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Why Change Management matters to Project Management

There are probably hundreds of good reasons to have change expertise available to you when you are working on a major project. We've all seen the ramifications of a project that forgets about people, and the biggest focus of any change person worth their salt is ... people.

We've boiled down the key selling points for any Change Manager (or at least the good ones we've worked with!) to five key areas. If you aren't getting this from the Change person working with you then it's time to ask for more, or start making sure you get some advice elsewhere to keep your ducks neatly in a row!

So exactly why does Change Management matter to Project Management?

Well the first reason really is about smoothing rough edges and creating a path to your destination.

Smoother Sailing on Rough Seas

Change Managers can turn a potentially rocky transition into a smooth voyage for the entire project team.

They look across the experience for everyone and see the potential confusion or difficulty that may come and proactively identify potential concerns, listen to worries and tailor training. They can collect insights and any emerging issues which in turn allows the team to make necessary adjustments to the implementation plan.

All of which smooths the path of the transition, allowing those rough edges to the smoothed, those sharp transitions to be softened, while the project moves forward.

Project Managers should value these skills as they can reduce the turbulence that changes, whether in processes, technologies, or team structures, bring to the people in the organisation, also ensuring that the project remains on course.

Engagement and Energy

Change Managers can harness and maintain the energy of your people, and keep them focused on the goal of your project.

They help to shape a clear meaning and message for the change, and involve the people in the change process, to help you deliver inclusive and co-created project experience which people feel they had an active role in designing. They can make engagements throughout the project creative and fun, and create the right types of celebrations to reinforce and embed the change.

Project Managers benefit from this by having a team that's not just aware of the changes but actively supports and contributes to them, and continues to adopt the changes over the long term.

Group of corporate workers seated at an event applauding

Anticipating and Mitigating Risk

Change Managers can help you see ahead to the potential risks and create strategies to mitigate those risks before they become issues for both the people and the project.

They create a broad and deep view of the people impacts of the change you plan to make, and should have an understanding of both the technical impacts and the psychosocial hazards that may emerge or already exist. This means they can ensure that these risks and hazards are identified early, and contingency plans are in place, minimizing the impact on the people and creating strategies to allow these people to understand and adopt the changes.

Project Managers can see a reduction in the likelihood of their project risks (such as delays and impacts on project timelines and outcomes) being realised into issues and see an improvement in stakeholder relations and interactions.

Strategic Design Skills

Great Change Managers design a change experience, they don't just follow a framework.

They use strategic thinking, human centred-practice and good old pragmatism to see and respond to the change as it is now and as it changes along the way. Change Managers can help shape a great experience for the people through co-design, transparency and responsive two-way methods.

Project Managers can rely on Change Managers to continuously align their activities with the project's strategic objectives with a proactive rather than reactive view. This contributes to the long term outcomes and supports confidence for people even when the project has stages of uncertainty or change of the change itself.

Two corporate workers in an office environment. The male worker is seated at a desk looking at a computer and the female is standing next to him gesturing at something on the screen they are both looking at.

People Insight and Focus

Change Managers place priority on people and work to gain insight in each interaction (or at least they should!)

Change Managers understand the impact that projects and change have on the people involved, including the project team. They know how changes can impact individuals, teams and the business and they work to uncover how these different impacts are experienced and the responses from different people.

The moral, and legal, obligations for all workers to ensure the psychological safety of others, mean having someone who is focused on these human experiences can ensure that your project does limited harm to employee morale and productivity (in fact you might even help improve these things!). Plus engaged and motivated team members are more likely to adapt to changes positively, leading to better project outcomes.

A Change Manager can do so many great things for a Project, as well as being a fantastic member of the project team when things are uncertain or unclear. And they don't NEED to be a full time team member to give you this kind of help and support (in our opinion).

You can access expert help at the right times and places, to:

  • give you advice

  • help you build a strategy

  • help you build you own skills

  • help you course correct

  • support you with immediate problem solving

Thinking this might work for you? You can talk with us today and see what kind of help we could provide your Project team, or you personally to give you all these benefits.

Book a Clarity Call today or check out our Change Must-Haves Session to find out more about Project Change.


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