Project management is generally at the forefront of all kinds of projects. This is also the case for ERP implementations, restructuring of IT systems, and other IT projects. Good project planning can stop a project from getting out of control – but it doesn’t automatically result in project success. What’s more, even when a project is completed to a satisfactory standard, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the project aims have been incorporated into the organization for the long term and will be lived out in practice in the future.
This is precisely where change management comes into play. The stated aim of this is to provide support for the personal aspects of the change and to not only complete projects on a formal basis, but to establish the project result as the new status quo. This requires the focus to be on the management of the social process that results from the change. The success of a project can only be guaranteed when the project aims are clearly communicated, the relevant parties are personally involved, and any resistance is alleviated.
As soon as it comes to tackling structural or cultural changes, classic IT project management reaches its limits. Change management is a determining factor in this scenario because success not only depends on the functionality of the system, but also on the initiative and skills of the users. Even the best IT system in the world isn’t worth anything unless it is accepted by its users. When it comes to restructuring systems, even large companies can fail due to resistance from employees – even though or perhaps because the management team was convinced that changes should be exclusively implemented based on a "top-down" approach.
IT projects are not only a matter of technology – they are also or even primarily about the people involved. Digital tools change not only individual processes, but also the way we work. This transformation is so radical that it is no longer possible to achieve goals with classic project management alone. Effective change management, which involves providing support for all kinds of changes and incorporating the aims of a project into the organization for the long term, is becoming increasingly important.
If you would like to find out more about the potential of change management, we are hosting a webinar on this topic in german language: Faktor Mensch: Erfolgreiche Digitalisierung durch Change Management.