Tips for technologists: Adopting change management to thrive

Thriving in the age of disruption

In a fast paced industry like technology, it’s essential to be prepared for change.

Global organizations are finding new and improved ways of tackling the numerous drivers of change; from the ongoing evolution of technology, crisis response, internal process reviews, customer demand changes, acquisitions and mergers, competitive pressure, and organizational restructuring.

As businesses progress in their digital transformation journeys to become the modern workplaces of tomorrow, it can be a challenge for technologists – from software developers to engineers – to maintain the skills needed to keep pace with such rapid innovation and technology advances. The ability to handle change and disruption, particularly after the COVID-19 pandemic, is a necessary skill for any employee to develop right now.

What is change management?

Change management is a collective term for all approaches to prepare, support, and help individuals, teams, and organizations in making organizational changes. It’s a systematic approach to dealing with the transition or transformation of an organization’s goals, processes, or technologies, helping people adapt to the changes in order to achieve a specific business outcome.

The change could be driven by anything from the evolution of technology and reviews of internal processes, to crisis response, mergers, and customer demand.

Whilst the overarching meaning of change management remains the same in all situations, the way the term is used may differ depending on the context it’s used in:

In project management – change management often refers to the introduction and approval of changes to the scope of a project.

In IT and infrastructure – change management normally refers to the process of testing and installing a new piece of equipment or software system.

Why is change management important?

Navigating change effectively and efficiently is essential for a number of reasons.

Not only does it ensure you’re equipped to adapt to change in your daily role, it also minimises risk and reduces disruption.

Organizations use change management processes to keep positive morale among employees, making sure they’re open to change, know what it involves, and are given full transparency on the situation.

So how can this help technologists? By roadmapping your personal development plan, learning to adapt to any disruption, and continously learning, you can ensure you’re prepared for what comes next. Here are a few tips to help you adopt change management in your own career, so you can thrive.

The 7 R’s of change management

Before implementing change management in your career, ask yourself the following 7 questions:

  1. Who Raised the change? (An organization requesting new skills?)
  2. What’s the Reason for the change? (A new career path?)
  3. What Return is required from the change? (Are you hunting for a new role?)
  4. What are the Risks involved in the change? (Will you be moving jobs or organizations?)
  5. What Resources are required to deliver the change? (Will you be required to study/take a course?)
  6. Who is Responsible for the ‘build, test, and implement’ portion of the change? (Are you in the process of creating new projects or apps that will enable the change?)
  7. What is the Relationship between this change and other changes?

The 7 R’s of change management are important points to consider if implementing the change management process. These points are invoked in the conversation whenever anyone wants to make a change request regarding anything in the organization – so should be applied to any individual change too.

Embrace change

Charles Darwin once said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” Ensuring you are adaptable is critical to surviving any change.

With evolving technology, the rise of the remote workplace and the increasing demand for remote engineering teams, the role of the technologist is constantly changing. Preparing your mindset for change and disruption is essential to help you keep pace with the industry.

Instead of just hoping that you won’t be affected, rather use change as an opportunity to unleash your creative potential.

Build your tech stack

Watch, listen and learn what organizations are looking for. If you keep abreast of changes in the industry, you can use the knowledge to help build a personal career roadmap. Considering your options, your career goals and aspirations, and aligning them with current changes in the industry can help you to channel your energy in a positive way.

Are you a skilled Android Developer but noticing an increased demand for IOS? Find an online course or tutorials that can help you develop your IOS knowledge. Build up your tech stack with new and innovative programming languages that will ensure you’re in demand and up-to-date.

Learn, unlearn and relearn

Alvin Toffler, writer of the 1970 futurist book Future Shock, declared that “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.”

Most people stop learning once they are out of school or university. But as a technologist, it’s essential to embrace learning and development to keep pace with new technologies and sectors. In order to evolve with changing employer needs, you must fight that workplace complacency and use these changes as a catalyst to positively impact your personal learning strategy.

However, as essential as learning is, the ability to unlearn and relearn is just as important. Once a legacy system or programming language is no longer required, technologists must seek out its replacement or upgrade, relearning with the addition of new skills, or learning again from scratch. Embrace change or risk losing relevancy and value in the digital era.

Upskill for your future

The top 10 most in-demand jobs today didn’t actually exist 10 years ago. Change is constant – and never stops.

Focus your efforts on your current role and consider new ways that you can upskill to increase productivity or performance in your current projects. Developing a growth mindset as you upskill ensures you’re ahead of your competition. With your new skills and learnings, you’re demonstrating flexibility and the courage to try out new things, which will make you an appealing candidate for any organization. Seek out online projects – such as Hacktoberfest and Hackerthon – and find channels where you can apply your learnings to transform ideas into applications or other projects. By sharing your findings with the developer/technologist community you’re not only able to build connections with likeminded technologists, but you can expand your knowledge through collaboration.

That change will do you good

The key to embracing change is channelling your energies into positive and practical endeavours. By learning, upskilling and building on your talents, in line with the evolution of the technology industry you’re ensuring you’re adaptable to change – and ready to tackle any challenge!

If you found this blog useful, check out our other blog posts for more essential insights!

Are you a developer interested in growing your software engineering career? Apply to join the Andela Talent Network today.

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