Thought Leaders

5 Reasons Project Managers Should Know Change Management

Bringing together project management and change management

Organisational change cannot happen without an effective partnership between creation of new ways of working (projects) and their transition to become the new norm (change management).

These were the key points I made to a group of Project Managers recently, to demonstrate that their current view of the project timeline ending with handover isn’t doing them any favours.

Top 5 Reasons why change management is important

  1. Understand and plan: You cannot realise the benefits of your project if you don’t understand and plan for all of the activities users need to help them transition from one way of working to another.

    A lot of these activities involve persuading users that working differently will have a positive outcome for them personally as well as the organisation, which can be sometimes be a hard sell and takes a lot of time.

    It will also involve identifying and including in your plan activities where users can ‘discover’ the required changes by participating in the project. We might need to give them access to trial versions and demonstration models so that they can more easily picture the impact of the project.

  2. Effective Scoping: You will under estimate the time (and possibly money) required for your project because without these transition activities your project will be under scoped. In a lot of cases these persuasion and participation activities can take as long or longer than the creation of the project deliverables.
  3. The “Right Stuff”: You won’t assign enough resources with the right skills. Helping users to transition to new ways of working requires high levels of interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence. You need project team members who are persuasive, engaging and can build trust with their users.
  4. Key activities: Without an understanding of how to manage change you will not appreciate the importance of key activities including Impact Assessments, Readiness Assessments and deployment of change levers. If these are not in your project plan from the beginning they are very hard to re-fit into your project at the end.
  5. Vital Impact Assessment: Stakeholder identification is often taught on the basis of models such as UPIG – Users, Providers, Influencers and Governance.

    However, a detailed Impact Assessment will identify stakeholders who are the recipients of ‘knock-on effects’ and unintended consequences from your project that you will not find unless you specifically search for them.

    This leads to a higher number of stakeholders requiring engagement, which adds to the number of communication activities in your project plan.

Melanie Franklin has a track record of excellence in project, programme and portfolio planning and delivery. She has set up and run the project management capability for several major corporates and has been responsible for the successful delivery of global transformational change programmes for over twenty years. She is the co-chair of the Change Management Institute in the UK and is a ‘Master’ level change practitioner. Melanie is the author of many books on change and project management including Managing Business Transformation and Agile Change Management. 

Use these links for more ideas about how to manage change and its relationship with project management:

Melanie Franklin, Change Management Institute and Agile Change Management Ltd.

Melanie Franklin
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