The relevance of management organizational change

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Developed by Elsa Salvador Rodriguez



With today's highly competitive and continuously evolving environment forcing business to develop and introduce more new products, in the fastest way possible to survive and succeed, more efficiency addressing of the challenges that emerge from these rapidly changing environment seems inevitable. Moreover enterprises needs to identify where they want to be in the future and hot to manage the change required to getting there.

However, some previous research has found supporting evidence of a high failure rate on managing changes by the business [1]. This seems be due to theory on organizational change management as well as its application in practice are still lacking a valid framework of how to successfully be implemented [2]. Moreover literature on how change management is applied to, integrated with project portfolio and impact project portfolio success has been scarce.

A general definition of organizational change management covers the process of continually renewing of the enterprises both at an operational and strategic level to adapt to the constantly changing requirements of today's and future stakeholders. Change is efficiency accomplished when the leaders and employees fully support and accept the changes associated with this implementations. Furthermore, the leaders will share their main unique vision of the organizational change with all levels employees [3]. Those ones will be also participate actively in the integration of those changes as they cannot be only accepted in name of legacy [4].

The main objective of this wiki article is to analyzed and search for supporting evidence of the positive impact of applied organizational change management into Project management, Program management and Portfolio management.

Project management consist on coordinate and control all the activities belonging to a set of processes aimed at fulfilling all the requirements of this specific project. At project management, organizational change are associated with improvement the performance of the project.

Program management are a collection of interdependent projects that are collectively lead since they share common objectives or resources or benefits. At program management, the change of the user’s needs by the time they receive the product is addressed with modifications of the product scope.

Portfolio management is a dynamic process through which existing business projects are constantly updated, new business projects are assessed and resources are assigned taking into account the priority of the active project [5]. At portfolio management, every change initiative is fully supported by the organization and the engagement of the leadership in this transformation process which is based on a strong business case.


Today's in a highly evolving international and multi-cultural environment, business is forced to develop and introduce new products which will fulfill consumers expectations and market demand. The ability to address challenges efficiently that emerge from these rapidly changing environment are crucial to keep being competitive. Moreover, enterprises need to identify what type of business to be in the future, which strategy to choose and how to manage the changes appearing during the process.

If we consider that an enterprise is a dynamic system of integrations among workers, leaders, technologies and work processes, internal decisions taken by each stakeholder influence all its players at different levels. For instance organizational changes enable the company to improve a current state performance in a way that the future state process impacts not only stakeholders but also the project performance [1][6].

As one of the challenge of the enterprise is that it needs to find a way to be flexible in making and implementing organizational changes and do not lose its competitive edge and market share. Moreover, organizational changes modified the way we actually work. For example, if we put aside our daily routines and use our time and energy to learn new tasks, it may affect all players’ adaptation process. This means that agents will experience an interference of their comfort zone in a form of resistances to changes. For an uncertain time they will deal with the insecurity of not knowing whether they have the suitable skills and resources for challenging task. However, this adaptation to new realities might bring positive changes when all the players perceive new changes as advantages not only in individual level but also in business level. In this way the resistance might be minimized [7].

The challenge enterprises face in the current global environment are related to coordination of their capacities and resources, as well as difficulties to accomplish their business goals, benefits and strategy. It happens that due to globalization, many companies manage several projects in different areas and face unexpected changes in customer’s behaviour based on their cultural background. Thus companies have to find new ways of organizational management which allows them to relocate efficiently their resources and revaluate their projects in a way their benefits match with their business strategy

Therefore program and portfolio management as part of organizational management are effective means of addressing those challenges through the project management implementation in the enterprises as it will be explained below.


The philosophers has been discussing over centuries "how is that things change". Aristotle, in "Physics: book I to IV" [8]> defined that “all changes involve something coming to be from out of its opposite” as time goes by. The change is the matter, the time is the unit for measuring the change and “what remains over time and through change” is the substrate. For example the baby that become an adult when the time pass.

On the contrary, some philosophers denied the existence of change. Parmenides, in "On Nature" [9] maintained that there has always existed one only reality and change is just an illusion. This means that “whatever one thinks about must in some sense exit” and the concept of “change in things implies that there was a time when the thing-as changed did not exist”.

In general, the term change describes a difference on the characteristics of the things or something done differently than usual. For instance, the different tidal levels, the different relationships erase after marriage, the new ways of baking bread by using flour without gluten [2][10].

In this article, it will focus mainly on organizational change. This refers to all kind of change that happens in any enterprise in order to meet the current and future expectations of the different stakeholders. This implies to integrate new ways of process, strategy, communications, etc., at all levels of the company and to face the emerging resistance due to the loss of the equilibrium state.

There are different core theories to classify changes. If we consider the business surface that this change will impact, there will be two types of changes. A first-order change happens when there is an isolate fluctuation that doesn't affect the whole system. As for example a variation in the production process which reduces the time operation leaving the system relatively unchanged. The second-order happens when a change effect the basics of the whole business system. As for example the readjustment of the business strategic this might mean also to rearrange the current organization [11].

What concerns the business level of organization, there are four different types of change. At the lower level of the organization, there are operational changes which affect the operational employee. For example a new packaging machine means that the operational employees will learn how to use it. At the strategic business direction there is the strategic changes which affect the organizational structure of the company and the stakeholders. For instance in China, Google and music companies experiment with free music download, which creates different strategies respect to the music market. At the higher organizational level as the enterprise’s executive board, there is the political changes and at all the levels, the cultural changes which affect the enterprises organizational vision. For example Google due to the European “right to be forgotten” law is forced to modify its vision in Europe.

Change from Project, Program and Portfolio Management Perspective

Project Management

Project management is about coordination and control of set of processes aimed at fulfilling all the requirements such as time limit, cost budget, risk minimization and resources availability to create a specific product, service or result. The goal is to manage the process in the most efficient way keeping the quality standards during the whole period. In the project management, changes come from implement processes or difference in the products or results obtained. For instance, a change in the interests of consumers it might suppose to rethink the objectives of the project or the terminated phased of the project.

Program Management

Program management is the process of implementing an enterprise strategy between subprograms and several projects which shares common objectives, resources and benefits with an intention of improving an organization’s performance. One of the program’s management task is to link operational personal and high management as well as link the strategy and the project to obtain significant benefits from it as a business group. For instance, managing successful programs leads to a value creation for the company. This will be accomplish by deliver the contracted products and fulfilling the budget goals on time.

The challenge face in program management are related to integrate the strategic across the different organizational levels of the business as well as accept the uncertainty that follows those processes by keeping certain degree of flexibility in their implementation processes. This will be achieve by combining the knowledge learn from dealing with ambiguity and the current performance of the different project in the management program [12].

While the failure of program management could appear when expected benefits of the project are overestimated or stakeholders presumption fades over time. The other obstacle for program management could be the discrepancy between enterprise’s strategy and potential project’s profit. Moreover, involvement of organization culture plays a crucial role in aiming for company’s success.

Portfolio Management

The art of making decisions about matching investments to projects objectives, managing the risk balance against companies’ performance, and assets allocations are about portfolio management. In other words it is about finding trade-offs in a company between its opportunities and threats, growth and safety in order to maximize return in term of risk. Portfolio management is goal–driven and target oriented. Therefore, the main goal of portfolio management is to coordinate the projects and programs processes along with the business resources and its strategic objectives. It is one of the criteria used by the enterprise responsible authorities to select, prioritize or reject the investment to certain project [13].

The challenge face in portfolio management are relate to create and maintain a corporate identity at the same time that each project or program is implemented. This will help the enterprise to fits better to their changing environment by relocate the resources on those projects and programs which are align with the current business strategy and cancel those ones which move enterprises away from its future vision expectations.

Figure 1. Portfolio Management Process Interactions
Relation among Project, Programs and Projects. [14]
Individual projects. Collection of projects and subprograms Collection of projects, programs and subportfolios.
Aline with enterprise's organizational strategies. Aline with enterprise's organizational strategies. Aline with enterprise's organizational strategies.
Select the right program/project.

Prioritize the work. Provide the needs resources.

Adjust its project and program components.

Control interdependencies. Common specified benefits.

Implements plans to achieve a specific scope led by the objectives of the program or portfolio.

In business operations changes happen as a result of developing a new product, while improving operation process untill the end of the product life cycle. This means that at each closeout phase a change could be face. In the business directions changes happen when its aligned all the business activities with the strategic direction of the organization.

Analysis of the Change's Key points. [15]
CLOSE OUT PHASE. Impact: The objectives of the project or Stakeholder demands were not achieved. This will lead to a fail project. Impact: Impact: It doesn't follow the company future strategy. It will lead to optimization of the resources.
CHANGE ON STAKEHOLDERS. Impact: Customers and Users. Impact: Business partners and Organizational Support. Impact: Governance and Sponsors
CHANGE ON ORGANIZATIONAL STRATEGY. Impact: Evaluate the projects and subprograms align with the business strategic. Impact: Redefine constrains used to evaluate the projects and programs and relocate resources.
CHANGE ON TIME DELIVERY & RESOURCES. Impact: A delay in the delivery or lack of resources will lead to a fail project. Impact: Revaluate the projects prioritization according to the resources.

Change from Change Management Perspective

Change Management

Include definition of change management

Describe the different change management Methods and Tools.

Critical Reflection

Critical Reflection on current practice and integration of Change Management into the daily practice of Project, Program and Portfolio Management

Synergies from Change Management and Project, Program and Portfolio Management

What can learn from change management project, program and portfolio management


  1. Exploring Strategic Change, 2rd ed, Balogun,J; Hope, Hailing, 2004, London. Prentice Hall
  2. Organizational Change Management: A critical Review, Todney, Rune , 2005, Journal of Change Management. Vol 5. No4. pag369-382
  3. Culture Change in the Strategic Enterprise: Lessons from the field, Nadler, M.B; Nadler, D.A; Thies, P.K, 2001, International Handbook of organizational culture and climate
  4. The role of cultural compatibility in successful organizational marriage, Cartwright, S; Cooper. C.L, 1996, Academy of Management Executive. Vol 7. No2. Pag 57-70
  5. Best practices for Managing R&D Portfolios, Cooper, R., Edgett,S., Kleinschmidt, E., 1998, Research technology Vol 41. No4. 20-30
  6. Change Management Learning Center, Prosci, November, 2014
  7. Managing Change: An overview, Lorentzy, Nancy M.; Riley, Robert T., 2000, Journal of the American medical informatics associations, Vol 7. No2. Pag 116-124
  8. Physics: book I to IV., Aristotle
  9. On Nature, Parmenides
  10. Standford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Chris Mortensen, July, 2011
  11. Change: principles problem formation and problem resolution, Watzlawick et al, 1974, New York. Norton
  12. Program Management: A Strategic Decision Management Process, Morri, Peter; Pinto, Jeffrey K., 2007, Wiley Guide
  13. A guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK guide)- Fifth edition, Project Management Institute PMI, 2013, USA, Project Management Institute, Inc
  14. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Ref13
  15. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Ref14
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