Not long ago a Sponsor asked me, "When should we focus on change management? And don't say Day 1!" Sorry, but the answer is Day 1.
All value-focused projects are primarily 'change projects' that are commissioned to move your organization from its current to a specified future state and realize the associated benefits and value.
Any systems involved are only a means to that end, not the primary focus of the project (even if they do consume most of the time and resources).
When you refocus on the changes required to deliver the value, it changes your language, tasks, and approach to projects.
Value delivery management requires change management's role be inverted from supporting a system's implementation to being the driving force supported by the system's implementation. This is a major shift in perspective, but when you invert your thinking in this way, the value delivered increases exponentially. You're continuously focused on the drivers of success — executive leadership, benefits realization, and organizational improvement. You're looking for quick wins, progressive benefits delivery, and cumulative changes in the business and in people's attitudes to change.
Worldwide, change management has consistently been done badly because it has been placed as an adjunct to systems delivery. When it becomes the driving force itself, the required organizational changes are known, interim benefits and value can be delivered, and the level of staff resistance to change reduced substantially (often turning into a momentum for change).
Value delivery management shifts change management to centre-stage and requires all project leaders to be 'change managers'.
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Click here for the 13th article in this the series "Refocusing Projects Onto Business Value, Part 13 Business Leadership"
Click here for the first article in this the series "Refocusing Projects onto Business Value, Part I: The Need".
Jed Simms is CIO magazine's weekly project management columnist. Simms, founder of projects and benefits delivery research firm Capability Management, is also the developer of specialized project management and project governance Web site www.project-sponsor.com
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