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(Part 1) Applying Eight-Step Methodology to Utility Projects

Updated: Aug 13, 2019

In this series of blog posts, we will discuss applying John Kotter's "Eight-Steps to Change" methodology to Utility Projects.

Change Readiness is often imperfect in execution, as it requires all stakeholders to come to terms with their new end-state. It involves decision-making by leaders who are trying to make peace with unknown outcomes and commitment to ambiguous ROI. Change Readiness postures the organization for compliance that challenges norms, to include the professional day-to-day activities of affected stakeholders. In the past, utilities have readied themselves for change with a heavy communications agenda, not knowing what reaction will take place. Not knowing the reaction of people can incentivize managers and executives to slow walk change; for the fear that the wrong outcome will be a result of an initiative they support. This narrative will talk about a unique experience applying John Kotter’s Eight Steps of Change to the utility space, some easy wins and the challenges Five Forces Consulting faced with an unlikely group of stakeholders.

More importantly, this blog post will discuss how these challenges were overcome, the overall outcome and takeaways we think are important. In this scenario, we were deploying IT Service Management (ITSM) software into operational elements of the utility. This video briefly explains what ITSM is.

Easy Wins.

The project was implemented in five phases; each of which had an OCM component. Professional OCM resources did not come into the fold of the project until the tail of phases I – II. The first two phases were the easy part of the project; software was installed on everyone’s PC that enabled direct communication with the computer help desk.

When Five Forces Consulting onboarded, we campaigned all of the Project Managers (PMs) in PMO to celebrate wins and show them off as part of the greater Eight-Step change model (step 6).

Step 6 of 8 - Celebrate Short Term Wins

Luckily for us, convincing the ITSM PM was not hard. The PM went big, with a catered lunch. He recognized people for their efforts and created an overall good feeling about achieved milestones. This successful celebration made people feel good about change they participated in and were already enjoying the benefits of. It also gave the PM an opportunity to look good by giving credit to the people who helped him. Celebrating this short-term win had another, tactical, OCM function: it gave attention to what would come next in the project. The vision was to create a lasting discipline around ITIL change configuration. ITSM’s software, Cherwell, was the tool to allow change requests to take place. OCM was fully embedded to take on phases III – V. During these phases, the utility’s leadership was slow to make a directive which made using the new software mandatory.

Next: Some unique challenges...


Copyright © 2019 - Five Forces Consulting, Inc.

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