Integrating project management and change management from the start of an initiative creates a shared objective, enables a more proactive approach, improves sequencing and alignment, supports the exchange of information, and much more. But to set up projects for success, we must integrate these complementary disciplines completely—not simply for processes or communications. Here's a high-level overview of the five key dimensions to integrate.
When integrating change management and project management, five key areas or dimensions should be addressed: people, processes, tools, methodologies, and results and outcomes.
This dimension of integration addresses who in your organization executes change management and project management roles on your projects and initiatives. It also includes the team structure or governance model that defines the relationship between these roles.
Several change management team structures exist. The most common approach is to have a dedicated change management practitioner on the project team. Some organizations have an external change management office (CMO) with resources who support the project team. Some organizations include change management resource on the project team as well as working with external resources. And in some cases, the project team and change management team are the same person or people.
This area involves determining how the phases, stages and activities of project management and change management come together during the project lifecycle. Integrating the process dimension enables these complementary disciplines to more effectively exchange information, sequence work, and align the timing and desired outcomes for project milestone dates.
You can optimize process integration by beginning change management activities early in the project lifecycle, ideally at the project initiation phase. The earlier change management is started, the more effective exchanging information, sequencing work, and alignment on project-milestone dates will be.
In this area, we focus on identifying opportunities to integrate specific tools and the associated deliverables created by both the change management and project management disciplines. For example, communications plans and risk assessments are tools commonly used by both disciplines. Participants in Prosci's research said they integrated the communications plan, project plan, training plan, and schedule at least 78% of the time. Integrating commonly used tools creates opportunities for collaboration between the disciplines, reduces duplication of effort, and promotes common understanding.
While integration along the people, process and tools dimensions described above occurs at the project level, integration of methodologies occurs at the organizational level. This dimension involves creating a standard approach to project delivery by skillfully combining the organization's project management and change management methodologies.
To start integrating this dimension, your organization should choose a single change management methodology. Doing so enables everyone from executive leaders and managers to project teams and front-line employees to use the same terms and "speak the same language" during important organizational changes.
Project management and change management are complementary disciplines. They both improve the organization’s performance by helping it realize the benefits from making a change. This dimension focuses on establishing a shared definition of success: the results and outcomes for a specific change and how each discipline contributes to the achievement of those results and outcomes.
In many ways, integration begins here—because integrating our definition of success for the project or initiative sets the direction for what we are trying to achieve and brings teams together from the start.
Prosci's change management methodology and tools give you a standard, process-oriented approach for reaching and influencing impacted employees before, during and after your project. And research shows that effective change management improves your likelihood staying on schedule and within your budget—while increasing the odds of successful outcomes from your projects and initiatives.
Tim Creasey is Prosci’s Chief Innovation Officer and a globally recognized leader in change management. His work forms the foundation of the largest body of knowledge in the world on managing the people side of change to deliver organizational results.
Join the ranks of the more than 45,000 Prosci Certified Change Practitioners around the world. Find an upcoming training program near you.
Need support on a must-win change initiative? Want to build a change-capable organization? Prosci can partner with you to customize a solution for the specific needs of your organization.
Create a free account and access a wealth of online resources and research-based tools to help you succeed at each level of your change management journey.