changemanagement

APMG Change Management approach as a Project Manager

Changes are inevitable and not always controllable. What can be controlled is how you manage, react to and work through the change process. ― Kelly A. Morgan

C

hange is hard. And to thrive in an uncertain business world, organizations must create a culture that promotes responsiveness and improves outcomes.
With these words starts Mark Langley, CEO and President of the Project Management Institute the September 2015 edition of Pulse of the Profession: Capturing the Value of Project Management Through Organizational Agility.
 
You might be thinking, why to start taking about the PMI when referring to an APMG Change Management approach? You will find out.
 
I do not like to define myself as a project manager, but as a change agent. As a project manager, I was always worried about the scope, the schedule, budget and a lot of other constrains; but at the end, the way I manage the stakeholder’s expectations and the organizational change during the whole project lifecycle will define the success of the initiative. A change agent seeks or support the organizational change, the strategy, the structure, the systems and processes, the people, their capabilities, the management style, and the shared values all within the context of the organizational culture. Without the change agent, any project initiative fails.
 
That is why project management and change management cannot be divorced, and it is not a secret that change management is a trend topic these days.
However, what change management framework or approach can you use, and why I choose APMG approach?




Change management methodologies like Posci or Change Acceleration Process Model, are too prescriptive, structured, process oriented and detailed, explaining the steps that needs to be taken to achieve the change objectives; and although is not bad, each project, team, organization and individual is different and I might not work in all the cases. Change cannot be manage the same way all the time.
 
Project Managers are used to plan, to execute, to measure, to evaluate, to communicate. As a first approach to change management anyone will definitely need a guidance, but after a few exercises will feel the need to use all the tools and techniques available. That is what APMG approach offers.
 
APMG’s Change Management certification is fully align with the change management body of knowledge from the Change Management Institute. It gives us tools, techniques and theories that all of the change management methodologies were based. Change and the individual, change and the organization, communication and stakeholder engagement and change practice, are the focus.
 
As a change management practitioner, you do not have to follow a predesigned plan by another one; you have to build a plan according to the kind of organization, team or individuals you are dealing in the project.
 
At first we need to know in what kind of organization are we expecting to make the change, we could use for example Morgan’s metaphors to identify the organizational type and base on that we can explore the range of assumptions that exists about how the change works. I have managed different projects at the same company with different teams (including different sponsors) and it looks like I was working in a different company.
Each project organization behave completely different and had to be managed with a different strategy, a different plan.
 
Each individual has a different change behavior that needs to be identified to address his or her fears and expectations and gain the buy-in for the change initiative, knowing the internal process or cycle that might be affecting them.
The team will also experiment the change and had to me manage, it happens when they are first formed, when significant events occur such as a new member arrives, a key member leaves, a change of scope, increased pressure from outside, or a change in organizational climate.
 
There are several models to address team changes, just to name the most commons there is Tuckman (you may have heard of it as the ‘forming, storming, norming, performing’ model of team development) and Bion’s assumptions.
 
As I started the article, change is hard and create a culture like Mark Langley says is harder, that is why we need to know how to use the tools and techniques. The APMG change management is a descriptive approach, a set of tools that can be adapted to any complexity or context in any organization.
 

Leandro Pacheco

Leandro Pacheco is Managing Director of Ludoconsult, a Venezuelan company based on Panama with operations in Central and South America, offering consultancy, non-consultancy and training **services** in project, risk and change management with innovative and ludic tools and techniques (Lego Serious Play, WakeUpBrain and Innovation Games among others).
He has 12 years of experience in the petrochemical, oil and gas, banking, eBusiness and aeronautical industry as a project manager, consultant and change agent. Passionate about design, implementation and operation of PMO’s, process and business improvement. When he is not seriously playing, he writes in a Spanish speaking blog, proyectospmp.com.
Leandro has a Master in Finance, a Master in Marketing and a B.S. in Electrical Engineering; he is certified as Project Manager Professional (PMP®), Risk Management Professional (RMP®), Portfolio, Programme and Project Offices (P3O®) and Change Management (by the APMG).
Happily married and proud father of a boy.

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