Project Management and Change Management – How Insentra ensures projects run smoothly

Change Is Guaranteed

I am going to say something that will really blow your mind… are you ready? It seems in business today that change is the only constant in this crazy fast-paced world of variables. Oxymoron… hmm perhaps, but hear me out. We are getting so accustomed to the changing work environment (it has become the norm) but we can come off bruised and battered when change is not managed well. It can cost businesses both in ways that are both measurable and immeasurable. Poorly adopted initiatives, implementations that are not utilised, people’s morale, attrition and increased absenteeism just to name a few. Intrigued?

Change is occurring in organisations every day. New initiatives are introduced promising to revolutionise the way we do business, make our processes more efficient, reduce waste and repetition and increase performance to ultimately makes business more viable. Project Managers (PMs) are charged with the task of managing these implementations. They manage the initiative within the constraints of scope, budget and time to roll out this new technology and, once complete, measure the success against said constraints. But you see, therein lies the problem. Project success and value are often realised long after the project has closed and the PM has moved on to the next engagement. I mean, many PMs are managing multiple concurrent projects, so seriously are we really meant to care what happens when the project closes? Well, businesses can’t afford NOT to care. Managing the transition from the current state to the new end state is taken really seriously at Insentra because we understand the importance of a positive end user experience in the success of any initiative. Drawing from our years of experience and lessons learned, we offer guidance to our customers on what to expect along the way and how to best minimise the negative impacts of the transition.

Now there is one common denominator consistent across project implementations and in realising the success of your initiatives. Yep you guessed it: people! Additionally, there is evidence that project success factors increase when we consider the social/psychological aspects of a project, i.e. the human element. People are the ones most impacted by any new initiative; how they do their work, job roles, workflows and behaviours can all be affected. So, if people are the key to realising the true success of your initiative, then doesn’t it make sense to plan this human element carefully?

Organisational Change Management

It can be said that project implementations can deliver the outputs of a project without delivering expected outcomes. In other words, the initiative is focused on the solution, rather than the benefits of the solution. Sheesh really? Therefore, the benefits are realised when the people interacting with the new initiative bring it to life in their daily work lives. So, if applying change management methodologies significantly increases the success of the project or change, then it’s almost criminal not to at least consider it.

Just as PMs have specific tools to support the implementation of their project, change management also has a unique set of tools to support the people side of a project or organisational change. So how can we, as PMs, support the people side of a project?

Integrating Project and Change Management

At Insentra we love working with our customers and helping them realise the value and benefits of a project by delivering solutions with minimal impacts to users. We are aware that Project Management and Change Management cross paths throughout the project lifecycle and both have an important role in the success of a project. Prosci, who focus exclusively on Change Management, created a framework and tools to increase success and improve the outcomes of the desired change/project. Prosci created the ADKAR model which outlines the individual’s successful journey through change:

  1. Awareness of the business reason for change; the reason why this change is necessary and, in our project kick-off, seek to understand the main drivers of an initiative
  2. Desire to engage and participate in the change; reduce resistance and increase adoption by piloting the solution to remediate any issues prior to the production roll-out
  3. Knowledge of how to change; training and coaching
  4. Ability to realise or implement the change and what that means to users; training and coaching
  5. Reinforcement to ensure the change is permanent; measuring success of the change and understanding how we can do better

Each step intuitively fits into the typical activities associated with change management. The model is also useful to:

  1. Diagnose resistance to change
  2. Assist with the transition associated with the change
  3. Developing a change management plan for the individuals impacted

The model seeks to understand the individuals needs throughout any change and directs the support required to successfully move through the process positively. The most common human reaction to change is resistance, you know what I’m talking about! It’s hard, it can be messy, and ultimately, we humans just love the cosiness of familiarity. So, you see, the biggest threat to project or change adoption is resistance. ADKAR, addresses this with strategies that support people and address their concerns through the change process. Understanding how to support individuals navigate the changing environment is paramount to success and ultimately the realisation of the value of your initiative. If your project closes, the new environment is not utilised and the value and benefits are lost, then has your project been successful? I’d say, no! Project management isn’t for the faint hearted and really, is adding an additional element to scope feasible? Perhaps not in its entirety, but I challenge you to raise it with the decision makers in your business, perhaps you’ll be the trailblazer of change in your organisation?

I hope this blog has whet your appetite for change management. I encourage you to seek to understand change management, the benefits, methodologies and tools. For a more comprehensive understanding of change management visit the Prosci website, where you’ll find oodles of accessible resources. I guarantee it will be worth it and it just may be your picture under the Employee of the Month plaque decking the walls of reception.

What kinds of changes have been successful in your organisation? Do you believe planning the human side of an initiative important and valuable, or costly and overrated?