download all of the change management basics below in a quick reference PDF change management checklist template by clicking on the Change Management Steps & Tasks Checklist at the bottom of this page.
(1) Assess the Project/Program
When you initially join a project as a Change Manager or a Project Manager, your first priority should be to conduct a thorough review of the project. The goal of conducting a project assessment is for you to understand the scope, scale, objectives, timeline, and driving factors behind the project. This knowledge enables you to rapidly ramp up and start developing and implementing your change management activities.
(2) Conduct Stakeholder Analysis
Understanding the stakeholders of a project is another important task that you need to complete early on. This is a very important part of an effective change management procedure as it increases the success of your stakeholder engagement and management. Stakeholder analysis involves identifying managers and business leaders that belong to impacted groups. These individuals are referred to as key stakeholders because they have a stake in the success of the business change.
(3) Perform Change Impacts’ Assessments
Conducting a change impact analysis is one of the key tasks that you need to complete as a change practitioner implementing change management. An impact assessment allows you to identify the groups, departments, functions, and job roles that will be impacted by the change. Conducting a change impact assessment will also allow you to identify the specific business processes and legacy technology tools that will be impacted (or replaced) by the change.
(4) Complete a Target Audience Analysis
Audience analysis is the process of assessing a target audience to engage with that audience and fulfill key objectives, goals, and mandates.
This process involves understanding the details of the project’s targeted audience. Whereby a change impact assessment analyzes the departments and job roles that will be impacted, the target audience assessment takes that assessment one step further by identifying the people (the “John Does” and “Jane Does”) that perform the job roles that will be impacted. As part of your assessment steps to implement change, you want to identify the names, emails, departments, contact information, geographic location (important for when it comes time to training), and other individual details.
Read more: Conducting a Target Audience Analysis
(5) Conduct a Preliminary Organization Readiness
An organizational change readiness assessment is the set of tasks that you complete to identify how prepared an organization is for a particular change. The level of change readiness that is assessed will be based on the scale of the change itself, as well as the severity of the impacts.
When a business goes through change, the impacted audience groups need to be prepared and ready for the change. This readiness includes things like the unfreezing stage of change so new behaviors can be adapted to.
(6) Complete a Change Risk Analysis
At the early stages of a project, it is essential for you to do a quick assessment of the risks that the organization will face during this change. Part of this risk assessment will involve identifying any known trouble spots or potential areas for resistance that you’ll need to address when implementing change management.
Read more: Conducting a Quick Change Risk Assessment
(7) Choose Change Approach & Tools
A change management approach, model, and/or framework guides you in the process of change management. Organizations will typically designate a specific approach to be used for a change project or may use a hybrid of more than one change model. You will also need to identify the software tools or spreadsheets you’ll be using to document and analyze your data.
When you create your change management strategy (aka Strategic Playbook), you’ll want to indicate which change approach is being used to govern the project and the tools you plan to use to enable the change team and keep track of your change management task list.
(8) Develop a Change Management Strategy & Roadmap
A change management strategy (aka Strategic Playbook) needs to be developed that will provide stakeholders and leadership with an overview of the various strategies that you will be using for your change management deliverables. This strategy for business process change management includes your communications, engagement, organizational readiness, leadership engagement, training, and post-go-live deliverables.
When developing your strategy, you should also create a change management roadmap during this change management step. Ensure that you align your roadmap to the program’s implementation timeline. The roadmap is an easy way to provide the key information about the change project including deliverables, milestones, dependencies, and more.
See also: Change Management Roadmaps
(9) Establish a Change Management Group
Although not mandatory, it is important for you to establish an Organizational Change Management (OCM) Working Group. Invite members of the program team (Project Managers, Program Managers, Architects, and other resources), as well as change champions and selected stakeholders, to participate in your group. This group will be your mastermind group.
In general, during change management exercises, the roles and responsibilities of the group will include:
- Participating in change management planning and execution. Reviewing and providing feedback on:
- Awareness email communications
- Communication plans and messages
- Training program and curriculum
- Go-live preparations
- Post-go-live change reinforcement activities
- Provide input on your change management tools, templates, plans, and deliverables
- Help you in conducting change impact assessments
- Help in remediating resistance
- Help in connecting Change Lead/resources with key resources, leaders, and managers
(10) Develop Detailed Change Plans
One of the larger undertakings on your change management checklist template will be the development of detailed change management plans. These include plans for several different areas of your change management activities.
- Communications Plan
- Sponsor/Leadership Enablement Plan
- Coaching Plan
- Stakeholder Engagement and Management
- Target Audience Engagement Plan
- Change Champion Networks
- Tracking and Measurement Plan
- Resistance Management Plan
- Training Plan
- Change Team Transfer/Exit Plan
(11) Execute Change Plans
This is the beginning of Phase 3 (Deploy Phase), and it’s where you’ll be taking action and executing the change management procedure and plans you developed during Phase 1 (Assess Phase). Deliver the change management plans that you put together in the sections above.
(12) Deploy Change Champions/Agents Network
A change champion network is a collection of selected individuals from groups that will be impacted by a change. A change champion network is a powerful part of any business process change management; it moves ownership of the change to the business units impacted by the change, which decreases end-user resistance and increases stakeholder buy-in.
Read more: Launching and Managing a Change Network
(13) Deploy Communications Plan
Push out the various communications to all groups you need to communicate with (leaders, stakeholders, sponsors, change champions, departments, etc.) according to the schedule you laid out on your change management task list.
As part of your communications plan, you should include a two-way communication strategy that involves both “Telling” and “Listening. Telling is communicating to people. Listening is hearing what these same people have to say.
(14) Conduct Coaching & Training
Provide the coaching that you identified during your change management process steps in Phase 1 (Assess Phase). This may include coaching for your change agents and change champions, as well as coaching for managers to help them successfully implement necessary change management basics in their departments.
(15) Manage and Resolve Resistance
You’ll deploy your resistance management plan and related change management process steps which should include addressing resistance both proactively and reactively.
(16) Track and Measure Adoption
When it comes to tracking and measuring business process change management, including how employees, managers, or customers are adapting and transitioning through a change, there are two key areas that you need to focus on:
- Change Management Adoption & Enablement KPIs
- Change Metrics
Read more: Change Adoption Metrics & Measurement
(17) Resolve Adoption Roadblocks
After you go live, you’ll have passed the unfreezing stage of change when you’re helping people release old behaviors and replace them with new ones. But people can still revert to old behaviors if you’re not actively addressing adoption roadblocks. You need to continue assessing and identifying resistance and then applying proactive and reactive mitigation plans to overcome resistance to change.
See also: Reinforcing a Change
(18) Follow-Up / Support Calls
This step in implementing change management is vital to ensuring sustained adoption of the change. It includes the following change management tasks:
- Follow up with trainees and managers to identify additional training needs
- Follow up with managers to identify post-deployment issues
- Work with necessary parties to resolve issues and roadblocks
- Conduct support calls, office hours, and post-go-live follow-up training
(19) Celebrate Successes
Celebrate quick wins and early successes:
- Constantly seek out evidence of progress in the project,
- Watch for the achievement of major milestones and identify early successes even if small.
- Organize ways to recognize groups and individuals that have achieved success. Make it public.
- Use normal staff meetings or regularly scheduled department meetings as an avenue for recognition of achievement.
- Ensure that key stakeholders are aware of these achievements and involve managers in the chain of command to award these recognitions.
(20) Hand Off Responsibilities
When a project comes to a close, the change management team will need to transition out of the project. This will be one of the last change management steps that you’ll take before closing out the project.
Part of this transition needs to involve a transfer of responsibilities from the change management team to a designated group that will be determined by the program leads. A designated group might be a group within HR, Program Management Office, or some other group.
Read more: Change Management Team Transition
(21) Final Report & Lessons Learned
One of the most helpful change management exercises you can do at the close of a project is to meet with your change management group to review how the project went and document successes, room for improvement, and other lessons learned.
This information is invaluable when planning future change management activities for new change projects in the future.
Would you like a PDF or Microsoft Word copy of the above change management steps and tasks?
Then click on the change management checklist link below to download our PDF and MS Word versions of the above tasks.
Download Your Change Management Steps & Tasks Checklist – PDF & MS Word
- Download PDF Version of Change Management Checklist
- Download MS Word Version of Change Management Checklist
What are change management steps?
Change management steps include a step-by-step list of the different tasks you need to complete to successfully deliver a change program. These steps include (1) Assess the Project/Program (2) Complete a Change Risk Analysis (3) Perform Change Impacts’ Assessments (4) Conduct Stakeholder Analysis (5) Complete a Target Audience Analysis (6) Conduct a Preliminary Organization Readiness (7) Establish a Change Management Group .. and many more
What are change management tasks?
Change management tasks are the steps you need to complete to plan, develop, deliver, and track the success of a business change program. Change tasks include five key phases: Assess, Develop, Deploy, Normalize and Exit phases.
What is a change management checklist?
A change management checklist is often an MS Word, PDF or spreadsheet view that includes a list of change practitioner tasks and steps that need to be completed for an organizational change program to be successful
Authors: Ogbe Airiodion (Senior Change Management Lead) and Francesca Crolley (AGS Cloud Content Producer)
Content on Airiodion Global Services (AGS)'s Airiodion.com website is copyrighted. Questions? Contact Airiodion Global Services (AGS) .
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