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The Playbook considers the first step to be the key determinant of success for a change management program. Properly set yourself up for success (and luck), and it is likely to come. But in no way should that be read to suggest any other step is not important or can be overlooked. This step, Develop, is an example.

Develop the material

Simply, this step is about finishing the planning of all various change management elements and executing them. Not deploying them but developing what is to be deployed: the written material, the programs and approaches, graphic treatments, presentations, other (video) content, and so on.

Develop is a period of curating and fabricating. For hard deliverables like those mentioned earlier, the emphasis is on creation and staging the right existing and available materials where they’ll be ready for use. Other development for change management does not depend so much on creating but on assembling.

Because change activity will ultimately be directed toward and engage people, making sure you have found the right targets and have certain means to engage them is also important development. Some things can only be staged because they may not be actionable for some time. Performance measurement is a good example. Develop is when we get sure of what data is available and how to first acquire then to process it. There is a creative aspect to this as well, designing report templates.

Create communication

Sometime during this stage, word will start to officially and unofficially get out to those that will be affected. Ideally that happens just as the project commences its contact with those who will be making behaviour adjustments. Emails (typically) begin. It is appropriate and an optimal time to set a baseline for how ready these people are for the change. Such insights will, at a minimum, help calibrate messaging emphasis. Moreover, the work of making sure primary sponsors and the expanding list of influential quasi-sponsors gets and stays both aligned and actively supportive has to be in high gear.

Change in organizations only comes through Herculean effort. Call it leverage or brute force, but that force exists in influencers and in authorities (line managers and executive). Leverage their brute force to power your success.

It goes without saying that the project management part of change management continues unabated. As through the whole Playbook, Moves are interspersed with the sole purpose of assessing, correcting, adjusting, and approving plans, material, information, action, etc. to move ahead. Some of these appear for the first time during this period.


Some development may have begun earlier and others will continue longer. Other things happen too. But making is the core of this step. It will transition seamlessly into the next, Test, step. At that point, making continues, but the rough work is done. Refinements are made, based on the tests, and the material/methods are generally readied for release.

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