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How To Effectively Manage Change With Project Management

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This Post Originally Appeared on www.project-management.com

 

 

In order to stay competitive and relevant, it has become crucial for an organization to evolve constantly in alignment with industry trends. This in turn has placed an onus on the IT team of an organization to be more responsive and flexible while being cost efficient. It is imperative that an IT team is aligned to the business objectives of the organization to be successful.

Over the years, following an IT service management methodology such as ITIL, has been the tried and tested route that a growing IT team adopts in order to implement processes and practices to enable them meet the burgeoning requirements of business. However, most times, adopting a methodology is not enough to see through the successful execution of a task or project.

Integrating Project Management with ITSM

One of the dangers of adopting a methodology is that the processes would invariably consume an IT team; the key to success lies in selecting what works and what doesn’t work. Another option is integrating best practices that work in-tandem with ITSM. Integrating project management with ITSM goes a long way in ensuring an IT team’s success; initiation, planning, execution and closing. These four processes of project management fit in well with ITSM, enabling a streamlined integration to be possible.

Project management will enable large scale, time-bound and complex IT projects to be executed seamlessly. It paves way for collaboration & communication between multiple teams, the ability to track the workflow to mitigate risk, transparency of start & end dates, quick identification of bottlenecks.

This is especially true when dealing with change management, that can have varying levels of complexity, risk and impact. Additionally, coordination and collaboration between different teams and departments in an organization is crucial to implement change. And project management helps in breaking silos and ensuring a holistic approach to handle change.

Intricacies involved in managing change

One of the most relevant factors to assess an IT team’s maturity, efficiency, and reliability is to understand how a change is being handled in an organization. Change management is one of the most challenging of ITIL processes to execute because of varying complexity of change, exhaustive processes and dependence on approval from different people at varying levels. Moreover, risk mitigation becomes a major consideration depending on the complexity of change.

Changes can be classified as minor, standard, major or an emergency change depending on the impact and risk involved. The following steps are followed by the IT team, depending on the complexity and impact of change:

  • Request for change
  • Evaluation
  • Change approvals
  • Change implementation and review

Managing change with project management

Changes that fall under the ‘major’ category can be easily managed with project management. Usually minor and standard changes would not entail collaboration and meticulous planning – the two significant benefits that exemplifies project management. Though it might sound counter-intuitive, ‘emergency’ change would also benefit from project management.

  • Managing ‘major’ change with project management

High impact or high risk change such as migration from one data-center to another can be categorized as a major change. Changes such as these will be driven from a business requirement and will require both the business approval and change approval. Project management can be used to manage a ‘major’ change efficiently.

Though project management can be triggered from the start of a change management process which is the request for change step, it is usually initiated after a major change has been requested, evaluated and approved. This is because, ITSM software provides a change management module that can manage this effectively. The integration of project management with ITSM can be fully realized during implementation and review of change.

There is a significant overlap in change management and project management. Project management’s four steps- initiation, planning, execution can be aligned to manage change implementation. Ability to collaborate, mitigate risk by identifying bottlenecks and tracking the workflow will ensure that the change is rolled out on time.

  • Managing ‘emergency’ change with project management

Interruptions such as security breach, server outage can be classified as an emergency change and it is imperative that a fix is rolled out as soon as possible. During such scenarios, the IT team ceases to work on any other IT projects and focuses only on fixing the issue. Change is not managed as per the usual process during these instances and request for change (RFC) is raised, post implementation.

Though it might sound counter-intuitive, managing an emergency change through project management would enable easier collaboration between team members. Since the entire IT team would be involved in rolling out the emergency change, assigning the sub-tasks to individuals and tracking progress of completion will lessen the chaotic atmosphere, considerably, and improve productivity.

The last word

Success of an IT team lies not just in following the process of ITIL but ensuing that the business requirements of the organization are met by adopting best practises that could be integrated with ITSM software. Going forward, flexibility and adaptability would play a crucial role in defining the success of the IT team as they continue to be the backbone for facilitating growth in an organization.

Managing major and emergency changes with project management would go a long way in ensuring efficiency. Since project management goes hand in hand, with ITIL processes such change, release, incident management, it would be prudent for an IT team in an organization to integrate ITIL processes with project management.

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