Change management is full of activities you cannot measure objectively, and even if you could, the effectiveness of change activities varies from person to person. In this video, Bob McGannon shares the steps he uses when creating a change management plan for his projects, including how to formulate and plan the change, communicate the change, provide education, and assessing new or differing roles. In addition, the measurements that can be put in place for staff to assess the effectiveness of the changed processes are reviewed.
- I really enjoy a good paradox. Those statements that contradict themselves. The classic example is if I said, "I always lie." Would I be telling the truth when I made that statement? Or am I lying? Change management in projects is a bit of a paradox. The project manager strives for control carefully planning and assessing the outputs for accuracy. Yet, change management is full of activities you can't measure objectively. And even if you could the effectiveness of change activity varies from person to person.
The Project Management Institute published a book entitled, "Managing Change in Organizations "A Practice Guide.", which has this quote. A change process tests both the human aspect and project management's need for control and requires the capability to deal with ambiguity. Controlling ambiguity. Now there's a paradox to ponder. But, that's change management in projects. Before you decide this can't be done consider the steps I use when creating a change management plan for my projects.
First, formulate and plan the change. Although your tasks may vary creating a plan of activity is the best place to start. As you do this, consider a variety of activities that appeal to different stakeholders and assess your results. As part of this plan, make sure you and your stakeholders clearly understand the objectives of the change. And, be sure to include what the change means to the organization and to your stakeholders as individuals.
Second, communicate the change as early in the project as possible. As the old saying goes, Better the devil you know then the devil you don't. While the potential for change emerges people will dream up change scenarios with awful impacts, and become fearful. Even if the change is not the best news it's better that those involved understand the change impacts and benefits and can deal with facts, rather than rumors. In short, this step ensures everyone knows what's happening.
Next, provide education and include as many stakeholders as you possibly can. This is an extension from the last step. Adding what and how the change will be achieved. Engaging in rich conversations helps people understand what you're trying to achieve. The more interactions you have the more you'll learn how to guide your team through the change journey. And you'll maximize the results from the change along the way. Fourth, assess new or modified roles that may result from your project change.
There are two very important reasons for this. One, the new roles need to be in place and working well for your change to be effective. And two, new roles can be an opportunity for your stakeholders to transform a feared changed to one that inspires growth and a new way to contribute to the organization. This has the potential to motivate your stakeholders. But only if the role change is understood. And the pathway from their current role to the new one is planned appropriately.
Otherwise, chaos and unfulfilled project objectives can result. Not to mention, disappointed stakeholders who will forever oppose your changes. Finally, ensure measurements are in place to assess the effectiveness of the changed processes. You may have to plan interim measurements as the new processes are tested. And then, final objective measurements when new processes are stabilized. For example, if you change a manufacturing line to increase output from five units a day to 10, you won't necessarily make the leap from five to 10 immediately.
Your staff will have to get used to the new manufacturing procedures and potentially using new machinery. Ensure your expectations are reasonable but don't compromise your overall goal. That way, people will understand what's expected and they can help achieve your projects goals. So there you go. My advice for managing change in projects. Use these tips and I can guarantee you one thing. While you'll still have to deal with ambiguity it'll likely be a bit easier to manage.
- Understanding the levels of change management
- Working through the five phases of change management
- Creating a change plan
- Communicating change
- Implementing change
- Managing risk
- Reinforcing change
- Evaluating the change
- Guiding individuals through change