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Strategic insights
The Light Model

Written by on May 19, 2006

The light model is targeted small changes. It is projects that take a relative short time, projects that are simple and where the people involved know most of the issues.

The time needed for analysis should be a very small task. The initial analysis and planning is often done within 1-2 hours.

A light project should not exceed 2 primary goals (if you have more, then you should consider using "the medium-sized project model")


  1. What is going on - and why

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    Before anything else, you should get to know the background and the reasons for the change. What is going on, why does it happen and what will it mean for the people involved?

    This is the basis for a better awareness for the rest of the tasks.

    Helpful methods

    • Market analysis
    • Competitor analysis
    • Market position analysis
  2. "Need-for-Change" Cost/Benefit

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    Every project must be financial sound, which is why this model includes a "need-for-change" cost/benefit formula. This formula is slightly different from regular cost/benefit analysis, as it is specifically designed to handle change management projects.

    Change Management Formula:
    Need change  = [DMREV] > X

    D  = Dissatisfaction with the current situation
    M  = Motivation
    R  = Realistic
    E  = Est. increased efficiency
    V  = Est. increased revenue

    X = Est. resources to complete and support the change

    Helpful methods

    • Employee satisfaction analysis (satisfaction and motivation factor)
    • "Can-it-be-done" analysis (are you motivated, do you have enough resources, cash).
    • Economic feasibility study
    • Budget
  3. Define your goals

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    What do you specifically want to achieve. What is the specific effect, workflow, state-of-mind you want to get?

    You should set primary and secondary goals for your project.

  4. Know you target group

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    This is the people affected by the project. What are their opinions, their background, competence and knowledge? Do they embrace change, where are they located etc?

    It is also a good idea to look at people outside the project - anyone that can have an impact on the project.

    This is the basis for "identify problems" (next phase)

    Helpful methods

    • Situation analysis
    • Target analysis
    • Knowledge and competence analysis
  5. Identify problems

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    No project is free of problems, but you can minimize the worst of them. Identify problems involves two elements:

    1. People
    2. Surroundings

    People cover internal problems - i.e. resistance to change, old habits, insecurity etc. It also covers how much information you need to give, how to involve and influence people.

    Surroundings cover everything else. External problems, legal issues, market issues etc.

    Identifying problems help create a better understanding, and a better awareness to problems and the risks involved.

    Helpful methods

    • SWOT
    • Risk analysis
  6. Create a plan
    Notice: With short term goals and changes
    Analysis / Action

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    Creating a project plan is the last step of "Unfreeze", and forms the foundation for the work in "Move".

    A plan should contain:

    1. The actual work (tasks)
    2. By whom
    3. When (deadlines)
    4. I relation to what
    5. How each task is connected
    6. The needed result for each task
    7. Evaluation

    The plan should be divided in phases to split the project in smaller - easier - chunks. The move phase is specifically designed handle these chunks.

    Helpful methods

    • Action plan / Activity
    • Game plan


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"Move" is special. You repeat the process for every phase on your project plan. In traditional projects you create energy, work and complete and finally evaluate the result. This is however not a good way to handling project. It is not unusual that the energy is drained and changes in the project plan yields serious complications.

To solve this, the change management models ensure understanding and energy for each phase. All phases need to be evaluated and changes worked out.

  1. Act!

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    The actual work needed to complete all tasks in this phase.

  2. Adjust your plan
    Slow down if necessary

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    Project plans are never a constant, but changes to a project plan is usually seen a negative thing - poor management etc.

    If that was true, we would never need change management projects - the world would be in a state of status quo. Changes are a natural thing, something that will always happen. But it is also something we need to keep under control.

    After each phase you need to look at the situation and adjust your plan accordingly.

    Note: The change management models focuses primarily on quality over time.

    Helpful methods

    • Action plan
  3. Ensure accept for the next step

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    It is very important that you ensure the result is accepted during the final part of each phase. Without this, you risk the old tasks is reopened and takes away valuable time. But, acceptance is not about making people agree that the task is finished. It is about making sure that the work so far has solved what it was supposed to.

    Acceptance must come from the power team and other people involved.

    Helpful methods

    • Action plan
  4. Repeat

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    Repeat "Move" for each phase in your action plan.


  1. Celebrate - create energy

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    Yeah! We made it!

    All projects, big and small, needs to be celebrated. Its purpose is to create motivation, happiness and energy for the future.

    The project's size should be mirrored by the size of the celebrations. A big project should end with a big celebration, while small projects may be celebrated with something as simple as saying "congratulation, well done!"

    You should create motivation and energy even if a project fails. It is vital that every project is closed with a positive attitude and motivation. Without it you will face even bigger problems with your next project.

    Helpful methods

    • Event
    • Rewards
    • A smile!
    • ...
  2. Evaluate the result

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    This is a total evaluation for the entire project. Here you summarize your learning points and things you need to be aware of in future projects.

    Helpful methods

    • Project manager evaluation
    • Project team evaluation
    • Project evaluation
  3. (Unfreeze - and start the next project)

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Thomas Baekdal

Thomas Baekdal

Founder of Baekdal, author, writer, strategic consultant, and new media advocate.


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