One of the big challenges to project management is incorporating change management into the product. This is particularly true with infrastructure project management because infrastructure tends to be static, highly regulated, planned well in advance and often subject to political fortune. Here are some tips on how to incorporate change management into your infrastructure projects.
The need for open communication applies to all projects, but particularly projects where change is necessary. If communication is not open, transparent and frequent, miscommunications happen, and status quo assumptions will formulate and become the driving force behind all project activities.
For example, not informing people of change almost automatically pushes them into a defensive posture. Not training people will prompt them to embrace what they do know so they can complete their needed work. Both are alleviated with frequent and organized communications.
Set Clear Goals
Setting clear goals allows for the logic behind change to be presented and accepted. Without goals being set and explained, those intent on clinging to the status quo will view the goals as justification for the project or work.
Presenting goals and then taking the time to explain why they are needed and how they will be achieved helps set the stage for the tolerance of change. Once the goals are being achieved, acceptance and then support for those goals will be achieved.
Spend Significant Time in Training
Training is key to helping people overcome their fears regarding change. Most of the time, people resist change because it alters what they know and throws them into what they are not familiar with. By developing a comprehensive and evolving training process, employees can learn a new system or process before it is all they are expected to use. That brings about familiarity and it reduces mistakes.
Some processes need change and implementing them is a breeze because everyone is supportive of the change. Some, however, only allow for goal attainment if they are melded into the new process infrastructure, requiring flexibility on the part of those implementing the change agent.
A good example is electronic toll collection. Initially, the goal was to eliminate toll collectors altogether. That proved to be impractical. Today, what is left is a mix of old toll collection processes and new processes, leading to a more efficient process in general. The only way that worked is with flexibility on both sides to adapt old and merge it with new.
Change management must be incorporated into project management, including infrastructure project management, or the objectives of most projects will not be achieved. The key is to foster communication, set clear objectives, spend time with employees teaching them the new processes and being flexible.