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5 simple ways to integrate change management into your projects

Research clearly indicates that change management is an important factor in enabling the realization of the benefits brought on by a project or initiative. The fifth edition of the PMBOK also points towards the same direction by creating new processes around Stakeholder engagement. However, the projects or change initiatives you lead don’t always have the luxury of having change agents involved. 

In this context, how do you become the successful project manager that helps the organization deliver the expected results?  You may sense that if the organization doesn’t feel the need to apply change management best practices, than why should you? It’s simple, because it could save you time! And could save the project money!

Ensuring that employees are on board and willing to embrace the change requires that all levels of management get involved, even project managers. So how do we go about it without taking on the entire workload of another person? Here are a 5 simple ways that can help.

1.       Involve the users

Make sure you have representation from different business areas, have them review your communication strategies and implementation plan. If you have created a trusting relationship, they will not hesitate to share with you their insight as to the pros and cons of your strategy.

2.       Embrace preoccupations and concerns

Concerns don’t have to be right or wrong, but as long as they exist you are facing potential resistance. Addressing these concerns is key to a smoother implementation. Don’t assume that because a majority is on-board and that the change is viewed as positive, that there are no concerns.

3.       Capture human and organizational impacts as well as the technical ones.

It’s one thing to inform employees that they will now be keying in information in a new system, but when that means they will no longer be picking up the phone and speaking to people that they have gotten close to, it’s a whole different ball game. If you are not addressing the latter, you are setting yourself up for resistance and slower adoption.  Making sure that you’ve captured these impacts will allow you to plan your change activities accordingly.

4.       Be creative with your project team.

Brainstorm with your project team and a few representatives from the business area where the change will be implemented on the type of activities required to ensure adoption. Sometimes an email is enough but most often supporting activities are required.

 5.        Informing or communicating.

“Well… I communicated it, not my fault if they didn’t read it or get the message” We often focus our project change activities on communication, assuming that because we’ve communicated it, we’ve done our job. You can’t make up for poor organizational communication strategies but you can make sure the same message is being communicated more than once using different medias and forums. They say you need to say the same thing seven times before people get it… Get it? Adopting the change is all about getting it!

The upcoming blog posts will dive deeper into each of the mentioned subjects.

And you, what best practices in change management have you been able to integrate into your project management?

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