From "how it managed to be 21 months behind schedule after only 24 months."
This isn't so much change managment as don't change anything management....
A reader isn't impressed with El Reg making fun of the job that requires applicants to be "responsible for shaping and managing the execution of the change ambition". It surfaced in this story, about how the BBC's Digital Media Initiative cost £38.2m, instead of making savings, and how it managed to be 21 months behind schedule …
"Change Management" is a highly important part of most large projects. For Mr. O's education, it involves actually getting people to USE the system, properly and well, and efficiently. It consists of designing new work and process flows (i.e., swim lane diagrams, Six Sigma, etc.) to take advantage of the new system, gathering user input into the design process, ensuring that the business areas surrounding the new system can work with it well, and ensuring proper training and certification in the new system, etc.. This is not a small thing - large projects fail equally often because a new system could not be USED properly when put in place as fail because they can't be built.
Good, professional change management consultants can make or break a large project. The only problem occurs when CM consultants become escalated to project managers, because then in their minds the ENTIRE PROJECT is now a change management exercise, and the tech bits are just, well, trivial. Obvious. Not worth worrying about. Sometimes they skip the PM role entirely and become account managers, which is even worse in my experience - at least as PMs they would have learned how limited their worldview was after a few balls ups....
The first thing I think when I hear "Change management" is ITIL - as in, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ITIL#Change_Management. It's not "just" traditional management, or "just" technical/implementation work.
Given that ITIL is a UK.gov invention (and a pretty good one at that, at least IMO) I'm surprised it didn't even merit being dismissed in this piece...
change management; Usually a set of clerks used to hinder and subvert communications between system users, technical staff and vendors. Goal; making sure users and customers really frustrated and angry. Dont get me started about ITIL, yet. If you have to make sure the system gets used, the organisation and system has already failed. Using new system efficiently then follows from this.
I have yet to see a "new" system that was not a disjointed mess of non-intuitive, disfunctional crap until at least revision 3, patch level 2.
BTW, if this article is a FOTW, it is most inadequate. I will really have to do one on ITIL, that happy hunting ground for people with no skills and diseased with a deep desire to lord it over the competent trying to do something constructive. ITIL, that b*st*ds paradise for the dull and stupid with too much time and influence. Only those with a love of gibberish, tautology, hair splitting or processed obsessed could like it.
The technical people are the ones who actually have a clue and do something tangible. We're not the ones who endlessly produce and shuffle paper around that no one reads or the ones who chuck 2 or 3 silly buzzphrases into every sentence they utter in a pitiful attempt to disguise their pig ignorance and convince others that they have their finger on the pulse.
Thanks! One can only hope that this is the start of something new rather than a 'flash in the pan' episode.
Managing Change in an Organisation is a whole lot different to normal management.
Managing Change often involves changing the culture, ethics and just about everything in an organisation in order to meet the objectives of the change.
If you go at this like a Bull in a China Shop then you will most likely piss a whole lot of people off and if you go too far they will quit.
Obviously, this might be an undisclosed objective of the change but you do risk having the few talented people you might have being the first out of the door leaving the dregs behind. This is a risk.
Another risk that you have to face these days is Employment Tribunals and Constructive Dismissal cases by the shed load.
Experienced Change Manager will be very clued up on what is legal and what is not. General Managers IMHO are in the main totally ignorant about this area of employment law.
Then you have notice periods. How many managers would try to enforce them? All that a savvy employee has to do is say.. 'I'm going to work for your biggest competitor' and you will most liekly show them the door. All this stuff has to be considered by these Change Managers.
No, I'm not one. I have however been on the end of 'Downsizing', 'Rightsizing' or whatever you deem to call it.
I've got me coat on already. Infact, I didn't take it off.
"Managing Change in an Organisation is a whole lot different to normal management. Managing Change often involves changing the culture, ethics and just about everything in an organisation in order to meet the objectives of the change."
No, that's part of normal Management.
"Experienced Change Manager will be very clued up on what is legal and what is not.... General Managers IMHO are in the main totally ignorant about this area of employment law."
Would you put the manager of a finance dept in charge of the HR dept? Would you put the manager of a hospital trust in charge of a car factory? Would you put Alex ferguson in charge of the England Rugby squad?
In the same way you have managers who specialise in different areas of business or different entire industries, you can have people who specialise in managing change. Is that so difficult to grasp?
It's the same with journalist surely, being a 'Journalist' does not qualify you to write about any subject.
I believe you are looking at "Managers" sort of like we used to look at "Systems Administrators." Sysadmins needed to know about programming, scripting, web design, hardware, software, networking, storage...the lot of it. There are precious few of us left. The .com boom saw MASSIVE projects undertaken which required hundreds of engineers and technicians working on the same IT job. Systems administration became fragmented into "storage administrators," "network administrators," "application administrators" and so forth.
This has really started to happen to "management" as well. People thought "it's too hard to be a 'jack of all trades' manager, so let's break up the job of management into smaller, specialised roles." This is where you get "project managers, change managers, personnel managers, time managers, etc." from. The “manager” at the top of the stack doesn’t have to worry about the details of knowing how to do all the sub-jobs well; they simply act as an aggregator.
Like a modern systems administrator, who contracts out everything – or has a cadre of specialists to call upon – modern managers have become little more than communications specialists. They exist to route communications traffic between the various individuals. In a perfect world where everyone were all grown up and able to put aside their egos, this would never be necessary.
In the real world, people are puck effing poor at communication. No matter how professional the individuals are, if you get more than six or seven working together, there are going to be communication difficulties, rivalries and even simple things such as issues that arise form two people having different working definitions of the same word.
The entire concept is pointless, it’s childish, and I think it’s really a symptom of a greater malaise: that the people in charge of things simply aren’t “individual enough” to knuckle down and do some actual hard work. Whether it be systems administration or management, there is in my opinion no excuse for not taking the time to fully and properly explore as much of your field as is reasonably possible. Bring in a consultant or specialist for the gaps you simply can’t fill…but for the love of $deity…
…don’t suck at your job so much you need a “change manager.” Change managers are the storage administrators of the management field. A decent systems administrator will know what a good storage admin knows. (And that is an *ssload, of info.) It’s pretty fundamental to doing the rest of the systems administration job, though.
A good manager should know change management. But maybe I’m just too old for this modern apathetic, specialised work environment.
According to Wikipedia:
"Change management is a structured approach to shifting/transitioning individuals, teams, and organizations from a current state to a desired future state."
"As a multidisciplinary practice that has evolved as a result of scholarly research, Organizational Change Management should begin with a systematic diagnosis of the current situation in order to determine both the need for change and the capability to change."
Oh, my mistake. EFFECTIVE management.
I suspect it's a job title made necessary by increasing beaurocracy and ineffective middle management. Too many line-toeing directionless droids promoted into people-management positions with no clue as to how to progressively run a business, beyond following simple instructions like 'If employee is late, bellow until apology forthcoming.'
If an organisation decides there is a requirement for 'Change Management', I'd agree, but only in literal terms - they need to change their management.
Change management is specifically (wait for it) management of business/process change, as opposed to management of a steady-state/"business as usual" service. Most management frameworks consider it a specific job function, even if carried out by the same manager.
So the BBC job ad says that experience of business-as-usual management isn't enough, because the job is specifically about change.
The slaggable angle in the ad is thus:
"extensive knowledge of implementing change programmes in large and complex organisations to successfully deliver a change programme as part of the Digital Media Initiative"
"Implementing change programmes to deliver change programmes" is either:
B) the onion of bureaucracy gone mad -- "we need a change manager to manage the change to the change management procedure that manages change of change management within the management of change management changes"....
Lots of people with a "manager" job title are actually "administrators". They can run the business according to the existing goals and rules, but no more. It's mundane work, but somebody has to do it.
So people who are actually real managers, who work to improve things, have to inflate their title to "change manager".
It's no coincidence that MBA actually stands for "Master of Business ADMINISTRATION"...
And there I think you've hit the nail squarely on the head - in the 70's and early 80's most large companies shed a vast array of "middle management" positions in the effort to become "lean and mean" without ever really considering what those middle managers actually did... Douglas Adams effectively satirized them as "telephone handset sanitizers".
These days the executive functions of the traditional middle manager are performed by corporate management (often badly) who create new positions like "Change Managers" to effectively shift the blame. Meanwhile, most of the actual work (as opposed to management) that the middle management used to perform is now being done by the lower level workers who have very little reason to care to the data produced has any meaning.
Thus we're all "more more productive" these days - yet wonder why being more productive is not translating into better pay or working conditions ... this attitude (IMHO) goes a long way to explaining the recent banking fiasco.
This just dropped into my in-box:
"I wanted to share with you two candidates we recently interviewed. Candidate X is an Office Assistant/Bookkeeper and is looking for $42,000 annually. Candidate Y is an Executive Assistant/Office Manager and is looking for $65,000 annually."
Candidate X performs a useful function - worth $42k
Candidate Y doesn't do much but has an MBA - worth $65k
So what's "Z", a "Change Manager" worth?
Think you're right there. My observation of shedding middle management and flatter organisation structures is that for every two middle managers an organisation makes redundant they hire three project managers and change managers.
The main difference is that everything then gets silo managed, and no-one is watching the big picture. Change now gets seen as some wonderful goal in itself, as opposed to a necessary evil as part of running the business.
Different disks had different capacities depending.
The BBC Micro used 256byte sectors and started with SSSD40T (single sided single density - 10 sectors per track - 40Ttrack, so 100K), later became DSSD80T (400K). With the WD1770 we then got double-density disks which were sometimes 16 sectors per track (640K, eg Solidisk, Acorn) or 18 sectors per track (720K, eg Opus).
The IBM PC and clones typically used 512byte sectors and went to "quad density". The 5.25" floppies maxed out at 1200Kb - commonly called 1.2M (80 tracks, 15 sectors per track, 512 bytes per sector, double sided). 3.5" floppies were 1440Kb - commonly 1.4M or 1.44M (80 tracks, 18 sectors per track, 512bytes per sector, double sided).
So the capacity of the floppy depended on the type of floppy (density), number of tracks and whether the drive was single or double sided.
Pretty poor FOTW TBH...
Very little by way of pointless capitalisation. No random swearing or name calling. Actually makes a good fist of getting his POV across....
Yes, pretty poor effort I'm afraid.
If this is the best FoTW you're currently generating AO, may I suggest you try harder!
"In this case the BBC is seeking to fill this temporary position with a senior manager with broad and extensive knowledge of implementing change programmes in large and complex organisations to successfully deliver a change programme as part of the Digital Media Initiative."
Is that the BBC looking for someone to leave them a production and director instructions [well, apparently it is only a temp they looking for/need] on how to ensure that TeleVision and BroadBandCasting properly program nations to speak peace unto nations ..... which is an art phorm they have definitely lost.
The only saving grace though, is that no one else in the mainstream has it either. What we appear to have nowadays, as a prime default global standard, is an overabundance of mindless mediocrity fueling incompetent idiocy, which makes nations easy prey for smart vultures and rogue sharks alike.
As interesting as the patient explanations of this "change management" thing and where the amazingly elegant through sheer simplicity methodologies like six sigma, prince II, itil, and such fit into this picture, I have not the time to apply said methods to figure out the obvious: That advert was well-deserving of the ridicule.
It isn't the first time that sheer bad practice has given something a bad name so different names were sought. It isn't the first time that people found they didn't understand the field so broke it up into formalisms. It isn't the first time that other people amazingly get by without all that verbiage.
Change Management in IT is seen as separate from Management because the latter managed to eggregiously fail, so people figured out how to work out systems to sell as silver bullets and now we're stuck with the resulting formalistic complexity employed to sort out the intrinsic but ill-understood complexity inherent in the job. Oh woe is us. But it's good eats for the consultants selling it.
I haven't actually bothered to decipher all the crap in the advert, as I didn't need to to get the gist: The bbc or at least that digital media division is struggling to change its organisation but cannot for those who must make it happen somehow aren't very good at their jobs at all, and this has been the case for too long and managed to get entrenched everywhere. Including in the thinking about changing the organisation. Yet they won't risk burning it down to the ground and start over, either. So they need a scapegoat. A freshly hired professional scapegoat with all the right tick boxes ticked. And who knows, maybe this new hire will make pigs fly, too.
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Really Andrew this will not do! FoTW? FTW! (again) The really does not qualify.
What we really need is a Reg Standard Unit of flamieness and only e-mails that achieve a certain pre-defined quotient (possibly annually adjusted to account for flame inflation) may be considered for the title FoTW. El Reg readers deserve such quality control.
Naturally as I am only a humble reader I am not qualified to determine the precise nature of this measure. However it may include such factors as:
(i) statistical analysis of the deviation of key-presses away from the intended character;
(ii) profanity/capitalisation quotient;
(iii) induced sympathetic reaction index (possibility of apoplexy or derisive laughter affecting the reader);
Get the big brains on the job!
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1) Change management: an administrative function trying to sound like an executive one.
What kind of meaningful interpretation can we assign to this phrase? Doesn't everyone know that "change management" has a much to with boardroom antics as "bug management"?
2) This is what was behind much of the Web 2.0 blather, too.
I thought it was joss sticks, and lots of free money sloshing around due to incredibly retarded credit policy by the Clinton / Greenspan horsemen of the econocalypse.
3) Large companies (such as newspapers, for example) deferred to their technicians to produce the innovation and strategy - only to find they had over-promoted a cadre of bureaucrats.
Doesn't make sense from any angle. Does this mean that "innovation and strategy" is coming from the executive level? That technicians are actually bureaucrats which may get over-promoted because they are innovative? Questions, questions....
4) It's just a theory.
Your attitude needs correction. The headmaster shall see you now.
It is written "bureaucracy" ..and not, as some of the exotic variations beginning with "beau" ( penned no doubt by those with MBA or similar Mickey Mouse "qualifications" ) seen above ..would lead the illiterate to believe .
@BingBong ..I'm in total agreement with Old Man - Grey Fleece ;-) kudos à toi
"I know what plain old "management" is, and it has involved dealing with "change" ever since the earliest family businesses were formed thousands of years ago. So I neither know what "change management" is, nor do I care."
It would sem that the root of AO's confusion is believing that conventional Management deals with change - when in the majority of cases the exact opposite is true, Management will generally do all it can precisely to AVOID change of any sort.
"We've always done it this way..."
Management is focused on the Steady Course, not wishing to rock the boat (or try something outside of their limited experience).
Change Management is, as others have pointed out, specifically focussing on Change and (and here's the important part) how to make it happen in the least disruptive / most beneficial way, ensuring everyone understands what is being changed, why it is being changed, how it will directly benefit them, and what they need to do to help.
Significantly different from conventional Management as a whole.
What you're talking about, though, is /bad/ management. We've seen a lot of that, to the point that various branches of management started to call themselves something else, like "business administration". But it's all management.
That there are loads of managers not actually managing but busily building little empires, fighting "rival" empires in or outside the same organisation, "resisting change" against all reason, and so on and so forth, really is quite immaterial. You can't make the /bad/ management go away by taking your focus on a tiny little area of management and getting really really good at it, while at the same time leaving the rest unfixed. It's like, oh, mopping the floor without fixing the leaks. By any other name.
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Change management is something invented by auditors, - who are bastards made of piss - to annoy the people who do the actual work. Basically it means you can't fix something which is b0rked until it's been documented, approved, subjected to an extensive QA process, buried in soft peat for six months and recycled as firelighters. Even if it's just adding someone's name to a distribution list. Much of this is the fault of Messrs. Sarbanes and Oxley who, in a world with real justice, would bludgeoned to DETH by an army of angry shovel-wielding BOFHs.
PS: To Homeland Security, that's a JOKE, m'kay.
And with this statement you illustrate why your opinion does not matter : 'So I neither know what "change management" is, nor do I care.'
If you are supposed to be an IT journo, then (a) you should know, and (b) you should care. You have done yourself and El Reg a great disservice with this single statement....
That it was a bunch of incomprehensible twaddle does not mean that Change Management, properly practiced, is also a bunch of incomprehensible twaddle. Understood an properly implemented CM practices go a long way toward helping organizations change without disrupting operations.
@Mr. Larrington: I rather suspect that you are the sort of twit who has necessitated Change Management practices in organizations of all sizes. I recall the person who bitched the most about our CM process at the last job being the one who was always breaking shit because he neither talked to others about what he was planning to do, nor told them after he had. CM doesn't require an extensive process to add a name to a mailing list. It only requires authorization from the owner of the mailing list before adding a new recipient to the ml. Of course, if there have been administrative twits who've bungled the simple process, it is likely to get more complicated. Not because making it more complicated solves the problem, but because managers are prevented from taking the proper course of corrective action: firing the twits who are causing the problem.
There is ITSM/ITIL Change Management - which is NOT being advertised at the BBC
Then there is organisational Change Management which IS being advertised at the BBC.
These are very different things and everyone here is really showing themselves up to be quite ignorant.
Every iso-9wotsit manual ought have, as the very first chapter right after the introduction explaining what this here stack of document is for, a chapter documenting how the document is to be changed. Like the rest of the thing, the how isn't really important, but the fact that it exists as the book on how to do it, is.
This is the essence of what makes CM useful as a delineatable subject within management: You know where you are, you know where you're going, and you can now work out the steps, then execute them. A good manager will train whoever report to him, whether that be more managers or sysadmins or whatever, to use CM as a tool. But then, this isn't limited to CM. The top guy, if he's done his job, will let the group go ahead and do their thing like a bunch of winners, and he'll just sit there and nobody'll notice they're doing everything themselves. It's a humble job, really.
This clarity proper application of the CM tool brings is what makes its formalism valuable, and if you can get the clarity without the formalism, that's fine. If you get the formalism without the clarity, you're still milling about but you've muddied up the issue some more. So if your procedures are too involved, then either get rid of them --you're still milling about but are honest about it-- or you fix them to be appropriate for what they're supposed to do.
You, dear reader, now should be able to work out what made the bbc advert so deserving of a good slagging. Oh wait, I spelled that out earlier already. Well, no peeking!
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