The practice of Change Management (CM) has evolved over the past number of years from ground-breaking foundational work to a formalization of the practice to a maturing change management discipline1. While each project is different in terms of the change management challenges each present, the CM practitioner now has at their disposal a well-rounded professional library or professional body of knowledge consisting of processes, tools and industry best practices. Their judicious application has led to a demonstrable increase in the likelihood of project success2. Let’s not get complacent, however. Every CM and project management professional needs to approach a project with two (immutable) fundamentals in mind, that when applied, will signpost the way to a successful project.
1. Change and project management MUST go hand in hand
Projects and programs create change as a natural consequence of successful implementation. These initiatives will impose change on some stakeholders or stakeholder groups and those stakeholders will, conversely, impact the outcomes of the initiative. In other words, the initiative, its stakeholders and resulting change are inextricable and must be treated as such. Given this, the management of change is an integral part of initiative (project/program) management, and must not be addressed in isolation, or as an adjunct to, the management of the initiative itself.
This is a core tenet in Watershed CIs Change Integration® philosophy. Our experience in managing and consulting on initiatives, both large and small, over the last number of years, continues to prove the success of eschewing a binary approach for an integrated one.
2. Communicate early and communicate often
Communicate, communicate, communicate.
It is essential to the success of your initiative, no matter the size or complexity, to develop a comprehensive communication plan. It bears repetition:
- Communicate early.
- Communicate often.
The development of a communication plan necessitates a thorough understanding of your initiative stakeholders through a structured stakeholder analysis. The resulting successful communication plan will have this basic tenet embedded.
Change management is obviously more complicated and involved than what has been listed here. Attention to these basic precepts, however, will help lay the solid foundation for a successful initiative.
1Prosci. (2018). The History and Future of Change Management. Retrieved from www.prosci.com/change-management/thought-leadershiup-library/history-and-future-of-change-management.
2Prosci. (2018). Why Change Management? Retrieved from www.prosci.com/change-management/why-change-management.