Project Practitioners > Book: The Next Evolution - Enhancing and Unifying Project and Change Management

Book: The Next Evolution - Enhancing and Unifying Project and Change Management

By Cinda Voegtli

I still hear way too many stories of "change management bolted onto the end" of projects whose outputs will impact lots of people. So I'm always interested in what approaches people use to INSTEAD make change management a natural part of each project.  

[I'm not talking here about managing/controlling changes to delivereables etc. during a project. This is the Change Management that is about anticipating how a project and what it's delivering will impact various people and groups, including how it will CHANGE THINGS THAT MATTER to them :-)... how they work; how they're reviewed; whatever.]

I was therefore browsing books on Change Management recently and came across this one.   The Next Evolution: Enhancing and Unifying Project and Change Management by Thomas Luke Jarocki. i noted quickly that it's by a consultant, covering The Emergence One Method.  I'm typically skeptical when I see a book that is by a consultant, afraid that it will be selling their stuff as "thought leaders"  and/or  "our way or the highway". But I looked on Amazon at the table of contents and that was enough to cause my purchase.

Because this is MY kind of book for this subject, which as evident from the TOC.  I needed way more than a theoretical book on Change Management.  I didn't mind a refresher, and reading someone else's perspective.  But my biggest objective was to get hold of more material on the nuts and bolts of DOING IT.   This book is laid out as a phase-by-phase and step-by-step handbook for integrating stakeholder understanding and communication all along the way during a project.  

I have the book now, but haven't finished reading it per se, because it IS a handbook - a combination of things to read and things to reference and use.  Here are a few notes on the content:

  • It has a very nice survey of the roots of change management theory and practice up front.
  • Its step-by-step approach is based on standard project phases, then the steps within are a mix of business goals and requirements work, project team "design and implementation" deliverables work; and stakeholder engagement activities.  It thus shows nicely how to integrate those 3 aspects - defining the goals, managing the project, and managing the related change.  (But it is NOT advocating that "our process is the only way".
  • It divides stakeholders of project-related change into 3 tiers, and lays out a roadmap for when to engage each tier, on what topics - with lots of bulleted questions that can be used as checklists.
  • It is pragmatic in its philosophy on the "how" we go use these things in our own environments.  It advocates flexibility, warns against over-formality of documentation if it's not needed, and admonishes us to not let project documentation hinder momentum.  And in its focus on stakeholder management, it focuses very strongly on the people aspect.

I also hear from members and class attendees  that stakeholder management is a huge challenge on their projects.  This book could be interesting and useful to people who are not even thinking "change management" but concerned with "stakeholder management". Plenty of the material is on up-front stakeholder engagement and involvement in the process of looking at project alternatives and making trade-offs that will be acceptable to all, in the face of various constraints.

All-in-all recommended if you're interested in techniques for consistently, collaboratively, and thoroughly engaging stakeholders throughout a project, to truly incorporate change management from the start,.


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