As a project manager, it is impossible that you are unfamiliar with project management methodologies by this point in time. An essential tool for planning, executing and monitoring project performance, project management assists your projects with staying on track, within budget, completed and delivered before deadlines are due. But, as projects evolve, are modified, or have their courses altered entirely, what is in place to manage how well your personnel adjust and adapt to changes in project approach and structure?
This is where change management comes into play.
Project management is an invaluable methodology for managing projects, but it does not encapsulate your entire organizational operations.
Many project managers are still unfamiliar with what change management actually is, so before we argue why it should be integrated with your project management let us go over the primary components of change management and how it differs from project management.
Change management in a nutshell
Simply think of project management as managing the technical elements of a project’s progress, while change management is the methodology for managing the human elements of a project.
As projects undergo inevitable changes, project management addresses the installation of new SOPs and protocols. Deadlines may shift, priorities may be substituted, any number of aspects of the project can change, and project management handles the assignment of new tasks and rearrangement of the organizational approach to completing tasks.
Change management addresses the practical, hands-on methods for the implementation of procedures following project changes. Change management is the guiding tool for your personnel to swiftly adjust to and adopt new methods for performing and completing tasks within unfamiliar territory.
When you first get your hands on a new hire as a project manager you are responsible for onboarding them, familiarizing them with SOPs, company culture, etc. The transition to a new company that is likely using a different set of approaches to what they are used to can be jarring, hence the onboarding process.
Similarly, change to a familiar set of SOPs and practices for tackling projects can also be jarring for staff, even seasoned team members. 70% of organizational changes result in failure, due to inadequate change management. Change management is essentially a set of methods for re-boarding your on-hand personnel so that your project is back up and running with little loss in time and averted headaches for you and your staff.
While project management is essential for a competitive level of overall project success, integrating change management further bolsters your organizational ability to complete projects on time and fosters future staff abilities to adapt to unforeseen changes.
By combining these two management methodologies you significantly increase the odds of consistently achieving intended project outcomes. Let us share with you 4 reasons why it is invaluable for your company to integrate change management with project management. Believe us, you will thank us by the end of this article.
1. Integration creates a shared organizational objective
Once you have integrated change management with project management, the organizational whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts. Both the installation of procedures and implementation of practices are focused on the same page, focused towards achieving the same goal: the most effective way in which to complete the present project.
On one hand, it is rather easy to adjust your project management to suit project changes. On the other, without change management in place, the project manager is going end up running around like a chicken with its head cut off addressing inquiries and concerns from personnel. They will feel like someone just shut off the lights and they are now lost in the dark. 65% of surveyed project staff reported change fatigue when they did not have change management in place.
People are unique, but with a structured discipline in place to support and guide your team through change, your project personnel will be quick to adapt and follow changes that benefit your organizational objective.
2. Ability to anticipate obstacles due to change
When change management is integrated into project management, the project manager has a deeper understanding of how each member of the project adapts to change, what their strengths and weaknesses are. As we said before, everybody is unique.
Change management involves a proactive approach to handling how certain degrees of project change will impact the team. Certain members might have issues with changes in schedules, others perhaps will simply feel uncomfortable leaving their comfort zone.
Whatever the case may be, by being proactive managers are able to foresee how a beneficial organizational change may produce obstacles on the personal level for some employees.
3. The benefit of personal and technical alignment
By integrating the two methodologies, change is plainly handled more swiftly than if not integrated. When the same objective is shared between project adjustment and personnel re-boarding, your team will feel motivated to adapt to the changes at hand. After all, they are personally supported just as much as the technical side of your organization.
4. Facilitated exchange of information
This is valuable because when your team members are at ease and aware that they are supported with a structured discipline in place, they will feel more comfortable to voice concerns, or their own ideas for managing the new changes.
The sharing of ideas during a challenging time is an asset to organizational success. As a project manager you may indeed have experience and your own great ideas, but most of your staff are greater experts in their roles than you are. When they feel comfortable and in alignment with the project objectives your staff will be more willing to raise questions and make suggestions.
Integrate now or disintegrate later
Change does not come about easily. Human beings are resistant to changing their habits, routines, and location. However, we are much more resilient than we let on. Just because change is unfamiliar, maybe even scary at times, it does not mean that it cannot be achieved.
That being said, why not make your organizational adoption of changes as easy as possible? By integrating change management into your project management you have every base covered, from the technical minutiae to the human experience.
Neglecting to integrate a change management methodology results in unnecessary headaches, slowed project completion, and turnover. Integrate now or have your organization disintegrate later.
About the Author
Pavel is a doctor who happens to have an MBA degree and a strong passion for writing. "I am a do-it-all kind of person: When I am not writing, I am busy curing people, when I am not curing people, I tend to kill WCG competitions. Life is fun, and full of wonders: Do what you enjoy most, even if it’s everything at once."More Content by Pavel Aramyan