Bridging the Gap: Successful Change Management in a Project Environment

Project management (PM) and organizational change management (OCM) serve as a bridge between where an organization is today, and where it wants to be in the future. Increasingly, there is recognition of the critical role that OCM plays in a project environment. Human factors affecting the successful implementation of a project include:

  • Speed of adoption: How quickly people take in the changes resulting from the project.
  • Utilization: How many of those affected are doing their jobs correctly as a result of the changes.
  • Proficiency: How many of those affected by the project are performing at the desired levels after the project has wrapped up.

Despite the importance of addressing the human factors that affect the success of a project, Change Managers (CM’s) with limited experience working in project environments can feel overwhelmed, sidelined, or under-valued. Project Managers (PM’s) who are focused on the project deliverables and technical details of implementation may not truly understand or value the contributions that CM’s can make to project success. While successful project implementation depends on an effective working relationship between CM’s and PM’s, this isn’t always the case. So the question is: How do we bridge the gap between these two separate, but inter-connected and overlapping areas of practice?

Drawing on our experience and findings in the research literature, we offer some practical suggestions to help increase the likelihood of successful implementation. Using a case study to illustrate and explore the issues, we hope to provide some guidance to help both PM and CM professionals identify and institute effective organizational change management practices in a project environment.

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