Creating value

Project manager of the future

From project to business value with change management

The project manager is responsible for realising the deliverables – and the change manager for creating long-lasting value. These two roles must be linked more closely in future project management tasks in order to realise the benefits of the project.

Project manager of the future

Do you know of any projects where the deliverables were celebrated with a bang but the effect did not occur? Then you may have underestimated the change management task in the project. The purpose of this article is to provide project managers, programme managers, project office employees and HR employees with inspiration for how to incorporate change management in projects at an early stage and in a structured manner.

The below text is an extract – you can download the entire article at the top of the page.

Project manager now as change manager

The project manager needs both structural elements and change management elements in order to succeed with the project and realise the benefits of the project. Therefore, the most essential role of the project manager is to ensure actual effect and organisational change of the project. This may seem simple, however, it is in fact an overlooked dimension in many projects.

Traditionally, the project manager’s task is to ensure the deliverables and keep focus on the product. What is currently seen and advocated is for the project manager to keep focus on value to a higher degree and to select the project management team accordingly. Consequently, focus needs to shift from “what” the project is to deliver to “why” the project has been initiated.

The change manager is the one who conceptualises the entire transformation and is responsible for changes in knowledge, attitude and behaviour.

The role as change manager

The change manager is dedicated to making change happen in the organisation. Are people doing something today which is different from yesterday? Are they talking differently about the change? In some organisations, the role as change manager is quickly reduced to “the person who is responsible for communication and education”.

The role includes these things AND much more. The change manager is the one who conceptualises the entire transformation and is responsible for changes in knowledge, attitude and behaviour. The desired effect will determine how the change manager should work. A higher degree of behavioural change means increased interaction with the organisation. The change manager must design and facilitate real changes as obligatory passage points that are conducted at an early stage of the project. For example, feedback from the employees could be an obligatory passage point in a management development project.

Another passage point could be that projects must be specified in a project description in order to get budget approval. Therefore, the change manager must have an eye for the entire project process as well as the small processes, such as facilitating a one-day event in a professional manner. The change manager must maintain focus on both the business effect and the human aspect of the process. This means that the change manager should set specific effect goals for both dimensions and design processes in the project, which lead to realisation of the effects. We often find that each organisation has a preference for either one or the other dimension. Here, the change manager has to build a bridge between e.g. HR and the finance department.

Henrik Horn Andersen
Henrik Horn Andersen
+45 2338 0046

The change manager’s focus during the project

Project manager of the future

Creating real change through involvement

People need to be in focus in order for us to reap the business effects. We want to challenge the concept of “resistance to change” and focus on real and early involvement of those who need to change the most. We believe that you will get what you are looking for. Implied in the concept of resistance is the inherent assumption that we as individuals automatically want to maintain the status quo. Thus, people are perceived as retrospective and reactionary individuals and not as independently thinking, reflecting actors who have and are able to play an actively participating role.

We believe that we are overlooking great potential and resources that can assist in the transformation process when viewed through the resistance approach. By participating in organisational conversations and being part of creating the reality and the vocabulary that construct the concrete change, we can make it possible for the stakeholders to create an understanding of “why” and implement the change in their working life. In short, the change manager’s job is to communicate two central messages: 1) What is the purpose of this change? and 2) How does it affect you? These messages are to supplement the obligatory passage points in the project. A study carried out in a sales organisation among 500 employees confirms these actions. The figure shows that a person’s own will is a highly decisive factor in the implementation of a change. Add to this the attention of the management and changed working procedures (passage points).

The above text is an extract – you can download the entire article at the top of the page.