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Change Leadership in Business Projects  (The P.O.D.S. Model)

In a project environment there should already be a plan for the physical outputs, perhaps an outcome or two, and some benefits that were in the business case to justify the expenditure and resource allocation.  All too often the people engagement side and the end-user engagement is not considered until well into the project, if at all.  In poorly managed projects the project manager considers his or her job finished when the physical components are complete.   We are not talking about variation management here - a topic which project management texts often call change management.  We are interested in how people engage with a new process and implement it to deliver the desired benefits.  

Sometimes, if it's a piece of software, an application, the implementation of a new process, a building, or even just moving a desk; the change management piece can be given scant consideration.  We've all heard the phrase: "they just through it over the fence and hoped it would work."  Project Managers have a responsibly to manage a project to achieve the benefits of the project, and should ensure that the people-change element is planned and effectively managed, as with any other component.  

End-to-end project management models have strong elements of engagement.  Both PRINCE2 and PMBoK based systems have extensive processes for stakeholder engagement and communication.  Agile (incremental) systems have an opportunity for similar, if not greater, engagement.  An Idealised agile project allows for repeated consultation and engagement at each iteration.
Agile Project Delivery

PODS Compass

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If we consider an idealised (waterfall) project process for an IT project:
Idealised Project Process
we see that there is an obvious need for user engagement at the deployment phase and handover phase.  Users might even get some level of engagement and change management during User Acceptance Testing.     However, there is  a role for change management (which is used to ensure success) all along the process.  Change management is not a "quality" process for business improvement  - it is a method for minimising the risks of project failure when implementing technological, process or organisational change.  

Kotter's 8-steps to leading change, D.E Hussey's EASIER model, or Prosci's 3 phases of change management are examples of change management models that can be applied to project work.   McKinsey's 7S Framework has mutually reinforcing elements that can also be used in projects to manage the change process.  As an experienced project manager, the P.O.D.S. model of four phases fits well with project practice.
  • Plan
  • Organise
  • Deliver
  • Sustain
Project teams may include specialist members to facilitate change, with titles like: Change Manager, Implementation Manager, Communication Lead, Change Champion, or Training Developer.   Regardless of the team that is brought on-board, the Project Manager must coordinate the people and technical elements to deliver successful outcomes. Within each phase of P.O.D.S., activities prompt specific actions that help you guide the engagement process and move people to new behaviours that deliver the required project outcomes.

PODS Phases Table 

The key to change, as many change management models depict, is to provide a clear vision, communicate well, encourage commitment and participation from those affected by change, and lead the required behaviours.   Change management models are a good tool to use as a framework for successful change, and also as in the case of the EASIER and ADKAR Models, acts as a good checklist in order to give the best possibility of success in a change project.  P.O.D.S. has a range of support checklists and tools that will help you achieve the desired business outcome.  

Remember, change management models are only guides; so understand as many as you can, and then make your own judgement as to which will be most useful for you.

   ● A summary of Change Leadership Model P.O.D.S. (200k download)
   ● Change Leadership Workshop Booklet (900k download) 

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