is a story told of a doctor who has just completed a surgical procedure. "The operation was a success" he says
"but unfortunately we lost the patient".
There are too many similar stories in the
world of project management. The project delivers
what it was supposed to 'technically', yet the end product is considered a failure:
It does not gain acceptance from key stakeholders and in worst case
scenarios is completely abandoned.
In many such cases, the cause
of the failure is poor change management.
Unfortunately, many leading Project Management Methods still give little or no
attention to this increasingly important aspect of project
What is Change Management?
While the discipline of change management
is a crucial issue and the subject of many learned tomes, we are concerned
with the issue of change management as it applies to IM&T projects -
particularly those of a substantial nature. Change Management is the
collection of disciplines and tasks which are necessary to help the
people in an organisation successfully cope with bringing about the 'new
As with many other project management principles, the underlying concept of
change management is simple: ensure
that every stakeholder is fully prepared for the way in which the
project outcomes will affect them. In some ways 'Change Management' is
a bit of a misnomer. Our real goal is to manage organisational
'readiness' in all its various forms. "So, change management is all about effective communication and training right?"
sort of.. The
specific activities to be undertaken
depend on many variables, such as the type of project, the degree of
change, the business of the organisation and the experience of
stakeholders to name a few. Assuming the project will be bringing on
reasonable change, you could expect the change management activities to include
Gaining meaningful support of key executives
potential impacts and corporate readiness
/ implementing strategies, plans and schedules for training and
with implementation plans
/ implementing new business processes, work-flows, structures and job descriptions
of these issues seem painfully obvious, yet it is surprising how
often they are ignored, forgotten or put off until later. Many
organisations have business units which have the skills to undertake one
or more of the activities, but they are not always consulted in time, or
given the guidance needed.