You have to change before you can manage change

Books and green apple

If you remember from my previous post, change management still has the reputation as being touchy feely. But there is also another perception about change management out there that what ever goes wrong with the project, is because there wasn’t good change management.

The idea of change management is growing traction among the project management professional community, which is really exciting for someone like me who has a foot in both camps , but it also has some drawbacks.

I have worked with  projects managers who really understand the value in a clearly defined change management plan that works in conjunction with the project plan. They understand that in order to get people to accept the project and what it is trying to accomplish, there has to be some good communication and transparency around the project.

Then there are other project managers who have a vague idea that they should have “change management” for their project, or were told that they need to have change management, but they don’t really know what that means or what it entails.

In these cases, it is real easy blame anything that goes wrong with the project, on the change management. As the change manager you need to be able to educate the project team, and that isn’t always easy, especially when they are in the deep in the trenches of the project and have other priorities.

So how do we, as change managers, change the perception and educate seasoned project managers?

  • I think by becoming part of the project team, and earning the respect and trust of the project managers, project team members and most importantly the sponsors.
  • Educate them about what change management is, and how it can positively effect the outcome of the project. Educate by doing, and by your actions.

In a recent tutorial on the Prosci, Inc. change management website, there was a great piece about integrating change management and project management. The article points out the differences, and how they connect.

If you can get the project team to understand this key point;  The technical side of the project is about the design, the development and the delivery, and the people side is about getting people to embrace, adopt and use the end product, it will definitely help the relationship and help establish the clear roles and responsibilities. read the whole tutorial here:


One response to “You have to change before you can manage change

  • Patty

    Amazing points on the nuances of change management. Project management really can become the scapegoat for failures across an organization. I believe part of the problem is that the people part of the equation is often overlooked in favor of efficiency and meeting deadlines. Change management is so important to ensure the people doing the work are bought in so when the project is complete the implementation is successful and the outcome becomes engrained in the company culture.

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