January 19, 2018


Project management advice, tips, tools and recommended resources for existing and aspiring project managers.

Change Management Process – Benefits and Project Impact

Benefits of change managementMany people believe that an effective Change Management process, has become essential in delivering successful projects and getting a return on investment.

In answer to the question if there is a Return on Investment for Change Management, we can turn to a Report that was published by Afro Ant in April 2014. This report was the output of an Ant Conversation, hosted by Afro Ant (and co-sponsored by Old Mutual) which was attended by 24 professionals who work in the field of Change Management or work closely with Change Managers. This conversation, centered around ROI, encouraged the sharing of insights, opinions, and lessons learned from working in the field of Change Management – specifically around the benefits of implementing Change Management properly, the negative effects if this is not done, and how the ROI on Change Management can be measured.

This is the first of a series of 3 articles about the Change Management process. It will cover the benefits of change management, ideas for how to measure return on investment (ROI) and negative effects of insufficient change management.

What is Change Management

Change management can be defined as a framework for managing the effect of new business processes, systems and structures or culture changes to achieve a required business outcome.

Directed change can be defined as the change in business and operational practices that is required to ensure the sustained realisation of business outcomes. It’s implemented within constraints.

It’s important to understand the objectives and scope of the change and what the expected benefits of the implementation are in order to determine if you’re doing the right things and doing them well. A measurement for the effectiveness is also needed.

Benefits of Change Management

When we talk about Change Management and its benefits, there is a distinct link back to how Change Management is managed. Some of the benefits of Change Managements are easily recognised, but there are other benefits that are not as overt, but would have a bigger impact on your project. When you implement change management you can expect some of, although not limited to, the following benefits:

#1 It will give you a structured approach to change

In addition change management will assist in managing the transition.

#2 Benefit realisation

If a change (to adopt a new way of working) is not managed properly, many of the benefits may not be realised.

#3 Change management will provide effective communication.

That means the ability to provide clear and consistent communication so that individuals involved in, or impacted by the change, know what they need to know, when they need to know and are able to work towards adopting the change.

#4 Role Clarity

Change managers work with the project and leadership team to confirm roles and responsibilities, and guidelines so that stakeholders understand what is expected of them and when.

#5 Making change sustainable

Structured management of change support working with stakeholders to make sure that the change is sustainable and that it lasts. A key element of this is to transfer knowledge from the project to the stakeholders, equipping them with the skills they may need to maintain the change.

#6 Stakeholder involvement

Change should be done with people. It gives people being impacted a voice and makes them part of the change initiative. Stakeholder buy-in and leadership engagement in driving the change has been identified as a driver for success.

#7 Leadership involvement

Change management focuses on ensuring that change leaders are enabled and empowered to lead.

#8 Faster adoption

Managing the change brings faster more visible adoption of the new way of working and user proficiency.

#9 Impact on Productivity

Change management aims to minimise the impact on stakeholders and the disruption to daily operations.

Any project manager who has ever worked on projects that required change interventions, can attest to the value of change management and the positive impact that effective change management had on successful project delivery.

Please subscribe to Virtual Project Consulting (top right) not to miss the next article in the Change Management series.

What Is Change Management And How To Approach It?

What does change management mean to project managers and why do they need it?  Leading change management

By Stephen Warrilow

Change management is often at the heart of project delivery in that many business projects bring about change in organisations which usually affects people or processes or both. For this reason it is of utmost importance that project managers should understand the business of change management. You will feel less like a “tree with a tie” if you understand change management and know how to lead a change initiative.

There are 2 quite different streams of thought that have shaped the practice of change management.

(1) The engineer’s approach to business improvement with the focus on business process.

(2) The psychologist’s approach to understanding human responses to change with the focus on people.

As Michael Hammer, co-author of “Re-engineering the Corporation”, has said about the people issues: “the human side is much harder than the technology side and harder than the process side. It’s the overwhelming issue.”

The single biggest reason for the astonishingly high 70% failure rate of ALL business change initiatives has been the over-emphasis on process rather than people – the failure to take full account of the impact of change on those people who are most impacted by it.

Closely allied to that reason is the lack of process to directly address the human aspects of change.

A program management based approach to change

The traditional project approach to change management – sees it as a set of tasks which if executed successfully get a result. In other words the typical process led approach which has failed so consistently and so spectacularly over the last 20 years.

In contrast, I advocate a program based approach to change management because, based on my experience, I have found that:

  • It is holistic and takes a wider perspective
  • It focuses you on addressing issues and aspects that otherwise get overlooked
  • It addresses the people impacts and issues arising as a direct and indirect result of your change initiative
  • It addresses the fundamental questions that people ask: “What is changing, when and why?” and “How is going to affect me?” and “How are you going to manage this?”

Universal change management principles

The broad principles of how you approach any business initiative or any activity that may require or instigate change are universal:

(1)  Clarity in all areas – especially of the business need for the change, of the specifics of the change, the benefits of the change, and the impacts of the change.

(2)  Communication – constant communication – two-way communication – communication that explains clearly what is change management and what is happening or not happening and why. Communication that listens actively and demonstrates to people that you have thought through the impacts of the change on them, and that you are prepared to work with them to achieve their buy-in and commitment to the change.

(3)  Consistency – in all aspects of the way in which you lead the change – manage the delivery – handle the communication – and ensure the realization of the benefits.

(4)  Capability – constant attention to the management of the tasks, activities, projects and initiatives that are delivering the capabilities into your organization that will deliver the benefits that you are seeking. Ensuring that your people have the full resources and capabilities they need to support them through the change.

Key success factors in change management

For change management to work, it requires careful focus on these key factors that will determine the success of your change initiative:

(1) Determining that you are embarking on a change that sits outside of business as usual and needs to be handled as a specific initiative

(2) The quality of leadership that you provide

(3) Using a program management based approach to your change initiative and how you define change management for your organization

(4) The thoroughness of your pre-program review and planning process

(5) The extent to which you identify and address the cultural change in your organization that is required to deliver the change and the desired business benefit.

So this is how I define change management:

“It’s all about people – and processes that work for people.”

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If you want to work with Stephen Warrilow, take advantage of his 7 FREE “How to Do It” downloads that will take you through all of the key stages of “How to manage change” – and show you how to manage change successfully.  Change Management Expert

About the author:

Stephen Warrilow, based in Bristol, England, works with companies across the UK providing specialist support to directors delivery significant change initiatives. Stephen has 25 years cross sector experience with 100+ companies in mid range corporate, larger SME and corporate environments.

Also have a look at this useful article:
Driving change in times of ambiguity

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