Categorized | Management

Managing change as a project manager

Change is inevitable in life. Knowing that change will happen and being willing to go along with it can make a substantial difference. In a business setting managing change can be complex, frustrating and requires both perseverance and patience. When managing change the project manager’s role is as much to do with managing stakeholders perceptions, issues and requirements as it is about managing work packages to a schedule.

As Project Manager what should you focus on? This is not an easy question and it will be dependent on the size and scale of your project – however change management does require some focus on three common areas:

Communication

Managing change successfully requires involvement and communication. Not letting stakeholders know what is going on and how the change will affect them can be a key barrier to obtaining buy in. The longer you fail to communicate the worse the problem can get with increasing levels of resistance and skepticism. Whilst its likely you may not know everything regarding the impact of the change from day one of your project proceeding with minimal communications can damage both your stakeholders and your project team.

Managing resistance

Resistance to change is a common challenge. There are always going to be those who are not happy about the what your doing or do not want to accept change into the workplace (especially where it may impact their employment). These individuals may be unhelpful or at worst act to get the project cancelled. You need to devise an appropriate strategy for these stakeholders which may involve them directly as part of your project team.

Preparing for change

With any change program preparation (i.e. training) and follow on support should be an integral element of your project plan. Maybe the change is software that will be used, a security system and/or how a change in working process. When stakeholders are unaware of how to act you are really asking for trouble. It is going to take awhile for the users to be able to operate the new process or system – minimal training will only make things worse.

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