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Understanding How To Introduce and Maintain Change with Paul Perrotta


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We try to avoid change when by definition; change is what we’re here to manage. Why not make it a skill?

Learn why managing change is a skill like any other. It is a career differentiator. And it’s easy as can be.

This presentation was given at Information Development World on May 16, 2017

Don’t miss our upcoming event, Information Development World: Creating Machine-Ready Content to be held on November 28-30, 2017.

Published in: Business
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Understanding How To Introduce and Maintain Change with Paul Perrotta

  1. 1. U Understanding How to Introduce and Maintain Change Paul Perrotta, Sr Director, Juniper Networks
  2. 2. 3 § 32 years in content development as a writer and organization leader While I no longer fluently read cuneiform tablets, I do remember them § Worked at ROLM (IBM, Siemens), Pyramid Technology, EDS (Siemens Nixdorf, Fujitsu Microelectronics), Cisco Systems, and Juniper Networks § Spent last 5+ years at Juniper Networks, Inc. • Currently serve as a Senior Director in a product documentation organization called Information Experience. • Hardware + software documentation • I lead a solutions content team, central services (editing, graphics, Juniper Books, illustration, program management, production), and operations § I have an opinion. Get off my lawn. $ whoami
  3. 3. 4 Change § Rob just spoke about governance and what it is § Change management is the governance for introducing & maintaining change into those processes and relationships
  4. 4. 5 Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes 1985 § Hardcopy text + line art § Well-defined process § Using WYSIWYG (then GML) software § Book paradigm (TOC, PTOC, LOF, LOT, Index, …) with headers/footers § Took a long time § Using standard fonts § Physical specs § Output measured in shelf-feet § Change agent = ourselves 2017 § HTML online text + line art / video / photos / animations AND in-product guidance § Well-defined process § Using XML software + CMS + graphics + sound § Topic paradigm with metadata and hypertext links and loading optimization and tracking § Who has time?! § We have fonts?! § Device awareness § Output measured in completeness § Change agent = everyone
  5. 5. 6 Governance and Change Change is everywhere expected part of what we do inevitable is how we evolve behaviors & governance is a skill that can be learned and honed can have its own governance model Governance tells us what to expect can be formal / informal has a different focus at different levels Change management
  6. 6. 7 Managing Change § Managing change is a life skill (not just a professional skill). § There is a big overlap in managing change and managing innovation. § Primary elements of success center on communication and execution based on the context of your corporate culture and organizational culture. Communication Execution Solid Positive Culture
  7. 7. 8 Managing Change Change management is not a command-and-control exercise. It is a hearts-and-minds journey.
  8. 8. 9 Managing Change: Communication & Execution This part is about theory… § Communication is a multipath flow (among/between, to/from) § What we do today § Obstacles and problems § What we want to do tomorrow § How we’re going to get there § What will it look like? § Why do it? Communication § Get it done in the right way on time § Someone has to be designated as accountable § Is about doing the work to implement good change while understanding enough of the complexity Execution
  9. 9. 10 § Communication without execution is hot air. § Execution without communication has very little credibility. Managing Change: Communication & Execution This part is about theory… “The perfect is the enemy of the good.” – Voltaire (ish) “Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without.” – Confucius
  10. 10. 11 Managing Change What is a Culture of Transparency? In our group/team/org culture… § We all know who we are and what we do § Leaders must not only present issues but take input. • Have we characterized the problem properly? • Are there others we don’t know about? § Communication must flow throughout the organization. § Note successes and challenges. § Communication must be consistent—your #1 priority in Q1 should still be your #1 priority in Q2.
  11. 11. 12Managing Change Establish a Baseline Local Culture of Transparency Scope • What do we do? • What do we not do? Vision/Values • Who are we as an organization? • Where are we headed? Goals • What will we do by when? • Who will do them? Strategy • How will we achieve our goals? • What tools will we use? • What does success look like? We have to talk about this
  12. 12. 13 Managing Change What is Good Communication? § Communication takes the form of group meetings, team meetings, individual meetings, websites, minutes, blogs, email, small cakes, and plain old talking. § Good communication is regular, consistent, true, respectful
  13. 13. 14 VP Leadership Employees Managing Change Org Culture of Transparency Regular updates Reiteration of plans Celebrate successes Listen to issues
  14. 14. 15 Managing Change Establish a Corporate Culture of Transparency VP Leadership Employees VP Leadership Employees VP Leadership Employees Your org Customer Support Dev Eng Who we are Our problems What we’re doing
  15. 15. 16 Managing Change What do the Rest of Us Do? Engage Product Mgmt Product Marketing Field Reps Customer Support Dev Eng Customers 16 § Communicate with everyone else § Standing team meetings § Forums § Advisory Boards § Be respectful of time § Ask a few pointed questions § Use A/B testing
  16. 16. 17 Managing Change What is Good Execution? • Good execution means we drive to the correct objectives and anticipate obstacles. • We understand who is accountable—if you don’t have a single name who will take the arrows when it goes wrong, then you don’t know who is accountable. • We understand what we’re doing. There is a problem statement, a schedule, a list of tasks, and a plan for engaging the right people. • We have a sense of urgency. • We communicate goals, tasks, progress, and issues.
  17. 17. 18 Organizations are People § Rumours are deadly to organizations § Poorly informed people (employees, coworkers, other organizations) make things up or ascribe motivations / points of view § When people are informed, they don’t gossip or mong rumours § Communications transparency is the antirumour and builds trust and thus a stronger organization.
  18. 18. 19 Change Derailers Beating the Ultra-Low Level Simpletons who Hate Incentivized Teams (BULLSHIT) § Duplication of effort § Funding surprises § Goal shifting § Resource shifting § Missing dates § Lack of collaboration § Fingerpointing by execs § Project cancellation (changing our minds) § Stakeholder surprise § Customer surprise
  19. 19. 20 Takeaways 1. Culture matters 2. Communication is key for org health 3. Communication is key for execution
  20. 20. Backup
  21. 21. 22 Easy Example: We now need to perform first-article proofs Change = insert a step after content dev but before print • What process are we replacing or improving? • What content needs first-article proofs? • What’s in-scope for a proof? What’s not? • Who submits? Who inspects? Who arbitrates? • How long should a proof take? • What’s the time frame to correct problems? • How many times can something be submitted? • What feedback loops are there?
  22. 22. 23 Moderate Example: Our content should conform to a standard BOM Change = Create a standard then deliver content consistently • What groups are affected? • Should there be an analysis? Do we need standards? • Do changes affect any other groups or products? • Are the changes by vote? Are they optional? What are the consequences of not implementing? • Do we need a proof of concept? • How do we know when we’re done? • What org goals does this support? • What’s the schedule? • How does this fit with what product managers want? • Does this affect our SEO strategy? • Does this affect our Style Guide? • Does this apply to all content ever created? Or just the most recent? • Do we need new metadata? • Who wanted us to do this? • Does this take precedence over my product schedule?
  23. 23. 24 Complex Example: Improve Content Quality Change = Measure and improve content quality • What quality measures does Development use? Marketing? Support? The company? The industry? Competitors? • Which ones are most important? • Who gets a vote? • What are the big levers? • Should we do an assessment? Internal or external or both? • How do we know when we’re done? • What’s the schedule? • Do we all do the same thing? • How do we decide? • Who tracks separate actions? • Are we staffed to do everything? • Do we have the right skill sets? • How do we assess what we want to do? • Who are all the stakeholders? • What changes are occurring the rest of the company? • Who else cares about our content quality? Sales? Customers? Support? • What do we expect to happen as a result of our actions? • Who took my cheese? • Do these pants make me look fat?