9 steps to effective change management

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By continually enhancing your application, you’ll improve adoption, broaden usage, and improve your user’s overall experience. To make sure you’re making those changes that will have the biggest impact on your business, you need a product release strategy that will “bubble up” those enhancements that will keep your application—and your users—performing at their peak.
    Your users have lots of ideas and requests for functionality. And salesforce.com releases new features threetimes a year (see“6 steps to making the most of each release”). Because you can’t do everything at once, how can you make sure you focus on those product enhancements that most effectively drive user adoptionand have the biggest impact on your organization—and your users’ day-to-day jobs?Here are 9 steps toward a successful change management and product release strategy:1.   Get a strategy2.   Collect input3.   Get a sponsor4.   Define scope and impact5.   Prioritize6.   Configure and test7.   Communicate and train users8.   Deploy9.   Follow up Step 1: Get a strategy A core tenet for initial releases is “keep it simple.” You can always add features and process improvementsafter the application is live. And let’s be honest—not every request should be incorporated into yourdeployment. The scope and level of effort may be too great, the request may not align with your businessgoals, or the change may have a negative impact on some users.To determine which user requests—and/or seasonal release features—you’ll implement, you need astrategy. Part of that strategy is to identify which changes can be made quickly and easily, and which needto be reviewed and approved by your change management group. Below is an example of a releasemanagement strategy that categorizes changes into three types of releases, depending on whether they canbe made quickly or should be scheduled for future releases. In most cases, features from the seasonalreleases are quick to implement and could be released immediately.   Abstract By continually enhancing your application,you’ll improve adoption, broaden usage, andimprove your user’s overall experience.To make sure you’re making those changesthat will have the biggest impact on your business, you need a product release strategythat will “bubble up” those enhancements thatwill keep your application—and your users—performing at their peak. By Sharon Bartol 9 steps to effective change management  9 steps to effective change managementBEST PRACTICE 2 Step 2: Collect input There are lots of ways to get feedback from your user community—the important thing is that you do it! Here are some features of Salesforce CRM that will help:    Use the ideas functionality of Salesforce CRM to create a two-way communication channel between yourchange management group and your user community. Users love it—they can always see the latest statusof their ideas; for example, Under Consideration, Approved, or Rejected.    Use the case object to capture internal enhancement requests. You can collect all the information youneed to evaluate the request. Then use the built-in report and dashboard functionality to monitor thenumber, type, and frequency of specific requests. Step 3: Get a sponsor Having an engaged executive sponsor is key to an effective change management process. The sponsor willhelp guide the change management group by defining the process and establishing strategic objectives. Thesponsor should also contribute to the communication plan and help define the message to your users todrive adoption. Step 4: Define scope and impact Once you have a list of enhancement ideas, determine the level of effort, scope, and impact of each idea.For global or cross-functional deployments, it’s critical to align processes between functional areas. Theseprocesses should be reviewed by the change management group to avoid negatively affecting otherfunctional areas.This step also provides an excellent opportunity to engage with your users. It’s a good idea to scope out theproposed features with a specific use case in mind and to shadow your users’ day-to-day routines to predictthe effects of any changes. Step 5: Prioritize Incorporating every enhancement request and idea is just not feasible. That’s why defining the overallimpact is important in helping the change management group and sponsor decide which enhancements toimplement, which to target for a later date, and which to reject. To make those decisions, consider using thevoting capabilities of salesforce.com’s ideas functionality to give users a voice in this process.  9 steps to effective change management For More Information Contact your account executive to learnhow we can help you accelerate your CRM success. Step 6: Configure and test Depending on your Salesforce edition, you’ll have access to one or more sandbox environments with acopy of your production data. You can use the sandbox to configure and test any enhancements andchanges before deploying them to your production environment. This step is critical to a smooth andsurprise-free deployment. Step 7: Communicate and train users Don’t derail your new release by not having a communication or training plan. Set employee expectationsabout the upcoming changes, such as when they’ll happen and how users will be trained. And be sure toanswer the question, “What’s in it for me?”    Take advantage of your sandbox environment to provide a real-life training environment for your users.Depending on the complexity of your release, you have several training options, including online trainingfrom salesforce.com and the release notes. For complex implementations, consider hands-on classroomtraining. For very simple implementations, an email notification or FAQ document may be enough.Check out all thetraining optionsavailable through salesforce.com. Step 8: Deploy Once your new release is configured and tested and your users are trained, it‘s time to push your newrelease to your production environment.    Use the Eclipse IDE to manage configuration changes.    Use a browser and Eclipse Cloud Deploy to manage Force.com code (Apex), schema, Force.com pages(Visualforce), and other changes between your sandbox and production environments.If you’re not sure which option is right for you, check with a technical resource at salesforce.com. Step 9: Follow up Finally, measure the success of your new release and identify areas you can enhance in the future. Afteryou deploy, reconnect with your power users or survey a broader base of your user community to start thecycle again. This approach helps to keep your releases fresh and timely—you’ll always deliver thosefeatures that will make the biggest difference to your user community. BP_ChangeMan_2010-04-15  
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