Project Change Challenges

Who should lead the change challenge: organization management or project management?

The project team probably has a better idea of the technical aspects of the changes required. But, the organization’s management initiates the project and has overall responsibility for achieving the intended benefits after the project is complete.

In my opinion, change management is an organizational responsibility. The role of project management is to focus on creating the deliverable effectively and supporting the organizational change effort.

In short, the project management team works for the organizational change management team. However, I have seen many situations where managing the change is treated as a project responsibility.

For those project teams undertaking change management, the change challenge is getting the necessary buy-in from organizational stakeholders who have to make effective use of the project’s deliverables to get the expected value from the project.

There is no point in the project team being happy with its work if no one uses it. The way the organization works has to change if the deliverable is going to be used effectively to create value for the organization and generate a ROI on the investment in the project.

Effective communication with the affected stakeholders is a must when addressing the change challenge. These communications follow a fairly standard pattern:

  • Explain the reason for the change needs so they are understood.
  • Define, communicate and support the actual changes to work practices and behaviors though training or other skills development activities.
  • Provide ongoing support to embed the new practices into the operating culture of the organization.

Do you think change management is an organizational or project responsibility? Which option do you think is best for effectively engaging with the affected stakeholders? Which option best facilitates the overall change in behaviors needed to generate a successful project outcome?

The views expressed within the PMI Voices on Project Management blog are contributed from external sources and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of PMI.

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