Way back when I started managing projects,
This person’s role was to integrate the change delivered by a project into the operations of the company.
In this article, we’ll look at what is different about
Then I’ll share some common tools and techniques for
In this article:
- Change Management: the focus on readiness
- Defining change management
- Why is change management important in project management?
- Change management reduces resistance to change
- Differences between change management and project management
- 5 Tools for change management
- Other tools for managing change
- Further reading
Change Management: the focus on readiness
Larger organizations may have someone focused on
Training is still important, but there’s also this idea of ‘readiness’: how prepared the organization is to do things differently.
And if the answer is ‘not very prepared’,
When have you ever come across execs who decided not to change their business because the staff weren’t ready? They might have delayed their plans, or put extra support in place, but if your strategy and survival rely on being able to move with the times and stay competitive, change is coming to those workers whether they like it or not.
Communication remains critical in a changing environment, both in laying the groundwork for the change and for ensuring people know what is happening.
So what is
The definition of
The way we facilitate the shift from current practice to new practice in order to achieve a benefit.
In other words, it’s a systematic and planned approach for helping individuals and teams be successful with new ways of working.
— Elizabeth Harrin (@girlsguidetopm) May 8, 2020
Change managementis the unwritten requirement in everyone’s job, especially those people involved in projects.
change management important in project management?
For example, if you spend $1m on designing and implementing a new computer system, and no one uses it, they all say it’s awful, and three months after go live the system is ditched, that’s a waste, right?
It’s a waste of $1m, and it’s a waste of your time putting the system together. People who worked on that project could have been better utilized by doing something else that would add real value to the company.
But if that system is switched on and people know how to use it, and they give it a chance, and then they find they are saving an hour a day because the new system is better than the old one… well, that’s a win.
If you manage projects, you need to incorporate
Trust me, project managers who deliver a solution that leads to benefits and happy customers — that’s career changing.
The main way
Change management reduces resistance to change
- Building support for the change
- Identifying and addressing resistance to the change
- Helping individuals develop the knowledge and skills required to adopt the new practice successfully.
In doing all of this you are ensuring that your change has the best possible chance of long-term sustainability and success. Because that’s what we really want — and what project sponsors want.
For most projects that involve organizational change, the emphasis is on making a difference over the longer term, not just changing behavior during the month following the launch, for example.
It’s quite easy to define
That’s why we have to spend time on
change management and project management
Shifting someone from doing a job one way to doing it another? Isn’t that project management? No, it’s not.
Project management and
Think of it like this:
- Project management is about installation.
Change managementis about implementation.
Here’s a table from my book, Communicating Change: How To Talk About Project Change, that sets out the differences (and one similarity) between
|Primarily focuses on installation||Primarily focuses on |
|Creates a deliverable e.g. a new |
|Creates an environment where |
benefits can be realised e.g. new
software is used to improve
|Focuses on the plan||Focuses on the people|
|Has a clear timeline||May not have a clear timeline|
|Has a hard deadline and clear |
|Does not have a hard deadline; can be hard to determine when |
|Feels organizational or corporate||Feels personal|
|Led from the executive level||Led from the executive level|
5 Tools for
Here are five tools that you will help you with
1. Readiness assessments
These help you understand where the organization and individuals are in their preparedness for the change. They act as the beginning of the journey and are key to helping you uncover the gap that you have to close in terms of helping people end the journey with their new behaviors.
2. Project sponsorship
Unsurprisingly, having senior leaders involved and championing the change is a way to create buy-in, generate interest and get things done.
3. Coaching and mentoring
Helping team members on a one-on-one basis to deal with and adapt to the change is time-consuming for large implementations, but you can offer team managers the skills to support their staff and devolve mentoring to subject matter experts or local champions.
Training is a structured way to embed and support the new behaviours, explain new processes and get people comfortable with new ways of working.
Timely and meaningful interactions with the people affected by and interested in the change will underpin and support the achievement of the benefit that you’re looking for.
In Communicating Change: How To Talk About Project Change I focus on the last point: communication. Each section highly practical and actionable — this is not a book about theory.
The book is designed to help you do
The ebook is available now and is £8.99. Click here to get your copy.
Reviews of Communicating Change
Other tools for managing change
It’s a huge topic, and one you’ll find more about by browsing this blog!
I have prepared a full reading list of my top 10 books about change management. That will give you something to get started with!