Change is commonly defined as a process of 3 states; current, transition and future. This process is usually thought of organisationally – “we’re introducing the new XYZ system”, “’we’re relocating from here to there” etc. However, all of these organisational changes are only successful if the individual people - those directly impacted by the change - themselves move from their own current state, through their own transition into their own new future state way of working, hopefully a future state that the organisation requires. With organisations executing many changes simultaneously and impacted employees in a state of seemingly constant flux, efforts to manage and optimise the process of change to continuously deliver improvements are abundant.
The are many complementary disciplines to change management ; agile, program management, lean, six sigma to name just a few. However clearly the most complementary is project management. In Prosci’s 2016 Best Practices research of 1120 global projects, 77% of participants integrated change management and project management in some way/ Although in Asia at 63% this integration was at its lowest compared to other global regions.
Project management is a commonly thought of discipline when considering the optimisation of the change process within an organisation. Using the building blocks of time, specification, cost and quality to manage and deliver a project can be successful against specific and pre-determined criteria. With a focus on the technical aspects, project management ensures that the change is well-developed, designed and delivered effectively. When project management as a discipline is employed within an organisation it ensures the structure, tools and processes needed to make this happen are provided.
On the other hand, change management assumes an approach considerate of the people side of change. This focus ensures that the change process is embraced, adopted and utilised by the employees affected. The application of change management within an organisation ensures that the required structures, processes and tools needed to make this happen are in place.
Each of these two disciplines can function independently. However, the integration of these two disciplines is increasingly common. Indeed in Prosci’s 2016 Best Practices study the integration of project management and change management within organisations was cited as the most increasing top contributor to project success, rising from #6 in 2013 to #4 in 2016. So why is this integration important?
The Value of Integration
While both of these features can work independently; the delivery of sustainable results through change can become difficult. A more effective approach sees the integration of change management and project management. This creates a combined approach to implementing change on both the technical and people side. It is equally important to ensure that change is both well designed, developed and delivered as it is embraced, adopted and used proficiently.
The overall value of integration is substantial, but as a change management practitioner, the value of a combined approach can begin with the presentation of a joint value proposition.
- A stronger case for change management
A unified value proposition enables your early involvement in project discussions. By being involved from the start you can ensure that change management – the delivery of the business outcomes of the change - is balanced with an appropriate focus on delivering the technical solution on time and on budget – the delivery of the outputs of the change. Introducing change management at the same time as project management starts also significantly increases the likelihood of the project meeting its business objectives from 42% to 58%, again according to Prosci 2016 Best Practices research.
- Demonstrate structure and process of change management
Project teams tend to shy away from what might be considered as an abstract or intangible process; a reputation that change management has inaccurately gained. A combined value proposition for change management and project management can introduce language that is consistent when discussing the project as it evolves, plus appropriate metrics and Key Performance Indicators for outcomes and outputs can be collaboratively developed and agreed with the project team and executive sponsors. Not only this but change management practitioners can demonstrate to project managers that change management is the application of structured processes and tools inside a framework designed to deliver measurable business success.
- Shared objectives achieves results more efficiently
Shared objectives among project and change management enable tasks to be shared more efficiently; tasks such as work breakdown structure development, project status reporting and impact analyses. Change and projects plans can be aligned with roles and responsibilities combined. Interestingly organisations with high project management maturity in the Prosci 2016 study reported that it led to greater change management success while low project management maturity often delayed change management execution.
- Positively influence the perception of change management
The success of change management relies heavily on employee’s realising its value through acceptance and engagement with initiatives. When project teams become extraneous, the negative connotations of associated with change management grow, hindering employee engagement and ultimately project success. With a combined value proposition, a strong foundation can be built in order to overcome the negative perceptions.
- Highlight the essential nature of change management
Despite project management teams delivering successful projects, we frequently see low or ineffective adoption rates of new solution from the workforce causing a failure to deliver project value, the business outcomes. By presenting a combined and unified value proposition, change management can be highlighted as a complementary – but essential – component to the overall change process.
Within the Prosci 2016 Best Practices study there are 5 key steps taken by organisations to effectively integrate project management and change management as well as 6 items of advice for a change practitioner working to integrate the two disciplines. CMC Partnership Asia discusses these steps and items and how they can be practically applied to real-life projects in its webinars and also as part of its regular public 3-day Prosci certified Practitioner training program, open to all, regularly held in Singapore.
Successful change ultimately relies on a well-developed and delivered solution being fully embraced and adopted proficiently by the impacted workforce. The value seen by the integration of project and change management is evident as a critical component of the overall organisational change processes. However, as a unique discipline change management can also benefit greatly from a unified approach; especially when presented as combined value proposition.
CMC Partnership is hosting a 3-day Prosci Change Management Practitioner Certification Programme.
With available courses in May and June, take your place on the course which will provide you with a methodology and toolkit for managing change within your organisation.