As a PMI trained project manager specializing in organizational change management, I like consultant Roger Kastner’s take on the inter-relationship between project management and change management. I agree with Kastner that project management best practices should include change management factors and measures in all project stages (from planning through to final assessment).Kastner suggests adding “Adoption” as the fourth category for measuring project success – a simple yet powerful way to underscore the essential part successful change management plays in real-world project delivery. In this approach Adoption is added to the other measurement criteria of Scope, Schedule and Budget.Kastner defines change management as “a systematic approach for cultivating leadership support and end user acceptance for the attainment of a successful change”. I support this definition and believe that the simple addition of a criteria in the final project metrics would necessitate that change management be properly addressed from project initiation to close. Additionally, this approach could better distinguish the role and activities carried out by the change manager versus the project manager, or what activities to be carried out by the project manager are related to change management. This distinction could also serve to make the case for a change manager role in organizations new to the value and benefits of formalized change management.When I’ve led projects as an internal resource, adoption, along with the subjective element of client satisfaction has always been an informal and undocumented measure used to evaluate my own job performance. As an external consultant, formal measures are always beneficial to reinforce the value of services rendered.  Thus, I support reducing the subjectivity from this inevitable measure of project outcomes. I further like the way that a focus on adoption puts an optimistic and proactive spin what could other wise be put forward as managing and measuring resistance. I believe that using a positive label makes a stronger and more positive case for change management in general, which could serve to increase the buy-in across an organization. Here’s the link to Kastner’s post “Why Projects Succeed” on his own blog, Slalom Consulting. 

MY TAKEAWAYS
  • Include adoption as a measure for assessing project success and to provide a formal argument for for including change management practices and activities throughout the entire life cycle of the project.
  • A subsequent step would be to identify incremental measurements for adoption and how to incorporate the tactics required for adoption into the project/change management process.
  • Tangible measurements for adoption might include: number of users willingly using new processes or tools (utilization); efficiency with new processes or tools (performance measures); instances of required user support or coaching (capability measures and help desk tickets); subjective attitudes and opinions quantified as an assessment of the process or systems (preference measures).