IPMA International Project Management Association
19 January 2018 / 9:00

Making Organizational Change Stick

Through the IPMA Blog we have already advocated for a strong synergy between change and project management, being two sides of the same medal or change as key theme of programme management, professionals being in the driver seat of change and change as important driver for our profession.

Gabrielle O´Donovan, an expert in transformational change projects, has published a book that underlines the importance of synergies between Project and Change Management. The book´s title is “Making Organizational Change Stick” and the sub-title is already showing the direction: “How to create a culture of partnership between Project and Change Management”. She starts with the context, describing that on the one hand side business increasingly needs change, but on the other hand side there is an unacceptable high rate of failed change projects. From there, she profiles Project Management as well as Change Management with their value proposition and the underlying theories, models and tools.

For Gabrielle culture is the key to making change stick. Too often, efforts to integrate Project and Change Management have focused only on those things that exist above the surface, e.g. processes, methods and tools. “But it is what exists beneath the surface – culture – that will determine which processes and tools stick, so the cultural component has to be part of the solution to the problem.”

In the second part of her book, Gabrielle O´Donovan makes a “Project and Change Partnership (PCP)” culture explicit and measurable, articulating those cultural assumptions that will support an effective alliance, also describing how Project and Change Managers can effectively cooperate by dividing work packages and activities throughout the project lifecycle. The stages of the lifecycle are called “discover”, “plan and analyse”, build and engage”, “get ready”, “go live” as well as “embed and close”. For each stage the activities with their owners and leaders, outputs or deliverables and references, theories, models and tools for change management are described. Together with the alignment of cultural assumptions of the various stakeholders in a change project, the partnership between Project and Change Management can take off…

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Reinhard Wagner

Author of this post

Reinhard Wagner has been active for more than 30 years in the field of project- related leadership, in such diverse sectors as Air Defense, Automotive Engineering, and Machinery, as well as various not-for-profit organizations. As a Certified Projects Director (IPMA Level A), he has proven experience in managing projects, programmes and project portfolios in complex and dynamic contexts. He is also an IPMA Certified Programme and Portfolio Management Consultant, and as such supports senior executives in developing and improving their organizational competence in managing projects. For more than 15 years, he has been actively involved in the development of project, programme and portfolio management standards, for example as Convenor of the ISO 21500 “Guidance on Project Management” and the ISO 21503 “Guidance on Programme Management”. Reinhard Wagner is Past President of IPMA and Chairman of the Council, Honorary Chairman of GPM (the German Project Management Association), as well as Managing Director of Tiba Managementberatung GmbH.