Why is change management important in project management?
Introducing a new project management system can revolutionize the way your business operates. But big changes in your business systems come hand in hand with big process changes, and you’ll need buy-in from your team to help them stick.
That’s why change management is important to installing a new project management solution, or adopting any new technology. It’s crucial to lead your team through changing systems in order to maximise the benefits of your new investment, reduce disruption and aid a smooth transition.
4 best ways to lead your team through change
Unify your team
The most effective way to get your new system adopted is by getting buy-in from your team. A team that is actively involved in and excited for the new system will be more likely to use it correctly, take the time to learn, and problem solve any issue that arises. Furthermore, having internal advocates of a new system will act to make sure others are using the system properly.
To get your team onboard, take the time to explain the benefits of the change, particularly how it will positively impact them and their role. Point out the key features that helped you decide to move to the new system, and share your vision of the future with your team. Change management and leadership go hand in hand, so it’s important to not just tell your team what’s going to happen, but include them in the journey. Take the time to answer your team’s questions, listen to any reservations and feedback, and inform the other team of the key milestones ahead.
Once your team is onboard, the implementation is much easier, and any roadblocks become a lot easier to overcome.
Organise project management training
Training up your team on the tools and features that you want them to use in the new project management software is essential. It helps to get your team set-up and working again sooner, and keeps everyone on the same page when adopting the system.
Complexity contributes hugely to why change management is difficult when implementing technology. Making sure that your team is able to use the new solution can make them feel more comfortable and capable. This will likely help them to use the tools more effectively, as well as helping avoid frustration and uncertainty when trying to use the software in a live environment.
Further, even with an “out-of-the-box” solution, there will be nuances in how your business will use the tech. A support guide or tutorial can’t teach this to your team, only you can. Making sure all your team is familiar with how you want them to use the tools, any new processes that are required in their role and your expectations can help to quell any confusion.
Make time to answer questions
Everyone responds to change differently and your role as a change leader is to listen to any uncertainties your team might have. If you take the time to hear out and answer any questions you can help your team feel more confident about the change.
You may also access additional insights about the platform that you had not considered before. Your team will be on the tools day in and day out, so will be the most likely to find new opportunities, bugs and processes that might be confusing. Make it clear to your team that your door is always open to hear this feedback. This can help you stay aware of how the software is working.
Follow the Unfreeze, Change, Refreeze Model
Lewin’s change management model highlights how to help change to stick past the implementation stage. Following this model will help you get engagement and interest through the entire process.
In the unfreeze stage, it’s vital to motivate your team to want change. You can appeal to emotions, such as pointing out how much easier tasks will be, or logic, by showing stats of how much money could be saved with increased efficiency.
In the “Change” phase, you introduce the system, stay flexible and keep communication channels open. Remember that all people respond to change differently and you may be surprised by people’s response or resistance. No matter the gut reaction staff have, keep calm and guide your team, reminding them of the ‘why’ behind the change.
Finally, you want to solidify the change in your business. There are a number of ways to encourage a permanent change, including rewarding positive usage or highlighting the benefits that have been experienced.
Make sure you take the time to celebrate the new change in your business as a team: it’s a positive sign of growth. Focus on what it means for your team in the future, rather than the short-term uncomfortableness that may be experienced.
When implementing new technology into your business, change management is required to help your upgrade go smoothly.
If you are looking for further insights into change leadership, take a look at this resource from Harvard Business School.