Organizational changes are natural part of projects. By definition, projects are changing the state of things and almost always, this includes processes and procedures and consequently how people do things in their day-to-day business.
There are many theories an models but Kübler-Ross model applied to change management is fundamental one.
In its original form, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross wrote in her 1969 book “On Death and Dying” about the “Five Stages of Grief”:
- Denial: Example – “I feel fine.”; “This can’t be happening.”‘Not to me!”
- Anger: Example – “Why me? It’s not fair!” “NO! NO! How can you accept this!”
- Bargaining: Example – “Just let me live to see my children graduate.”; “I’ll do anything, can’t you stretch it out? A few more years.”
- Depression: Example – “I’m so sad, why bother with anything?”; “I’m going to die . . . What’s the point?”
- Acceptance: Example – “It’s going to be OK.”; “I can’t fight it, I may as well prepare for it.”
- Denial: Example – “This isn’t relevant to my work.”
- Resistance: Example – “I’m not having this.”
- Exploration: Example – “Could this work for me?”
- Hope: Example – “I can see how I make this work for me.”
- Commitment: Example – “This works for me and my colleagues.”
This happens to all of us. It is important to understand, that this is a natural reaction and should never be taken personally. Project manager should avoid at all costs bringing this conflict to a personal level as it makes it difficult or impossible to recover from it later.
It is important that project manager keep the team involved during denial and resistance phases, especially trying to understand their current position. Translated into project management, this is the time to do requirements analysis. This can open the vents of piled up unresolved issues and problems.
Tipping point is where negotiation starts and scope crepe occurs. Project manager really needs to be tough in following the goals and objectives.
Exploration is where training can occur. People in exploration phase accepted that the change is imminent and are gaining interest in it. It is futile to do any training before this stage.
When in hope stage are empowered to accept the change. They’re comfortable doing user testing and self exploration.
During commitment phase, they’re believers. They know why this is good for them and the team. Now is the time to write new processes and procedures.