Project management is often defined as a task that has a defined end. Within this broad scope, there will be milestones and smaller goals set to keep the project on track. However, there may be a need for change management within a project. What is it and what can change consultants tell us about it?
What is change management in project management?
In the context of project management, change is defined as anything that transforms or impacts the tasks, processes, structure, or job roles within it. It is the tool and the processes that project managers can use to manage change within the project. It also refers to overseeing the project team to successfully incorporate change into their work and the project objectives too.
Change management training is clear: as project manager, it is your role to manage, plan and implement the smaller tasks needed for a project to reach its ultimate conclusion. Within this role, you’ll be managing change all the time.
On some parts of the project, change will happen quickly but in other areas, for all kinds of reasons, it will be lumbering and slow.
Change is a good thing – it means progress is being made – but it is also a risk – is the right progress being made, at a pace it needs to be at and is it bringing the benefits expected?
The five steps of managing change in project management
Change management training identifies the five steps to managing change within a project:
Step 1 Defining the change objective
What are you seeking to achieve with this change? Why does it need to happen? Just as important as answering these questions is including a metric that will conclusively indicate to project managers that the objective has been met.
Step 2 Developing a change management strategy and plan
A strategy will set out the overall picture of change management within the project, including the why, how, where, when and who. The plan will be the detailed steps and tasks that will need to be accomplished to drive the change forward.
Step 3 Creating a change management team
For change to be effective, it needs to be driven by the right team working to a detailed strategy and plan. Who you get involved will depend on what is needed. As well as people from your own team, you may seek staff from outside of the project, as well as contracts and stakeholders. Communication will be key too.
Step 4 Instil metrics to define progress
The fourth step is to ensure that, as project manager, you have metrics and milestones by which you can measure progress. Change management that doesn’t have these in place will be prone to drifting.
Step 5 Manage the project
And finally, as project manager, you need to follow these steps to manage and implement the change within the project. You may take a cyclical approach, travelling through these steps several times in the life