What is Change Management?

What-is-Change-Management

A recent discussion topic on a ‘Linked-In’ group caught my eye. It explored the topic of change management and the following question was posed:

‘Could you please help me to understand Change Management in relation to Project Management? Are they two different concepts? Is one part of the other? Or they are complementary?’

On the surface that might seem straightforward to answer, but the answer really does depend upon your perspective and perhaps your role.

There are essentially 2 types of change-management:

  1. Managing changes to a project’s scope(also referred to as ‘change control’). This is the type of change management referred to within the PRINCE2 methodology. It is part of the project management ‘story’. If the project scope is not contained or managed the project can quickly get ‘out of control’ and the business case may even be threatened. This happens when (usually a customer) decides they want something different or additional to what had already been agreed upon. This is hugely important when an external supplier is being used to deliver a project and a fixed price has been agreed upon between supplier and customer.
  2. Managing organisation change. This covers a huge scope and provides the context within which projects and programmes take place. Organisational change can impact any aspect of an organisation and invariably entails winning the hearts and minds of those most impacted by the change. It also involves ensuring that whatever projects and / or programmes have delivered is properly implemented into the organisation and become embedded. MSP describes organisational change through its ‘POTI’ model and recognises the need for Business Change Managers. The MSP POTI model is as follows:

P – Processes, business models of operations and functions including changes to operational costs and performance levels
O – Organisational structure, staffing levels, roles, skills requirements and changes to organisational culture, style and personnel
T – Technology, IT systems and tools, equipment, buildings, machinery, accommodation requirements
I – Information and data requirements, changes from existing to future state, including details of any new developments or redevelopments

Within the Linked-In discussion thread a couple more potential types of change management were volunteered:

Managing physical change to equipment. This is typically how utility industries (oil, gas, electricity etc) regard the term change management. Change within these industries often requires a high focus on safety and stringent processes (hazard and operability).

IT Change Management is a specific type of change management recognised by ITIL service management best practice. It is about reviewing, assessing, approving (or rejecting) Requests For Change (RFCs).

I would argue that both of these fit within the ‘T’ (technology) of POTI and either could spawn a project or programme requiring scope (i.e. changes to scope) to be managed.

 

24/01/2011

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