What is Change Management in Project Management?
Change management refers to the tools and processes used to manage change within a project and its team.
To fully understand the definition of change management, you must break it up into its two components: change and project management:
- Change: This is anything that transforms or impacts projects, tasks, processes, structures, or even job functions
- Project management: This refers to the process of managing a project team and monitoring their activities to meet project goals
The change management process often consists of a project manager and a dedicated change management team. The manager will oversee team members' work to ensure they successfully incorporate change into their practices and achieve the overall project objectives. Team responsibilities can include liaising with stakeholders, developing training programs, and tracking engagement.
Types of change management
There are many different ways to categorize change management in an organization. However, it is generally understood that there are four main types, which can be adapted to suit varying areas of project management.
- Anticipatory: This involves planning changes in advance of an expected situation. Once the project manager affirms the likelihood or even inevitability of such an occurrence, they can set plans in place for when it arises. An example could be a change management plan for when a senior employee hands in their notice.
- Reactive: A reactive approach is used when an unforeseen event occurs. This type of change management is often employed in crisis situations, where there is little time to plan, and the project manager must think on their feet. Reactive change management is not ideal but often necessary.
- Incremental: This refers to introducing gradual changes over a prolonged period, such as the ongoing addition of new features to an existing app. As these alterations are small, they are unlikely to cause any upheaval in the overall project. Incremental changes are closely linked to scope creep in project management.
- Strategic: These changes are much larger and can affect the overall direction of an organization. A strategic shift in project management could involve implementing brand-new technology, requiring a rewrite of the original project plan.
Why is change management important?
Change management is important because the field of project management is fast-paced, and things can change quickly. This means project managers need to be able to adapt accordingly.
It is also vital to have a structured change management process in place so that team members know how to react to change and remain on track to achieve their project goals. The Wall Street Journal notes that “good change management can help employees embrace new technologies and directions, and keep companies relevant.” When everyone is aligned on change management, the likelihood of project success increases.
Why Wrike is the ideal software solution for change management
Wrike is the perfect platform for change management in software project management. It has a variety of features that can help project managers to manage change in their organization.
These features include:
- Gantt charts: Create an interactive timeline and update your milestones easily with Wrike’s drag-and-drop builder
- Kanban boards: Track progress in seconds and make changes to address any project roadblocks or uneven workloads
- Templates: Keep your organization running smoothly in times of change with Wrike’s Business Continuity template
- Calendars: With shared team calendars, you can edit dates in seconds and projects will automatically update for everyone
Explore Wrike today to learn more about effective change management in software project management.
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