Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Aligning project and change management practices

Have just spent 2 days with 150 project managers and change managers at the Association of Change Management Practitioners European Conference. Key topic has been the integration of change management into project management.

Although effective project managers accept that making sure what they deliver is successfully implemented is within the scope of the project lifecycle a lot of project management frameworks don’t have any formal activities or processes for encouraging this. There are also practical considerations which push change outside of the remit of the project managers:
• It is not cost effective for project teams to remain in place once development and testing of the deliverables has been completed.
• Change activities can benefit from the knowledge of the project team, but individuals cannot outsource implementation and embedding, they have to make the changes for themselves.
• Projects are expected to deliver on time, on budget and to specific quality criteria, but the pace and scope of changes that individuals adopt cannot be constrained in this way.
• The objectives of project and change activities are different. Project activities deliver the potential for change: the new processes, systems, organisation structure etc.; change activities create the persuasion, motivation and leading by example that results in the new business environment.

Organisations are now starting to address these issues and some of the actions organisations are taking include:
Renaming all project managers to change managers – as the name reinforces their responsibilities for implementation
Establishing the role of change manager and making sure that there is a change manager for every project
Defining what the change activities are and making sure the cost of them is included in the business case for the project
Building a central ‘business support function’ that is staffed by project managers and change managers who work together on projects
Changing the remit of the PMO to become a centre of excellence for project delivery and the implementation of change

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