Managers, Champions and Agents
Project Managers as change managers
Project managers, whether they like it or not, are not only agents of change, or champions of change, they are managers of change. In the end, they will be held accountable for the success or failure of the project and all of its components, including managing stakeholder expectations. Setting, managing and meeting stakeholder expectations is what change management is all about. No one would disagree that the project manager has substantial influence or authority in this area. The project manager is responsible for insuring that change is properly managed usually by delegating and coordinating the day-to-day change management activities.
Champions of change and agents of change
Project success relies on the project manager's ability to implement change. In order to do this the Project manager must enlist a team that is responsible for, and capable of making that change happen, typically, this team is comprised of both change champions, and change agents.
Change champions are typically people that are excited about the business opportunities that the project represents. Hence they are active and vocal in their support of the project. These are the people that you should enlist as core team members and later enlist them as end-user trainers and mentors. If these people are too senior to work on the project team directly, they will help enlist change champions to represent them and so will be no less vocal and visible in their support of the project and its goals.
Change agents are those people in the business that have the expertise that the project team requires to successfully deliver the project and will ensure that all of the requirements of the business are met. These are the people, especially the champions of change, that ensure that the project team members keep their feet on the ground and keep realistic. They are the people that will assure that the end-users' expectations are met. They are the people that the end-users will look to for support and assurance that the end product will deliver what they need. In short, they are the conduit to the end-user community, and should form the core delivery team when it comes to delivering the product to the ultimate users.