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PM Essence

Management of Change: An Integral Component to Project Success

By - Carol Maxwell, PMP

Carol Maxwell, PMP
Carol Maxwell is a Senior Program Leader for HP Technology Services. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Jackson State University; PMP certification, 2003; ITILv3 Foundations, 2006 and CSSGB, 2012. Carol has led multiple programs, projects and initiatives including Worldwide CRM deployment/ Sales Process Transformation, Marketing Operations Improvement Programs, Sales Enablement Campaigns,Customer and Sales Events,Employee Engagement and Social Collaboration Portals, Partner Network Connectivity Datacenter Transformations, and Process Gap Analysis and NoC Assessments.

Management of Change

Typically you will find that a project will consist of five phases including an Initiation phase followed by proper planning, then execution, control and close. These are core principals of Project Management and each phase should be employed in most cases for project success. However, in addition to these five project phases, how do you determine when to introduce,guide, manage, deliver and track the change that will surely engulf the business leaders, change that will be inevitably associated with your project managers and employees at all levels throughout your organization as a result of your new project? An Integrated Management of Change (MoC) program will allow you to ensure that your project includes key engagement activities and touch points to address the change that will be inevitably associated with your project.

Management of Change is a tool designed toward helping individuals at all organizational levels understand, accept, embrace and adopt changes in their business environment as a result of a new or changing project, initiative or directive.Management of Change can be broken out into two components:

Organizational – Managing changes (e.g. systems, tools, processes, etc) that will involve or impact all facets and levels of the organization.

Behavioral – Ensuring that the change is embraced and promoted throughout the organization to maximize support and adoption

Easier Said, Harder Done (Effectively , that is…)

Management of Change is oftentimes the hardest challenge in a project because it can be difficult to identify just what is required to make people embrace and adopt change.

I’ve been involved in some projects where the Management of Change strategy was to simply send out e-mails from the project sponsor (s) with project updates or push out new banners or office material or T-Shirts promoting the new project or initiative. Unfortunately, these topical
approaches proved to be marginal and ineffective simply because there was no real effort to draw the organization into the conversation, discuss the reasons why the change was needed and promote the positive outcomes of the change.

An effective Management of Change strategy underscores that business leaders, managers, employees and external stakeholders are equally capable (e.g. through training) and eager (e.g. through collaborative communication) to adopt the new change.

Why Management of Change is important in Project Management

Every new project introduces change of some sort into the organization either with a new way of selling, a new support model, new processes, new applications, etc. Your project success is in jeopardy if an integrated Management of Change structure isn’t incorporated as a key component at the onset of the project.

I once worked on a project to deploy a new CRM platform throughout a large enterprise. The program started with all teams in play, however, the Management of Change program team was not identified early in the project nor had it aligned with other work streams. Confusion and questions began to overtake the project early on including uncertainty about why the project was being implemented, what were the goals of the project and inconsistent messages to sales, marketing and support teams about what the new tool and processes, as an output of the project, would mean for them. When the Management of Change team was finally on board, they launched several reactive efforts to gain control over change, communications and expectations. Management of Change is a critical and key component to factor into your project in the early stages of planning and it will span the entire project lifecycle.

How to Become A Change Leader

Plan for Change to avoid poor implementation that may alter people’s attitude toward change and create problems in the future.

Introduce the Change to the
organization to minimize resistance and increase support.

Evangelize the Change and become a Change Champion; Identify others that can take on the task to spread the word, educate others offer support and guidance; The Change Champion will be a focal point to reinforce to the organization why the change is needed and the benefits that the change will bring

Get Started Now!

Take the action to look inwardly at your project and determine if your Management of Change program is positioned for success.