October 5 2010

Article

Project Management and Processes

The best change management practices

Welcome to the second PMLOGY® article, which addresses the issue of change management.

All too often, projects fail or produce mixed results due to absent or deficient change management. Every project is, in its very essence, a sort of “change” that generates a certain amount of resistance, especially from the parties involved… after all, they’re only human!

PMLOGY definition:

Change management: a critical element of any project which serves to direct, manage and ensure acceptance of new processes, technologies, structures and values. It consists of a series of activities that enables a company and its employees to move from a current situation to a desired situation.

This process can be broken down into 5 key stages:

  1. Influencing the change

    This first step consists of bringing about the change. To achieve this, one has to “sell” the change. A business case presenting the advantages of the change (the project) is prepared in order to obtain the support of upper management.

  2. Defining the change management strategy

    The second step consists of identifying and analyzing the parties involved and evaluating the impact the change will have on them. This analysis should result in one of several strategies used to manage the project’s stakeholders.

  3. Planning change management

    This stage focuses on developing a change management plan that will help manage (and, most importantly, reduce!) impacts. This plan generally includes the following elements:

    • Modifying existing processes, which serves to clarify ways of doing things, roles, individual responsibilities and task descriptions once the change is implemented.
    • Communication for the purpose of explaining and selling the change and reassuring those involved.
    • Training that allows users to acquire new skills that will be required once the change is implemented.

    The change management plan is as much a part of the project plan as the WBS, timetable and budget.

  4. Implementing the change management plan

    This is the stage at which the team implements the change management plan. It is important to quickly obtain small successes that can be built upon and provide an opportunity to promptly resolve issues. A pilot project is often recommended to establish proof of concept before fully implementing the change. Ensuring the active participation of stakeholders and renewing support from upper management is critical at this stage of the process!

  5. Evaluating change management

    After carrying out the change, it is important to determine if the project has met the targeted objectives and if the change has generated the desired benefits. Lastly, a post mortem must be conducted in order to draw valuable lessons from the overall implementation process.

These concepts are addressed in the following course:

Managing Change Within Projects (GE124)

Discover the many other project management courses offered at Technologia

*PMLOGY: [pee-em-lo-gee] noun. — the science of project management PMLOGY and GPLOGIE are registered trademarks of Carl M. Gilbert.
© Carl M. Gilbert. All rights reserved.

Carl M. Gilbert is the initiator of the Project Management courses at Technologia, he was the obvious choice as a representative for four of the programs in this particular area of specialty. He has been involved with the Montreal chapter of the PMI since 1996 and has a thorough understanding of the various certifications and requirements for project managers.