Like all sciences and disciplines, project management and change management have a particular language. Hence, a better understanding of professionals in this field is achieved, which can be communicated without creating ambiguities. However, for newcomers in these areas, the terminology can be complex and confusing. We will define some of the main terms and concepts related to project management and change management to facilitate their understanding.
In a dynamic world and market, it is assumed that any company or business must be constantly changing to adapt to the specific needs that customers can present at any given time.
This constant change is what makes it necessary to have an active policy of change management within the company.
Traditionally, change management has been understood as the transition from an original state, in which the company is before the change, to a definitive state, in which the company finds itself after the change. The aim of change management is to make the change with agility, adapting to the needs of the market, and at the same time in the most gentle and simple way for the workers, to avoid altering their attitude towards their work and optimizing their adaptation.
At present, there is a new, more dynamic concept of change management, which involves a gradual, transitional change from one working system to another on an ongoing basis. It is assumed that there will never be a perfect match between work methodologies and market needs, so it becomes necessary to be in permanent change.
According to this second, more modern concept, the change management of the company aims to detect the directions of the market and direct the methodologies of work towards them.
Communication is the vehicle that allows people and companies to be contacted. Good communication is necessary to successfully implement any work strategy.
In the case of change management, ensuring efficient communication channels between the different services, departments and personnel involved is an essential condition for the change to take place effectively.
Therefore, in addition to adequately clarifying the change management, it is necessary to decide the communication systems that will allow it to be applied properly.
A company is like a living being formed from the sum of all the people who constitute it. Therefore, it has its own personality, its own internal culture, and is formed by the employees' attitudes, values, behavioural norms and the illusion and hope for the future that they all have.
It is desirable to develop a company culture because it contributes to generate a sense of belonging and involvement and, therefore, to improve productivity and interaction between workers.
ROI (Return On Investment)
It is probably the most useful indicator to measure how successful a change is in a business. In practice, it means how much of a result is being drawn from the effort and capital that is being invested initially. Therefore, it is a direct measure of the performance of the effort and the work of the company. More efficient work management systems and methodologies will allow for a higher return on a smaller investment, that is, increase the ROI.
Therefore, quantifying the ROI before and after implementing a new work methodology allows us to study the real impact that this has had on the company and its productivity.
It means exactly what the word says, to analyze all the people in the company who can be affected by a change initiative, whether they are the ones who have to implement it or who are the beneficiaries or recipients of this change.
In order to analyze the personnel involved, the first step is to ask the correct questions to identify each one, to understand their specific needs, what they expect from the changes that will be introduced and where is the most correct place for each one of them In the company, taking into account the tasks they perform, their training, their place in the hierarchy and their attitude towards change.
The introduction of any change in the company implies the introduction of a risk. One of the functions of project management is risk management.
Prior to the execution of any project, it is necessary to carry out a unified analysis of the risks that can appear and the attitudes that must be taken to avoid them or at least to diminish the impact they have on the project as a whole.
In the case of change management, its very essence implies a risk, since it has an impact on the company and its operation, although in principle it is expected to be positive.
However, risk must be constantly monitored to enhance the positive impact that change can have and avoid or minimize possible negative impacts.
Resistance to change and training
All changes involve some sort of apprehension from the workers, who are accustomed to the working methodologies. To reduce these resistances and facilitate the adoption of changes, the best tool is training. A conscientious, motivated and trained worker, who knows the contributions and advantages of the new work systems, is an employee willing to change and improve progressively.
Project management and change management have their own glossary. Knowing the terminology will help to understand the concepts and, therefore, to apply them properly.