Change FAQs: Size Matters Webinar - Finding the perfect team size for your transformation
Updated: Nov 2, 2021
Full of conversational banter and many laughs, last week I partnered with Transformation, Projects and Change recruitment expert Paul McCann from Ambition for a relaxed and interactive lunchtime webinar on finding the perfect team size for your transformation.
The webinar was designed for leaders, talent and recruiters to explore the trends we're seeing in the Change industry as we move into 2022, and how to set transformations up for success by pulling together a winning project team.
As always, we got a bunch of amazing questions and couldn't get through all of them so I've popped them as FAQs below.
** Missed the webinar? ** You can watch the free replay here and the interactive survey which will feed into a complimentary Future of Change whitepaper you'll receive.
Now, onto the questions:
Q. Hi Paul and Lata, question from me. Do you think there should be separate teams for Business Analysis, Change Management, Project Management etc – or should it be one ‘combined’ team with 1 BA, 1 Change Manager, 1 Change Analyst, 1 Project Manager etc?
I answered this one on the webinar but now I'm reading the question again, I'm not sure I had understood it properly! If we're talking about like all the transformation, project and change resources in a function/business unit/organisation, then it's up to you if you want to have separate practices or if you want to bundle all the skillsets and specialisations together in one team. Either way (and this is the more important part): build awareness and appreciation of all the skillsets. Teach BAs what a Changie does, and let Change Managers know what PMs take care of. Don't assume that every specialist understands how it works in that team.
I remember going to an Intro to UX night at General Assembly several years ago and it was just so eye-opening to properly understand what a User Experience (UX) designer is, their skillsets, how they go about their work, and how you can best partner them. Evermore, I've shouted from the rooftops how valuable UX designers are, and funny story - that's actually what sparked the idea for my Intro to Change Management webinar!
If we're talking about on one specific project, then absolutely all these professionals would usually become a combined "core team": PM, Change, BA, plus adding in any other specialists detailed in the webinar. What a dream team!
Q. This sounds like a 'centralised' view of resources - what about orgs that are very de-centralised?
Decentralised organisations can do super well by bringing in different transformation, project and change talent to sit in specialised functions or straddle programs of work. It becomes more about the value the specialists bring, rather than the reporting line they adhere to. Setting up guilds or communities of practice is a powerful way to create threads and connections and shared learnings across the decentralised organisation (and prevent portfolio and project clashing, because if there's one thing a good Changie loves, it's efficiency and leveraging existing programs of work where possible!).
Q. How would you identify a good slashie who can utilise all their skills, compared to someone who is jack/jill of all trades but master of none?
Paul answered this on the webinar - it's through the examples and stories they are able to tell about how they used their diverse skills in different situations. We call these "behavioural questions" and you really want to keep an ear out for real practical demonstration and explanation, not just buzz words or talking through the theoretic process or model. My add? When someone has actually used their diverse skills AND enjoys using them, there'll be a passion and a buzz as they talk through their experiences. Attitude is everything!
Q. With Covid - people have learned the benefits of flexibility - will this convert into contracting being more desirable?
I'm a huge advocate of contracting, I believe it's how we'll see more roles structured in the future of work, and I really encourage the students on my Leading Successful Change program to consider it as a path of employment. Especially when there's so many amazing Change recruiters out there to help find you gigs and the market is as hot as it is right now! Contracting is a much more flexible way of working, but it takes courage to leave the "perceived" stability of permanent employment. I say "perceived" because... well, I've never been out of a job when I was contracting! We talked about this more in the webinar - so keep an ear out for that decision on "employment type".
Q. I have a question, I'm also seeing some candidates who are less willing to move towards fixed term or permanent arrangements. They like the diversity that contract roles present. What would be another key pull factor that you didn't mention before to move towards perm arrangements?
Contracting provides a fantastic opportunity to have variety, growth and challenge. And your best talent are looking for that - it's often why they're working in transformation and change in the first place! If you're a leader who is keen to get their contractors to consider permanent arrangements, really be strategic and potentially build one or more of these options into the offer:
salary and benefits - make it worth their while!
variety from the outset i.e. "We'll ensure we move you to a new project every 3-6 months so you get variety and the opportunity to work with different teams and parts of the business."
part-time work arrangements such as 3 days per week - they can pick up some freelance or consulting work on the other days to hit that variety thirst, I've submitted Secondary Employment requests before when I've been on fixed term.
shorter fixed term with a higher pay - i.e. 8 months may be more appealing than 12 months!
paid training in future of work skillsets like: Agile, automation, Artificial Intelligence (AI), data science, data visualisation, visual facilitation, UX, Customer Journey Mapping, my Leading Successful Change program, etc.
Q. What metrics do you use to evaluate the size of the project team? Budget? No. of processes/transaction volume? Are there any trends towards the establishment of a scorecard to determine the size of the Change team?
This is an amazing question and I certainly know of Enterprise Change functions that do have basic ready reckoners around how many Change resources there are, and which projects get Change support and at what capacity (100%, 50%, 25%). You often won't know enough about the change in the early stages to use something like "transaction volume". Instead you can make decisions based on:
How many business units are involved the change?
What's the scale of the change - how many people are impacted?
What types of change will there be in the transformation - technology, process, operating model, behaviours, skills, etc.?
There's so many variables to help you decide!
My guidance would be to start from a different place. It's not about how many resources you have - it's about the outcome you want to achieve and the experience you want people to have. This will determine the type and number of specialists you bring in. For example, after properly scoping a change and being outcome- and experience-led, you might find that it's better to trade 3 x Change Managers for a Change Manager, a Process Analyst, a Comms Specialist and a Project Coordinator, and draw on some internal resources to help with UX and Training. It all comes down to scoping well - and scoping in this case doesn't just mean size or scale, but instead is complexity, change risk, and the vision you have for the change. It might be ironic for me as a Change expert to saying that... but I know having an amazing Process Analyst or Ops Lead can lead to a much more successful and embedded change!
If you still haven't watched the webinar, click here to watch it. The FAQs will make so much more sense! And can't wait to hear your thoughts in the interactive survey because this Future of Change whitepaper is going to be EPIC!
Lata Hamilton is a Change Leadership expert and the creator of Leading Successful Change, a 6-week course that will grow your confidence to lead change end-to-end so you can have the influence and impact you want. Find out more and register for the program here.