Do you want to be a better project manager? Then become a better change manager. It’s a bold statement but true.
All projects involve change, you are making or delivering something new that is different from the current situation, and given normal circumstances people naturally resist change.
So what is involved in begin a great change manager?
First, realise that generally people don’t like change and will resist it if not managed properly. Be aware that change is a scary for thing for most people. Let people work their way through the process of accepting change. You will need to use your well-developed leadership skills here to understand, appreciate and guide people through the uncertainty of change.
Create a compelling reason to change. Let people know what the reason for the project and the change is. If people don’t see the need for the project they will not support it. Communicate the need for change effectively and regularly. Change management is one of those situations where in the absence of good communication, rumour, gossip and innuendo will take hold.
Create capability for change. Get people on board who support your project and the change it brings and who also have the necessary skills to carry out the project.
Carry out the change as planned. First plan, then do. Any project or change must first be properly planned and then executed according to the plan.
Embed the change. Simply doing what you had planned to do will not guarantee that the change will be permanent. Create a strategy to make sure the change is embedded and will go on past the end of the project. Create champions and carry out post implementation reviews.
So, amongst all those other technical and soft skills a project manager must possess, learning about and becoming proficient at change management will increase your chances of project success.
Successful project management involve successful change management and successful change management requires great project management skills as well.