So, you’ve taken the plunge; you’ve made the decision to shake things up and move things on. Change is becoming ever more vital to procurement to ensure compliance, best practice, and maintaining alignment with market trends or government legislation. You know where you want to be, but how do you get there?
The key is largely in sufficient preparation and planning, and there are some key questions that you need to ask yourself, your team/department and your organisation prior to making the change:
Are you ready?
This is one of the most common things to be overlooked when making a big change in any organisation. It’s easy to buy into the benefits of the end goal, but the difficulties will come with transition. There are countless elements to consider and whilst you cannot possibly consider them all, you need to have done the groundwork before embarking on change. The right processes need to be in place to adapt to the change and must be portable from the old solution to the new. A thorough change and roll-out plan also needs consideration.
Do you have the right people?
To drive the change, you need the right team of people to support you. This can be one of the more tricky areas to cover. Often, change is driven by high overheads and the impact of said change will, in the least, result in changes in job roles and responsibilities. You need to be prepared for this and ensure you involve people who can embrace the change.
Whilst you will need the right level of experience around you, one of the biggest mistakes can often be involving too many people. Too many cooks and all that! At the start of the project, assess what skills are needed at each stage of the project. Often, a small handful of people can cover the majority of these and then consult other individuals outside of the project if their expertise falls short. Don’t forget about the support that will be required once the change is established, otherwise all your efforts will be lost!
Do you have clear responsibility boundaries?
Once you have sorted out who you want to be involved in the change, you need to ensure everyone is clear what their role in the project is. Whilst a project will always require management, it is often easy to overlook who will direct the project. Change can often take time and whilst the project is ongoing, the needs of the organisation can evolve around it. A clearly defined individual (or senior team) needs to have the authority to review the project and ensure it remains aligned with the needs of the business. A project or change manager will typically manage within the scope they are given; you need someone else reviewing the much wider picture periodically.
Aside from direction, other members of the change team need to know what their role is and exactly what authority they have to review and manage change. For example, it is likely that process changes will need to be made along the way – who will define and implement these? If you are contracting a third party and there is an issue with the quality or timings of their work, who will address this with them? Whilst the roles of a project change team are relatively simple to identify, their responsibilities and levels of authority require more consideration. If you crack this from the start, it can be much easier to manage the change throughout.
So, we’ve seen the importance of defining processes, people and responsibility boundaries from the outset of a procurement change project. In my next blog post, I will share some tips on how you should communicate your change project and successfully manage the transition process.
By Jenny Bollington, Project Delivery Consultant at Science Warehouse
Jenny Bollington is a certified PRINCE2 Practitioner, experienced in delivering procurement change projects for clients across the public and private sectors. She has worked on projects ranging from enhancements to existing procurement systems and processes to managing the implementation and roll-out of full P2P systems. Her expertise covers the management of the entire project process from the initial design and scoping of the project through to the implementation process and full project closure.