In Change Management, Integrating Project and Change Management

In project management, the quest for efficiency often takes centre stage. However, an equally critical component that demands attention is the ‘people side’ of change. Balancing efficient delivery with the people side of change is not just a necessity but a strategic imperative for successful project outcomes and benefits realisation.

Change inherently brings disruption. It challenges the status quo and underlying assumptions about how things should be. It shakes up established ways of working and jolts people out of their comfort zones. When we talk about the people side of change, what we really mean is how individuals within an organisation perceive, process, and react to changes. It’s about their emotional responses, how these changes impact their feelings and behaviours and what helps them adapt and respond to change in a productive way.

As highlighted in my recent ‘Chat about change’ article with Lorraine Kelly, Director of Organisational Development, Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion at King’s College London, this balance is essential for success. For example, in developing comprehensive engagement strategies, King’s College conducted a large-scale staff survey. The survey’s success, particularly in terms of high engagement, speaks volumes about the importance of bringing everyone along the journey. This extended to those often considered hard to reach stakeholders, such as off-site staff members in roles like security, cleaning and those on the front line.

The intersection of streamlining project delivery with change management

Efficient delivery in project management typically focuses on time and budget constraints, and meeting predefined objectives. These efficiency-driven goals must be balanced with the people aspects, because ultimately, it’s the people who will implement these changes and use the things that are delivered. If we don’t get people onboard, with using the new thing, the required benefits will not be achieved. Timesheet reporting for example. A lot of money can be spent on purchasing and implementing a new system, but if you don’t pay attention to getting people on board with the idea, so they understand why it’s important and how it will help them and the organisation, engaging them in working out how to make this work for them and removing the barriers to learning and using the new system, chances are it will be a long uphill struggle to get this widely used and embedded across the organisation.

As Louise Gibson, a seasoned project and change manager, aptly puts it in her ‘Chat about change’ interview “Change needs to be ‘done with’ people, not ‘to’ them.” This quote emphasises the importance of involving people in the change process, making them feel heard and valued. It’s about fostering a culture where change is not something to be feared but embraced as a path to personal and organisational growth.

It may be tempting to delay talking to upset or stressed-out stakeholders, especially if they seem resistant to the idea of the new system or process being proposed. But resistance to change can be helpful, so rather than shy away from resistance, get curious about what is behind it. People who are vocal about their objections to a change may in fact really care about getting this right and because they know how it will impact their work, can see potential pitfalls.

Identifying potential pitfalls early, means potential risks are highlighted. Proactive risk management is key for efficient delivery and improving your chances of success. If people can see they are being listened to and they have a say, they are more willing to engage and give their input about what will make the solution work for them. This helps with better quality requirements gathering for the project, which helps build a solid foundation for project success.

So, we need effective project management to ensure we deliver things efficiently, in a timely way and within the set constraints. Maintaining momentum and showing visible progress and benefits, is motivating for people and good for the organisation. We also need effective change management to bring people along the journey, to help them become ready, willing and able to make the most of the things that projects deliver. We need both project management and change management, working together, for sustainable organisational success.

Organisations are gradually recognising the importance of change management as a crucial component of successful projects. As mentioned by Holly Source in our ‘Chat about change’  integrating change management seamlessly with projects involves active engagement at all levels of the organisation.

Join our part four of our webinar series to learn more about balancing project delivery with change management

If you are facing challenges in balancing project delivery with change management, then join our next webinar ‘Streamlining delivery for effective change’ on the 15th March 2024 @ 12:30 GMT.

Learn with how to integrate these critical skills to boost efficiency and bring everyone on board. Join us to gain practical insights and strategies that will empower you to navigate through the complexities of change while maintaining project momentum.



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