What is Project management methodology - Change Management

A project management methodology is frequently used to organize and implement change initiatives. It is not the purpose here to describe in any detail how to manage projects – there are a host of books (Boddy, 2001; Turner et al, 1996) and a number of methodologies (Prince 2, MSP) which will do this. It is important, however, to discuss the similarities and differences between change management and project management and why this book focuses on a some what different terrain than project management.

A project management method organizes, manages and controls discrete projects such as the technical aspects of installing a new system or a new structure. Managed successfully it should deliver the right changes, on time and with in budget. It should help manage risk, control quality and deal with any obstacles and issues that arise during the project. Projects will be clearly defined in terms of scope, goals and objectives, with allocation of personnel, roles and responsibilities. There will be well defined and measurable business outcomes; a corresponding set of organized tasks to achieve the outcomes; an allocation of resources; and a project organization structure to manage the project.

The essential difference between project management and change management is that the project will tend to focus on the technical aspects of the change whilst change management will tend to focus on the psychological aspects of the transition from one state to the other. That is not to say that good project management will not use good leadership, inter personal skills or focus on people, but often that is not its primary purpose. So, for example, a project might focus on the technical aspects of managing a restructure by identifying components of the new structure, generating job descriptions, developing equitable interviewing processes and designing appropriate redundancy packages. Change management will encompass managing the psychological transition from one way of working to another, dealing with the emotional aspects of change and the disturbances that can occur. Managing what is seen as resistance to the change tends to come under the remit of change management.

A project may well be deemed completed when a new information system has been successfully installed, gone live and staff trained to operate it. However, the management of change may well continue through the need for a different style of leadership, building a different type of culture and interacting with customers in a different way. It deals with embedding the changes in the organization.

Organizing for change

Project management is a process for implementing change that takes you from the process of defining the change from the business strategy through defining the project scope, understanding enablers and constraints, to developing a project strategy and plan, and then to project implementation, monitoring,control and learning.

There is also the need to cascade the objectives down to more and more detailed sets, from the overall change objectives, through the programme, project objectives to the work area, team and individual objectives.
Typically, project methodologies would cover the following areas:

  • understanding the drivers for business change;
  • managing the business change process;
  • project and programme management team with the relevant roles and responsibilities;
  • benefits management and realization;
  • business case;
  • identification and management of stakeholders;
  • communication;
  • risk management;
  • issue management;
  • quality management;
  • programme planning and control;
  • quality management strategy;
  • project and programme management processes.

Two key roles in the organization and implementation of any change management project are the project manager (the person primarily responsible for running the project), and the project sponsor, or Senior Responsible Officer (SRO) in project management terminology (the person who oversees the project’s successful journey, and in terms of the project’s relationship with the rest of the organization has the power and authority of corporate governance). Our case studies suggest that both roles are critical to the successful outcome of the initiatives.

The project manager or change team leader needs to have an understanding not only of the task/technical side of the changes but also the ability to understand and mobilize people on a psychological/emotional level both with in and beyond the change team.

The change manager must have relevant power and authority with in the team (be they full-time, part-time or seconded individuals) and be able to exercise influence and impact with in the pertinent areas of the business. Clearly the change manager needs to be leading and managing the team; effectively communicating to all stakeholders; be outcome focused; successful in juggling the time, budget and quality dimensions; using relevant management, change management and project management techniques and methodologies; monitoring and evaluating progress; being risk aware but not necessarily risk averse; and being able to escalate where necessary.

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