According to change guru Peter Senge (1999), most change initiatives fail simply because they fail to produce hoped-for results. Given that project management is all about changing the status quo, effective change management is critical to project success.

Whether this is the latest ‘flavour of the month’ programs that senior management rolls out, implementation of an IT system or an internally-driven team initiative, it is important that the change and expectations are effectively managed.

Current thinking indicates that good managers are the key to successful change management. In general, managers who see the need for change are usually correct in their assessment. Senge (1999) says: “companies that fail to sustain significant change end up facing crises. By then their options are greatly reduced.”

It can be quite difficult for managers to view their work on change in a holistic fashion. Personal attitudes and political agendas can lead to bias towards HR issues or IT issues specifically preventing the big picture focus.

Based on this I have constructed 10 success factors to help project managers manage change in small projects or large organisations:

Factor 1 – Plan first

Take time to understand the central need for change. Know what you are trying to do and why. Think about the links of the change to real-life problems and create a vision of what it will look like when those problems are resolved. made.organizational change management software

Factor 2 – Involve the Team

Create opportunities – especially in the early stages – to discuss change with the team. This will not only create enthusiasm for change but also be a source of ideas for improved processes and ways of communicating to others. Negotiation will be easier if the team is on board from the start.

Factor 3 – Support the Team

Introduce the change clearly to the team. Explain the current performance level and why the change is needed, what it will involve and the objectives. Reassure staff throughout the change process – particularly around issues of changing roles.

Factor 4 – Lead by Example

Showing your own commitment to the change will act as a signpost for others in the team to also commit. Make your commitment evident in the decisions you make.

Factor 5 – Put Yourself in the Team’s Shoes

Try to anticipate what will be the key issues that concern team members. Plan how you can best deal with them should they arise. Concerns will most often be about changed ways of working, new reporting structures, changes to job roles and services and unfamiliar systems or tools

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