Using Change Management to Determine Which Forms to Digitize and How to Do it
GovOS Studio (formerly SeamlessDocs) has been working with U.S. governments to “beautify” their processes for years. We have a firm grasp on what’s needed to bring government services, forms, and processes online effectively. We’ve learned that the beautification process all boils down to strong change management.
Through my experience with partners, I’ve spent a considerable amount of time discussing what change management is (and is not!), how government departments should think about change management, and how you can work with GovOS to ensure a smooth deployment of change management initiatives (like digitizing forms).
I’ve presented some of my key learnings in an on-demand webinar and talked a bit about quick wins with GovOS Studio in a help center article. But the article below is a much more in-depth article that talks about change management in general, and on a more concentrated level, how it can be applied to digitizing government forms.
What is change management?
Change management is “the discipline that guides how we prepare, equip, and support individuals to successfully adopt change that drives organizational success and outcomes.”
In other words, change management is the way an organization implements change from the top down.
In most cases, and organization will undergo one (or more) of the three types of change management:
1.) Individual change management: Change for an individual person (like using a new email service)
2.) Organizational or initiative change management: Single initiative changing something (like digitizing forms)
3.) Enterprise change management: Changed management throughout an organization (like a sweeping process change or personnel change)
The goal is to create a framework so that whenever you implement change within a department, your users feel comfortable and empowered, and then adopt the change.
How to think about change management
Change in organizations can be difficult and time-consuming, especially if you’re the one spearheading an initiative. The most essential facets of change management are:
- Building momentum
- Identifying priorities
- Finding quick wins
- Setting (and sticking to) timelines
Three components to the recipe for success:
To accomplish change management, you’ll need a superstar team and a strong, actionable plan:
– People: Your team is at the heart of change management. To be successful, you’ll need people who are trained, able to build automated workflows, capable of coordinating tasks, and are excellent communicators.
– Forms: Let’s say your initiative is to digitize forms. You’ll need to know what forms are strong candidates within the initiative, which forms can bring you the quickest wins, and which forms have the biggest impact on your department.
– Time: To execute change in a timely manner, it’s essential to create timelines for how things will get implemented, and identify who is accountable for which tasks.
Digitizing forms with GovOS Studio and change management
Let’s say you partner with GovOS to digitize forms at your department. We’ll help you identify the people involved, which forms to digitize and help set a timeline for execution so you don’t have to go through change management alone.
We find the most appropriate people to include in your team by considering the following:
– Project sponsor: Usually the person who initially requested the project. They are the primary overseer of the project.
– Project lead: This person is the primary contact for GovOS Studio (i.e., project manager). Together, we communicate and coordinate the initiative’s progress, needs and workflows.
– System administrator or team lead: This person(s) is the project lead for their specific department. They are in charge of reporting updates and communicating progress to project lead to keep the initiative running smoothly.
One of the biggest questions government agencies have when it comes to digitizing forms is “where should I start?”
If you work with GovOS, we can work together to determine the forms that can bring you quick wins, and deliver the most meaningful impact to your department by going through this three-step form discovery process:
1.) Process Audit
Start the process by going through each department and asking, “what forms or processes would you like to see digitized?” Make a list of all the candidates for conversions. The more comprehensive this audit, the more it will help you. The process audit should give you an overview of the scope of your digitization project, including timelines and potential costs.
2.) Form Grading
Now you can start organizing the raw data you collected in step one by assigning a score to each line item on scale of 1-4: How easy it is to create the form; How easy it is to process the form; How important the form is; How much submission volume the form gets.
Lay out the scores for each of your forms. Forms that are the easiest to implement, and have the highest impact, are also called quick wins, and a great starting point for your initiative.
Quick wins are super important during change management because they get your team, administrators, and citizens excited, which helps build momentum on the project.
In addition to the quick wins, you can look at second, third and fourth priorities like:
Low hanging fruit: Which are really easy to implement but may not be as important or as visible
Must haves: Which are more difficult to implement but are really important
Money pits: Which are things that are really difficult to implement, and may not even be worth the money, despite a high impact
Now that you have your team established, and your forms are graded, we can start assigning timelines and roadmaps to implement change.
Build a Roadmap
We recommend creating a spreadsheet that separates each form by department, so you can ensure everyone can experience a quick win, and you can spread out your priorities across departments:
In the graphic above, you can see the HR department scored their employment application as a 13, and the employee onboarding application as an eight. In this example, the employment application would be a higher priority, because the higher score indicates it’s easier to create and will have a high impact.
After going through this exercise, you’ll know which forms to tackle first and for which departments. Next, you’ll be able to assign timelines and assign team leads by department to ensure accountability.
Build a timeline
Once you know which forms to start with, you can create an iterative development cycle, which means creating a timeline and involving other people in the development.
We recommend creating a spreadsheet like the image below, and adding specific dates and assigning tasks to specific people to give yourself structure and to involve other people in the initiative.
Not only is a timeline a great way to track accountability, and keep your project within scope, but it also helps aid in communication, which helps further the initiative:
- People want to feel invested in the project, and people defend their work. By assigning tasks to your team, you can get buy in for the project, and your initiative could be met with less resistance and criticism.
- By building out a timeline, people involved in the initiative know when they need to carve out time from their day to complete their phase, ahead of time. That way, you aren’t adding work onto an existing workload out of the blue. You can give your team members time to prepare for their involvement.
It’s also important to create a timeline for overall organizational change:
By making a broad timeline visible, it’s easier to get the buy-in from everyone necessary, letting everyone involved see where you are in the initiative, and where you’re going for alignment.
Continuing to embrace change management and processes post-initiative
When you work with GovOS Studio, our goal is to hold your hand, until you no longer need it. We want you to feel empowered to make changes in your system as you need, without having to call in for tech support each time (even though we’re always there for you).
Just because you’re growing wings and learning to fly on your own doesn’t mean we won’t be there to support you through next steps, and for further process improvements post-launch.
We also offer:
- Five standard meetings which cover topics like coaching, training, what’s next
- Ongoing training
- Milestone meetings
- One-year timelines
Once you get a feel for your process, we want to help you get into optimization mode, and then your expansion mode, where you’re building off successes and using the GovOS platform to its full functionality.