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Project Managers as Change Agents

Change is what each project essentially is. An unrealized idea becomes a finished product. An unmet need is serviced by a new technology or interaction. The project manager is the catalyst for that change. In a post for Voices on Project Management, Lynda Bourne describes the various ways in which the PM is required to manage change.

Where does the PM Fit In?

The first step for the PM in any change process is to determine the responsibility of the project sponsor and the change manager. After that, traditional change management takes place, which requires preparing all stakeholders for inception of the new product and for cultivating a keen interest in moving away from the old product. The second step is the job of the change manager, not the PM, because it requires a different skill set, and no small degree of time:

The responsibility of the project manager through the life of the project is to be aware of the needs of the change manager and adapt the work of the project to maximize the opportunity to realize benefits.

The Change Control Process

The project change control process is an important facet for the PM to manage. With the support of their project team, the PM must:

  • Identify change: whether that change has been requested, is required, or has previously occurred.
  • Understand the change and its effect on the project’s objectives.
  • Prepare recommendations pertaining to the change.
  • Locate a person who can approve the change (i.e. – project manager, sponsor, change control board, etc.).
  • Corroborate with and support the change authority.
  • Manage the results of change by approving or blocking the appropriate changes.

Change Control vs. Change Management

What is the difference between change management and change control you ask? Change control is the process through which changes are managed. Multiple changes may be managed along a single change control process. The key point to remember is that the idea going into one end of the process must meet the stakeholders’ needs when it comes out at the other end.

Read the full post at: http://www.projectmanagement.com/blog/Voices-on-Project-Management/11493/

About Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master's degree in communications at Penn State University.

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