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How do I choose a change project?

Posted by daveg on Friday, June 04, 2010 at 12:27 PM

“We need to change everything right away!” is a typical reaction to the results of a walk-through. Many processes emerge as burdensome and confusing when viewed from the customer perspective. If you have completed a walk-through, chances are you have identified more than one process that you want to change immediately.

We recommend that you work on one change at a time. You’ll be applying the scientific method: changing one component of a complex process and measuring its impact on the larger system. By collecting and analyzing data, you will have a way to determine if the change is an improvement—before you move on to the next change project.

Consider the following as you make the decision on what to tackle first:

Guarantee success for your first change project: pick something easy to change and easy to implement. Think about a change that both staff members and clients will appreciate, such as reducing excess paperwork. The NIATx promising practices have a proven track record of success—try one at your organization. Remember, success begets success, so an early win will build support for additional changes.

What keeps the CEO awake at night? If asked that question, many leaders might comment on the financial health of the organization. If the project addresses problems that concern the executive director, she or he will actively support the project, helping to make it a success. Test a change that you anticipate will improve customer service and potentially increase revenue.

Make it a Change Team effort. Putting together a team with a variety of view points can help identify what is the most immediate need, what will be the easiest early win, and what will have a great impact. Include a client who can provide the customer perspective, as well as people from all levels of staff. Click here for more information on how to form a Change Team.

Collect data. Think about how you will measure the impact of your change. You will need to collect data before, during, and after your change to know if your change is an improvement. Pencil and paper are all you need. Click here for more information on collecting data.

Contact us! We are available to answer your questions about deciding what to change, how to form a change team, or how to collect data. Send us an email at

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