Spreadsheets are all too often the “tool” for managing and tracking activities in Change Management (and many other disciplines too). Microsoft Excel is a great solution for so many activities and Change Management teams will have a plethora of templates in Excel. However, there are other ways to achieve the desired outcome without having to fill out the ever increasingly complex spreadsheet. There are some great tools, software and solutions being developed and available, often free online, that can help and are easy to use, access and display.
Stakeholder Engagement is the Change Management activity to identify, monitor, act and report on people that are impacted by, and/or can influence the outcome or progress of a project or programme. Invariably, a spreadsheet is used to list all the stakeholders involved and against each person information is entered. What information entered is dependent on the project and can include anything from static roles and contact details, to dropdown colour-coded lists on perceived understanding or resistance to the programme, to more specific actions on next steps to get them more, or indeed less, involved. After several months, updating can be an onerous job with lesser visibility or interest.
The spreadsheet is always valuable and often cannot be replaced as a contractual deliverable. However, another tool that can be very useful in Stakeholder Engagement is trello (trello.com). This can be used very effectively to do all the necessary updating when engaging with stakeholders. We used this very successfully on a project recently. The change team were out in the field meeting people and were able to enter short updates against people or teams using the app on their smartphones. These were often short messages: “Attended Tom’s management meeting. Positive feedback. Some concerns about training timelines. Asked for regulate slot on agenda.” The interface is very user friendly and other team members can easily check updates in real-time.
It is great see some new tools and techniques being made available and at Change Strategy we love to innovate and dare to be different.