Evidentiary Strategy


Change management is a responsibility of the program manager. It is a role that is underappreciated, underutilized, and not performed well by some program managers. Change management is complex, and there is no cookbook recipe to apply.

Our 9 part Guide to Change Management will focus on how to prepare the customer, stakeholders, and team for change.

Part 1 of 9: Change Management-What Is It?
Part 2 of 9: Fear
Part 3 of 9: Change Models
Part 4 of 9: Change Management – Evidentiary Strategy
Part 5 of 9: Change Management – Vision, Goals, and Objectives Strategy
Part 6 of 9: Change Management – Segmentation Strategy
Part 7 of 9: Communication
Part 8 of 9: Training
Part 9 of 9: Mentors

Part 4 of 9: Change Management-Evidentiary Strategy

The change management evidentiary method involves persuading people to change through data and evidence. You must find the evidence that supports the need for the change.

The data should clearly answer the why question when it comes to the change. You have undoubtedly heard the saying “knowledge is power.” When you are presenting people with evidence, you are educating and empowering them. Education makes people feel empowered with respect to the change.

It is legitimate for stakeholders to ask, “Why was this way chosen?” Part of the change management evidentiary strategy is to answer that question with data and logic, preferably before they ask it.

Even when you answer the question with credibility initially, stakeholders may have concerns later. A good change management evidentiary strategy to deal with this is to provide a steady flow of evidence through weekly updates or quick facts related to the change. This often results in stakeholders recalling other evidence for the change that was previously presented and builds acceptance. Acceptance is not always achieved immediately, but it can be achieved over time.

Remember to answer questions about the change without being asked. Sometimes people are afraid to ask because they don’t want to appear contrarian or argumentative. Additionally, there may be a history in which question askers were punished. The fact that they haven’t asked questions doesn’t mean they don’t have any. Do your best to answer their questions with data before they ask them.

In the real world, there is uncertainty and the data for the change may not be complete or 100 percent accurate or justifiable. This is a common situation, and so you should assess the questions or inconsistencies about the data and/or the justification rationale in an honest and straightforward manner. In general, it is best to address data concerns before people ask about them. This builds confidence and credibility by demonstrating thoroughness. Nothing ruins a good evidentiary change management plan like holes or inconsistencies in the data that haven’t been addressed or that take the presenter of the data by surprise.

Evidentiary responses can be everything from an hour long presentation to a series of multiple-day training sessions or a periodic flow of facts in e-mails, depending on the change. Remember that the goal of the change management evidentiary strategy is to create understanding of the change that drives acceptance. People who understand the purpose and need for change usually embrace the change. Therefore, you want to create questions and responses from the perspective of the stakeholder and then answer them from that perspective.

Once your team has decided on their plan and process, PPM software can help you execute that process. WorkOtter helps you successfully execute your program process strategy for project success. Get a demo of WorkOtter and see how we can make your program management effective.

“The Handbook of Program Management: How to Facilitate Project Success with Optimal Program Management, Second Edition” by James T. Brown is a copyrighted work of McGraw-Hill and McGraw-Hill reserves all rights in and to the Content. ©2014 by McGraw-Hill Education. Purchase the book on Amazon.