Project Managers and Change

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Every project launched is a change project. It may be a simple project or a complex, cross-functional project – regardless, it is change.

If project managers take a change view of every project they lead, they will do a better job engaging the stakeholders in the project and reaching a successful conclusion. That is because when a project manager keeps in mind that the project she is leading is change for someone, she can approach the project from the perspective of the individuals and how they will need to change. Let’s look at a brief example.

Carmella is leading an initiative to refine processes within accounts payable. While the goal of the process improvement project is to reduce the time for processing payment through the use of new technology, Carmella is aware of three key factors:

  1. The individuals who utilize the current processes have been doing so for over five years.
  2. Two of the individuals created the original process that is still in use today.
  3. There is likely to be concerns around what skills and knowledge will be required to use the new process and associated technology.

With this information, Carmella meets with the stakeholders impacted by the project. She shares with them the goal of the process improvement project – to reduce time for processing payment through the use of new technology and thereby enabling stakeholders to be more efficient in their roles and reduce their manual workload. She further tells them that training will be provided before full implementation of the technology so that they are comfortable. And, she invites them to see a demo of the technology. Additionally, she schedule another meeting with them to discuss their current processes with a focus on where they think improvements exist.

Carmella is engaging these stakeholders in the project. Regardless of Carmella’s perception of the change, she understanding that the stakeholders need to be comfortable with the change if they are to embrace it. If they are not comfortable, they are likely to resist, which will cause the project to fail. Additionally, concerns among the stakeholders regarding the project and its impact on them personally may impact productivity in the group.

When project managers recognize and accept that every project they undertake represents a change for someone in the organization, they will better be able to engage stakeholders in the project. This is done by acknowledging the (potential) impact and addressing early on in the communications and throughout the project the concerns and needs of stakeholders.

Posted on: August 08, 2018 03:37 PM | Permalink

Comments (15)

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Gina, thanks for sharing these good points

Every project creates the opportunity to make a change & that change can be dynamic.

Very good article Gina!

Really manage stakeholder engagement is very important to increase project successful by communicate and work with them and resolve issues by issue log!!!

You are absolutely right Gina and especially in international project for development in developing countries where the changes affects a wider array of people.

Agreed, they need a desire and consensus regarding change.

The change management aspect of a project can be overlooked or minimized, not intentionally, throughout the execution. Reminding the customer of the importance of developing the strategy for the change in advance provides further opportunity for a smooth transition.

Thanks, Gina.

Keeping the change perspective in mind, definitely motivates the PM & the team, Gina. Thanks for this post.

Good article Gina. Thanks for sharing.

Thanks for sharing Gina!

Love this article, puts a more "human" perspective on a project when the project can be dominated by maximizing profits or cutting costs without considering people in the equation.

Project is a change, very clearly.

Well said Gina! I now have a new mantra to add to my wall:

Every project causes change. Every change is a project.

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"There is more to life than increasing its speed."

- Mahatma Gandhi



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