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How To Manage A Big Project: An A To Z Guide

Heraclitus, the Greek philosopher, was so true when he said – change is the only constant in life. Not just in life but change is necessary for organizations and projects as well. Change is an obligation, either to correct a particular circumstance or to upgrade a particular situation. To accomplish this change, you need to commission a change management process. And this is our point of discussion in this post.

The change management process begins once a need arises to bring in a change. A need may arise due to urgency or a routine mandatory affair. Once you are aware of the need to change, the whole process begins. For example, when the milestones in a project are achieved, the project manager may decide to bring some changes in order to achieve another set of milestones. Similarly, if there is a need for a technological upgrade – let’s say installing task management software – a change process may be enforced.

We can divide the change management process into three broad phases:

  • Planning Phase – Determining the need for change, defining the strategy and goals, setting up the management team, and equipping them with the right set of tools and resources.
  • Implementing Phase – Commissioning the plan, monitoring actions taken to fulfill milestones, reassessing the objectives, and dealing with the resistance.
  • Sustaining Phase – Collecting and analyzing feedback, determining any voids and vulnerabilities, and taking remedial measures.

A project change management process is all about controlling three variables – timeline, budget, and quality standards. Throughout the change process, the status of these three variables will determine your stance or the next move. If you complete the process while adhering to these three variables, your project will be a success. One can learn all these phases by doing a PMP Certification

Leaders for the Change

The role of the project manager is crucial in the change management process. Without a leader, who knows the intricacies of change management, the process may not be successful. Interestingly, project change management process is a project in itself. Therefore, you need a reliable leader who can bring a successful change.

As a project manager, you are the leader. And to bring a successful change, you can adopt Dr. Kotter’s 8-Step Process for Leading Change. The steps are as follows:

  1. Create or determine a sense of urgency for the change. Not only this but communicate the importance of bringing change.
  2. Form a coalition of professionals ready to take up the responsibility of communicating and coordinating activities.
  3. Craft a vision to achieve and list the initiatives that will pave the path for accomplishing the vision.
  4. Communicate to instill the motivation and passion in the volunteers working towards achieving the common objectives.
  5. Eliminate the roadblocks to facilitate coordination amongst different departments and to ensure seamless implementation of the plan.
  6. Move step-by-step and acknowledge short-term achievements. This is the best way to remain driven towards your goals.
  7. Don’t lose the rhythm. Maintain a consistent flow by putting in your best efforts to bring in the change.
  8. Once the process ends, ensure the change settles into the organizational procedures. Everyone must get accustomed to the change.

How to Ensure Seamless Project Change Management Process?

If you have the roadmap, you can easily maneuver through the project change management process. The following steps represent an ideal flow of change management in an organization:

  1. Preliminary Assessment

Is your organization ready for the change? This is indeed a big question. You have to conduct a readiness assessment related to various parameters, such as:

  • Organization’s scope of operations, culture, and history
  • Change assessment related to its scope and impact
  • Challenges and opportunities
  • Employees, sponsors, and team members readiness

Once you have the data, you are in a better position to decide the future course of action.

  1. Communication Flow

You should know what to communicate, how to communicate when to communicate, and of course, know the audience that’s on the receiving end. So let’s say, you want to create awareness about the change amongst employees. You have to determine the right time, suitable content, and the right place. You cannot tell them about the change once it begins. Otherwise, it will result in a panicky situation.

  1. Awareness and Training

As mentioned above, awareness is the first step in the change management process. The next step deals with team development and training. The project manager, supervisors, and employees of the organization must receive suitable training as per their roles and responsibilities. Additionally, there should be a participatory plan for the sponsors, and you have to ensure that they are aware of their roles and responsibilities.

  1. Level of Involvement

Throughout the change management process, your involvement with the team members and senior executives, at different intervals, will decide the success rate of the process. For example, when the team members need help at the time problem-solving, you should be present there. And as a project manager, you should know how to handle sponsors for successful implementation of the change process.

  1. Handling Resistance

Let’s say the change brings in the all-new project management software. Now the employees may face problems getting accustomed to it. In this case, you should know how to handle these issues, by either deploying trainers or providing with the documentation. Similarly, you have to deal with the resistance occurring at intervals during the change process.

  1. Monitoring and Feedback

Once everything gets back on track after the change, you have to monitor the workflow, whether it’s aligned with the organization’s objectives or not. The best way is to collect feedback from the employees and team members. Once you have the feedback, you can assess the situation, and take a suitable corrective measure.

  1. Final Assessment

Once the change management process wraps up, it’s time to celebrate the success with your team members and employees. It’s important to commemorate the contribution of team members. This boosts their self-confidence and keeps their morale high. And this works like an ignition for your next change management process. Along with this, it’s important to ensure everything works as per the plan. There are no discrepancies whatsoever.

Are you ready for the change?

To grow and succeed, it is important to change and adapt according to the present scenario. However, ensure that you are equipped with the right set of resources, ideas, and team. Keep the aforementioned aspects in consideration while implementing the project change management process.