Tip #5 Actively manage the changes that your project engenders
Almost all projects involve some sort of resulting change. If the project is producing an end product, the change will affect those customers who will use that product. It may also affect those producing the product.
If the project is producing a new methodology or process, both the development and implementation of the process or methodology will have an impact on all of those who will be using it or might be affected by it. Humans are not very keen on change. Most people try to avoid it, regardless of the benefits the change might bring about. To minimize resistance to the change(s), use good change management techniques.
· Fully understanding both the scope of the changes that your project will bring about and the impact of those changes on the stakeholders. Since complex projects may span more than a year or two in duration, ensure that you take into consideration not only the primary stakeholders but the secondary stakeholders as well. You never know when someone you thought to be a secondary stakeholder will be promoted into a position that enables them to affect your project, for better or worse.
· Develop a change management plan. Ensure that you get key stakeholder buy-in to your plan.
· Communicate, communicate, and then communicate still more. Those who will be affected by the changes need to be up-to-date on the implications for how they do their work and how they live their lives. In the face of change, rumors tend to fly around; and without a factual foundation from you and your team, the rumors will outpace your communications – and usually not in a positive way. So communicate frequently, truthfully, and tactfully.
· Involve the stakeholders in the change process as much as is practicable. Their involvement in decisions around defining the change and its implementation will help gain their buy-in to the process and minimize their resistance.
Remember that skillful diplomacy, truthfulness, frequent communication, and stakeholder acceptance will go a long way to helping your company realize your project’s intended business value as the changes your project team brings about are implemented.