Published here September 2003. 

Abstract | Introduction | Change Management and Project Management 
Sources of Authority | Managers, Champions and Agents
Practical Lessons Learned | Summary

Change Management and Project Management

A project is a change is a project

Every project needs and deserves to be properly managed. Therefore, change management as we have described it is one of the most critical elements of any project. In fact, a change is a project, and a project is a change. Change management, then, is de facto project management and visa-versa.

People and change

One of the surest ways to set a project up for failure is to ignore the need to keep stakeholders involved and informed. People can only be induced to change if they feel that their needs are recognized and considered as part of the change as a minimum. People are most induced to change if they feel that they are allowed to actively influence or direct the outcome of that change. If they cannot actively participate yet feel that they are represented on the project by someone they respect, then they are much more likely to pass on their requirements and concerns to their representative. That is, if the door is left open for them to participate, or they are consulted and asked to vet design or project deliverables and further, if they are kept informed of project status, they will continue to support the project providing a mandate for the project team.

Support and authority

Support comes from above, and authority comes from below. This may sound contradictory but is especially true when we are talking about change. Let me explain. If a project manager is seen, or perceived, to be without the support of senior management, he or she will not be given the authority to institute change from peers and subordinates and the project will fail. Support for a project must ultimately come from all stakeholders and participants but it must especially come from senior managers. Therefore, senior management must be visible and vocal in their support of the project and its initiatives. Giving support always means delegating authority - you cannot have one without the other. Let us take a closer look at what we mean by authority and where it is found.

Introduction  Introduction

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