Master Organizational Change Management Practices

PMOs, if you don't know who is responsible for org change, it's you.

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Major Business Pain Points

  • Organizational change management (OCM) is often an Achilles’ heel for IT departments and business units, putting projects and programs at risk – especially large, complex, transformational projects.
  • When projects that depend heavily on users and stakeholders adopting new tools, or learning new processes or skills, get executed without an effective OCM plan, the likelihood that they will fail to achieve their intended outcomes increases exponentially.
  • The root of the problem often comes down to a question of accountability: who in the organization is accountable for change management success? In the absence of any other clearly identifiable OCM leader, the PMO – as the organizational entity that is responsible for facilitating successful project outcomes – needs to step up and embrace this accountability.
  • As PMO leader, you need to hone an OCM strategy and toolkit that will help ensure not only that projects are completed but also that benefits are realized.
Master Organizational Change Management Practices-Pain Points


Key Points

  • The root of poor stakeholder adoption on change initiatives is twofold:
  • Project planning tends to fixate on technology and neglects the behavioral and cultural factors that inhibit user adoption;
  • Accountabilities for managing change and helping to realize the intended business outcomes post-project are not properly defined in advance.
  • Persuading people to change requires a “soft,” empathetic approach to keep them motivated and engaged. But don’t mistake “soft” for easy. Managing the people part of change is amongst the toughest work there is, and it requires a comfort and competency with uncertainty, ambiguity, and conflict.
  • Transformation and change are increasingly becoming the new normal. While this normality may help make people more open to change in general, specific changes still need to be planned, communicated, and managed. Agility and continuous improvement are good, but can degenerate into volatility if change isn’t managed properly.
Master Organizational Change Management Practices-Recommendations


  • Plan for human nature. To ensure project success and maximize benefits, plan and facilitate the non-technical aspects of organizational change by addressing the emotional, behavioral, and cultural factors that foster stakeholder resistance and inhibit user adoption.
  • Make change management as ubiquitous as change itself. Foster a project culture that is proactive about OCM. Create a process where OCM considerations are factored in as early as project ideation and where change is actively managed throughout the project lifecycle, including after the project has closed.
  • Equip project leaders with the right tools to foster adoption. Effective OCM requires an actionable toolkit that will help plant the seeds for organizational change. With the right tools and templates, the PMO can function as the hub for change, helping the business units and project teams to consistently achieve project and post-project success.

Methodology and Tools

Executive Brief

Read our concise Executive Brief to find out how implementing an OCM strategy through the PMO can improve project outcomes and increase benefits realization.

  • Master Organizational Change Management Practices – Executive Brief
  • Master Organizational Change Management Practices – Phases 1-5

1. Prepare the PMO for change leadership

Assess the organization’s readiness for change and evaluate the PMO’s OCM capabilities.

  • Drive Organizational Change from the PMO – Phase 1: Prepare the PMO for Change Leadership
  • Organizational Change Management Capabilities Assessment
  • Project Level Assessment Tool

2. Plant the seeds for change during project planning and initiation

Build an organic desire for change throughout the organization by developing a sponsorship action plan through the PMO and taking a proactive approach to change impacts.

  • Drive Organizational Change from the PMO – Phase 2: Plant the Seeds for Change During Project Planning and Initiation
  • Organizational Change Management Impact Analysis Tool

3. Facilitate change adoption throughout the organization

Ensure stakeholders are engaged and ready for change by developing effective communication, transition, and training plans.

  • Drive Organizational Change from the PMO – Phase 3: Facilitate Change Adoption Throughout the Organization
  • Stakeholder Engagement Workbook
  • Transition Plan Template
  • Transition Team Communications Template

4. Establish a post-project benefits attainment process

Determine accountabilities and establish a process for tracking business outcomes after the project team has packed up and moved onto the next project.

  • Drive Organizational Change from the PMO – Phase 4: Establish a Post-Project Benefits Attainment Process
  • Portfolio Benefits Tracking Tool

    5. Solidify the PMO’s role as change leader

    Institute an Organizational Change Management Playbook through the PMO that covers tools, processes, and tactics that will scale all of the organization’s project efforts.

    • Drive Organizational Change from the PMO – Phase 5: Solidify the PMO's Role as Change Leader
    • Organizational Change Management Playbook

    All resources on this page are provided to Cyber Leadership Hub members under license from third parties including Info-Tech Research Group Inc, a global leader in providing IT research and advice.