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The Importance of Change Management in Project Management


Smartsheet-graphic-operations-management-of-change

Why now is the time to consider how you manage change in a project-driven organisation to ensure success and innovation?


Digital transformation has a great positive impact on projects and the potential to drive success through innovation. Often, this directly impacts the company organisation and the ways of working within. However, digital transformation and the implementation of new technology come with the need to manage how this change is received amongst staff to ensure ongoing success.


Often the rollout of change, especially in the context of digital transformation, occurs via projects. “At project level, change management is about ensuring that a project achieves its intended results and outcomes by supporting the individual transitions required by that project.”*


In this process, many things can go wrong or may need to change at short notice. In the case of implementing new tech or software such as Smartsheet, employees must adopt and use it to deliver value. All the right things can have been done from a project planning perspective, however, if the project is managed separately and away from the rest of the organisation, isolation is likely to occur and in turn, the launch may not bring the desired benefits. Without engaging the prospective users from the outset to educate, support and prepare them for the change there is a greater risk of disengagement and an unsuccessful launch. “Project-level change management provides the specific strategies, plans, actions and steps that focus on impacted employees and work in alignment with a project deployment.”*


Change is always a challenge, your teams and staff will always experience a range of emotions prior to accepting and supporting the change in place. It is therefore vital that change is managed effectively within your organisation especially when facing a multitude of projects being rolled out regularly. The first step is to address the change process in your organisation, how is this currently managed, if at all and how this parallels the project/implementation occurring. This process will allow you to map out the different stages and manage the change.


The difference between project and change management
  • Project Management: Taking care of finding a suitable solution as well as efficient implementation within the framework of the set goals, deadlines and budgets.

  • Change Management: Taking care of the people involved so that the solution created is also accepted and used beneficially.

It is key to remember that these are not the same thing, nor were they designed for the same purpose. These two practices should exist in tandem, working together to clearly communicate the project, the reasons why it is happening, how it will benefit the organisation and how it will be implemented. Though the process of change management isn’t new, with digital transformation continuing comes the need to act in your organisation to support projects in the future. Ultimately, change management is key to improving the acceptance and welcome of the project outcome.

Graphic showing the differences between project management and change management over time

It will depend on the scope of the changes and the number of people affected whether taking care of the change will be a task for the project manager. However, it probably always makes sense in such ventures to get change management specialists on board, where possible. Alternatively ensuring that there is someone responsible for managing change who can view the project holistically and from the wider view of the organisation and its people. It is highly advantageous to ensure that the people affected by the changes are properly prepared and assisted from the beginning.


So what does this mean for your project management?

There is no avoiding the emotions and resistance in response to change, regardless of whether this change is project-driven or organisational. The key is to support change in your organisation so the journey through these emotions on the change curve is easier to navigate.

Graph showing the kubler ross change curve of emotions from 1969

That’s where PPS come in. Our expertise in project management and business solutions means that we are on hand from start to finish, including the implementation, training and support of your staff. Our Knowledge Assessment carried out at the outset, helps our learning and development specialists to understand the skills and experience of your staff. This, therefore, allows us to tailor the solution delivered to you so you’ll never receive “off the shelf” support or client relations. Supporting all users across all solution platforms by answering questions and queries ranging from core functionalities to advanced capabilities. Our Support allows all users to access flexible and valuable support and assistance directly from the PPS team.



 

*Source: https://www.prosci.com/resources/articles/change-management-at-the-project-level