Most of us realize in hindsight that a particular issue/ pain could have been better handled or even avoided with a little more awareness on the impact. Yes, hindsight is great but it is not always possible to deal with the issues at the time. This is where impact assessment helps. This is tremendously useful tool but is often overlooked. Brainstorming and analyzing the impact of change helps in understanding the potential of a change and thus be better prepared. For the project manager change analysis is an essential step that needs to be considered throughout a project.
Impact assessment challenge

The key challenge in performing an in depth impact assessment is to identify and structure all the probable consequences of a particular decision and then to ensure that they are managed effectively. For simple and less risky decisions, this analysis can be done at the computer or the desk. But for changes which are of higher magnitude and larger risky decisions, it is wise to perform the change assessment with an experienced team comprising people from diverse divisions and backgrounds within the enterprise. This would help better identifying the change impacts.
Importance of Change Impact Assessment

• When a strong impact assessment team is present it becomes possible to access all the pertinent information sources easily. This helps in identifying the project values, goals and solution clearly without any ambiguity and thus address the proposed changes along with the potential impacts or issues much better so as to reduce the negative effects of the proposed solution.
• When brainstorming the different areas of potential impact is complete then it would be much more easier to devise the right steps to take so as to minimize the hurdles on the path towards the change. Remember it is important to involve the people and parts of the organization which might be most affected.
• When all the areas which could be affected because of the potential changes are identified, the different underlying elements of change needs to be brainstormed on. When the business processes impact is identified then, the people involved can discuss on reducing the difficulties in following the modified business processes. When the people of the specific departments are involved in the beginning itself, the mental block that most have against change can be removed as they would feel as if they own the change and stop fighting against it.
• When the potential impacts are identified at a greater detailed level, then it is possible to go through the list and segregating the impacts as negative and positive. This would help in decision making and also in estimating the cost of the impact and the results of the change.
• Identifying and analyzing the impact of change helps in addressing and managing the consequences better. This is the key reason for performing the change assessment analysis as the results of the analysis would help the project manager to either go ahead with the potential changes or come up with Plan B if the change consequences are costly.

Thus measuring change consequences through in depth change impact analysis is essential before executing or implementing any project so that the project goals can be effectively met.

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