Interview on Change Management
By: Frank Turley
With: Ransford Mensah
Date: October 2019
Question 1: What is Change Management (CM)
Change Management is the process of helping people to successfully adopt a change. It is the coordination of a transition period to move from one situation to the other in achieving a required business outcome. In change management, we ask the question is the solution being embraced, adopted and practised?
Question 2: What is the relationship between CM and Project Management?
Change Management and Project Management focus on different aspects of project success. While Change Management is more concerned in transitioning individuals in an organisation from one state to the next, project management’s concentration is on the processes and activities required to complete a project.
Although the two vary, they are both necessary in order to successfully execute a project.
I will say they are interlinked and the processes in Change Management can be linked to that of project management. For example, The Prosci 3-Phase Process which is:
- Phase 1 – Preparing for Change
- Phase 2 – Managing Change
- Phase 3 – Reinforcing Change
Can be mapped to the five main project stages:
- Monitoring and controlling
A project manager needs to understand both disciplines and make a conscious effort to align them to ensure a successful project.
Question 3: Who is normally the Change Management leader in a company?
Change management is normally an all-inclusive system that includes executives, senior leaders, managers and supervisors. I will say the change management leader is the one person who can communicate effectively, collaborate with team members and shows a strong sense of commitment. Any individual with these qualities is a good candidate for change management leader.
Question 4: What are some common mistakes
All projects involve a degree of change. The mistake project managers make is that they put much concentration on project activities and processes forgetting it is people that are going to perform these tasks, so, therefore, it is logical to manage them in order for them to give out their best. It is in this situation that change management is key.
Change management complements the project management process by supporting the human side of the project. See it as the “yeast” in the ”bread”.
Question 5: What are some best practices (principles) when it comes to CM
Some of the known principles in CM are Kurt Lewin’s three-step “Unfreeze-Change-Refreeze” model, Prosci’s ADKAR® Model and Kotter’s 8-Step Model of Change. Another is the Prosci 3-Phase Process.
In development work, there is a relatively new process called PDIA (Problem Driven Iterative Adaptation), which is a popular approach for managing changes in developing countries.
Question 6: What a Project Manager should know about CM
Every project has some uncertainty, which not well managed can lead to anxiety, confusion, and resistance from the stakeholders who may not have a full understanding of the need for the change or how to adopt and adapt to the newly introduced process.
Therefore, project and change management needs to work hand in hand in order to ensure a project’s long-term success.
About Ransford Mensah
Dr. Ransford Mensah is the Change Management Advisor on a USAID e-Government project in Liberia, West Africa. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Engineering from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Ghana. He received his Master of Science in Engineering Business Management from Coventry University in the UK in 2012 and PhD in Information Systems from the University of Southern Queensland, Australia in 2019. His research interest includes Information Technology Service Management (ITSM), Project Management and Change Management.
Ransford is a seasoned IT professional with comprehensive business / technical skills and expertise in process improvement, systems integration, requirements analysis, workflow design, project management, leadership, process modelling, testing/ quality.