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The impact of change management on project management

The last few years have demonstrated that those who adapt to change quickly are likely to do well. All the changes that have occurred – from remote working, travel restrictions, click and collect shopping – have needed agile and focused responses to them. Change takes place every day in business, whether it is new projects, employee programs, to improve products or be more competitive in the market. Any change, whether it’s implementing new processes or technology, or a business-wide transformation, will affect all stakeholders. Change management is about how to implement changes at the same time as ensuring employees are comfortable with those changes. Change management is swiftly becoming a key area that needs to be integrated with project management, to ensure the success of change within organisations.

What is the difference between change and project management:

Project Management
This refers to the application of people, processes, knowledge, skills and methodologies to meet project requirements. A project is a temporary event, with a specific beginning and end date, and has a defined set of required deliverables. Project managers will employ specific tools or activities to drive the project forward through all its stages and fulfill the end result.
Change Management
Project management focuses on the tangibles, the actual activities or processes needed to complete a project. Change management focuses on the people affected by the projects, or other changes that occur in the company. Change management helps people adapt to new processes, activities, and tools. This helps to avoid resistance, reduction in productivity, and ensures the success of the project.

Why is change management necessary?

If change is inevitable, why do companies need to consider change management as part of their project management strategy? Project management tends to focus most on results and fulfilling the aim of the project. The team on the project may include people from various areas of the business, they aren’t always able to address the impact of the project on those in the organisation who aren’t part of the project team. Those outside the project team may be confused, anxious or resistant about the project because they don’t understand the need for the project changes or aren’t sure how to adapt to new processes. Without all of those affected by the change fully on board, the project can be stalled, or the outcomes aren’t realised in a meaningful way. Change management supports the people affected by the project to transition seamlessly, acting as the support team for the project. Change managers must create and then deliver positive messaging about the project, communicating the reason for change, and help those affected to identify issues and work forward effectively.

How to implement change management

Change management is a set of possibilities for addressing the people-side of business changes. It brings together many different tools and processes such as communication, sponsorship, coaching et cetera.
Businesses often implement change management to gain understanding of organisational culture, readiness for change, and other internal factors before any change occurs. Data analysis of areas that might be impacted, what the reaction might be, what will be needed to mitigate this impact, can all form a structured approach to planning and executing the proposed change. This makes it easier to see the obstacles and risks associated with projects, and then take proactive steps to avoid or reduce these risks and successfully transition from the current state to the new state.
When it comes to managing change, technology can be leveraged to make the case for change consistently and across different channels, taking employees on a personalised journey. To ensure your employees are involved in the changes proposed, the first step is to ensure communication tools are used, such as Microsoft Teams. With video, chat, and collaboration tools, Teams offers change managers a way to reach past the silos that often spring up in organisations, where one team or department is unaware or unaffected by what a different team is doing. Change is more effective when each person within the company is given information at the same time, in real-time, and data that is relevant to the impact the change will have on them. Chat, video messaging, internal social channels, training sessions, and other communication methods are important in change management.

Monitoring outcomes

Technology can also measure the success of change management initiatives and understand if people are adopting change as required, to maximise the chances of the project’s outcomes being realised. Technology allows change managers to streamline documentation, track information, improve engagement, and measure key target areas such as change effectiveness, leadership, communication, adoption, and benefits.

Managing change is no mean feat, especially with today’s digital workplace. Get your company up to speed with change and talk to the experts at Linktech Australia to achieve your business goals.