Projects introduce change….which needs managing

During a project management training course we looked at managing change. Participants were clear that the company did not manage change very well. So, I threw down the gauntlet and asked them how they think it ought to be managed. The result of this work is shown below.

1. Communicate throughout the change. The group suggested that if you wanted to take people along with you then even communicating that ‘you do not know’ would help

2. Wherever possible involve people in the change. There was realism in the group recognising even if you involved people in the changes ahead, some, would not want to engage with it

3. Recognise the new skills and behaviours that people need to adopt, putting budget aside for training and briefing sessions. Some even suggested making the training mandatory.

4. Develop a clear vision about what the company wants to achieve; identifying the business benefits and communicate both the vision and benefits regularly

5. Clearly identify risks. Have individuals take responsibility to effectively manage each risks regularly reviewing each one

6. Test motivation levels – use surveys to check out levels of motivation among staff and develop appropriate actions

7. Recognise that no matter how hard you try, there will still be some people who will not ‘come on board’ (this comment caused quite a heated debate). This led to the next comment…

8. Face up to the fact that you may well have to have those difficult conversations – with individuals and groups. Obtain training and coaching to ensure this is done effectively by managers who have to have these conversations

9. Ensure you have a plan, a plan that is realistic and stakeholders (where possible) have had their input. Avoid complex computer generated charts as some stakeholders may well find these difficult to understand!

10. Clear leadership is needed in any change – from comments the group suggested that it is not clear whether top management supported the changes. Nor could they identify who was leading the change

The debate was really good and involved the whole group on the project management course. I could not resist the temptation to mention the need for people to attend Change Management Courses – which we happen to run!

Finally, I mentioned that I had attended several presentations given by those involved in change and a common suggestion is to deliver the change much quicker than they had originally thought. The lack of speed caused them extra problems

What do you think needs to be added?

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8 Responses to Projects introduce change….which needs managing

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  3. craig brown says:

    Hi Ron,

    How about; You don’t manage change AT people, you do it with them. Everyone involved is part of the broader team.

  4. Ron says:

    No problem here Craig. Fully support you in this.I do think there are dissenters to this view out there….


  5. Terry says:


    Interesting topic, and one which could spawn endless debate!

    I am sure one could infer the following from the points you make, but I’ll “call them out” more explicitly.

    The project team, being the developer/deliverer of capability, rather than (generally) responsible for the deployment / operationalisation, often has limited success as it is usually not seen to have a long-term stake in the OUTCOMES (as distinct from the outputs, or deliverables). Consequently, it is critical that the SPONSORSHIP if the change is senior enough to break down barriers, and active and visible enough to ensure the change is driven through. This is where I like the OGC’s “Managing Success Programmes” (MSP) approach, with the Business Change Manager (BCM) being a critical, accountable role.

    My second point is, the need to “personalise” the proposed change – this has to be pretty granular, maybe not at the individual level but at (for example) the team level, so each distinct group of impacted individuals understand the nature of the change in their terms and as is relevant to them.

  6. Glen Alleman says:


    This of course depends on the size of the group. We’re rolling out a major change to how programs are managed using DoD Earned Value because of changes to the FAR and Award Fee. The leadership group is small (10 or so) the affected parties are large – 1000’s.

    Another program we work is a “to be” financial process for a very large Canadian food distributors. Change Management Team is around 20, the affected parties on the many 1000’s.

    WITH and AT are two separate participants. Both are needed for anything non-trivial.

  7. Ron

    I fully agree with all the points you mention in your post- specifically those about the involvement/communication and about the needed training about the change process.

    Due to the turbulence environment and increasing customer demands/ competition, it is also important to work with your team mentally (and choose the appropriate people) to handle the changes, because no doubt they will. Tight schedule /budget and changing customer demands (not because he does not do his job well. This is the changing environment that demand it) require project team to be flexible.


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