In MSP the Business Change Manager (BCM) is usually a business area manager (and should never be a contractor). They have been assigned the main benefits delivery role.

The Business Change Manager

In MSP the Business Change Manager (BCM) is usually a business area manager (and should never be a contractor). They have been assigned the main benefits delivery role.

This manager has to

  • define the benefits and the blueprint
  • specify the project outputs required
  • verify that these outputs have been delivered
  • transition them into the business
  • so as to realize the benefits.

All with, usually, little to no project/program delivery experience, training or support.

Full accountability, little support

So, full accountability for business change and benefits realization has been given to the business (good), but with little to no enablement (not good). It is assumed that the Program Manager will allocate resources to fill the skills, knowledge, competency, process, support and other gaps (with, presumably, no accountability for their performance).

BCMs are appointed before the Program Manager as they define what the PM has to do/deliver, and then the PM organizes the delivery of the requested ‘capabilities’ to enable the BCM to subsequently deliver the business benefits.

BCMs define the Blueprint, vision, benefit profiles and transition (change) plans. In addition, to be effective, BCMs need the authority to decide what is possible, needed and desirable, and to harness the business to get the results desired – ie they need to be in a fairly senior role.

The BCM runs transition/change end-to-end – preparing, transitioning and embedding change in the business. But, the BCM is not driving the program (the Program Manager is) or even facilitating it; and so has to coordinate and cooperate (as the Program Manager is seen as being on the same authority level with both of them reporting to the Sponsor) in order to get the results they need.

Basically, they need to trust the PM to effectively manage the program of projects to deliver what they, the BCM, (think) they want so that they can then ‘transition’ these capabilities into the business to realize the benefits. The PM and BCM run parallel streams of activity with many interconnections and interdependencies, but without anyone below the Sponsor having overall authority to direct and control.

Progressive accountability, full support

TOP takes a more sequential, more easily aligned approach.

TOP defines and agrees the business end states (desired business outcomes) and associated benefits at the outset.

It then defines the end-to-end change workload required to move from the current state to realize the agreed business outcomes and benefits.

A portion of this workload is then allocated to the project to action together with a set of clearly defined, measurable project outcomes and associated benefits to be (measured as) delivered.

Importantly, the project’s measure of success is the delivery of the project outcomes and immediate benefits plus their enablement of the subsequent business outcomes and benefits.

Full support for the Business Change Manager

However, as TOP is

  • change based
  • value focused
  • and designed to be actioned by the business

it is the best set of tools, techniques and templates available for a BCM to use to meet their accountabilities.

TOP approaches can be used by the business to ensure the successful delivery of the business change and benefits.

Learn more



Topics: TOP compared to orthodox approaches

Further Reading



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Revision History

First published: Simms, J. (Sept 2010) as "TOP & MSP (4) - The Business Change Manager"

Updated: Chapman, A. (March 2020), Revisions and Corrections