As change management has emerged over the two last decades, the interaction between change management and project management has become increasingly important. When change management was viewed as an extraneous optional add-on, integration was unimportant and unfortunately the entire value of change management was not realized. Now, as change management is more often viewed as a critical project success factor, integration with project management is happening earlier and across more dimensions than in the past. 

This tutorial shares data from two Prosci change management webinars on integrating change management and project management. During the webinars, attendees were polled on a variety of aspects of integrating change management and project management. The graphs below paint a picture of how integration is currently occurring. Each graph includes over 400 data points.


The first poll question asked attendees to evaluate where the focus is placed on their projects. Nearly half of participants indicated they focused on both the technical and the people side. Still, 45% of attendees indicated the focus in their organization was on the technical side of change and the people side was neglected.


Integration of tools

Integration of change management and project management can occur across a number of dimensions. One of those dimensions is the integration of tools. Below are the results of a question on the integration of tools. Nearly two thirds of attendees indicated some level of integration, with 12% indicating that most tools were integrated. During the webinar, attendees generated a list of over 80 specific tools they had integrated.



Integration of methodologies

Beyond tools and activities on a particular project, change management and project management can be integrated from a methodology perspective. This level of integration involves creating a common, overarching process for project delivery that addresses both the people side and technical side of change. One third of attendees had not integrated methodologies, while 6% of attendees were in an environment where complete integration had occurred.



Ease of integration based on approach

The approach used for change management impact how easily integration can occur. Webinar attendees evaluated how their approach to change management impacted the ease of integration. Nearly one fifth of attendees indicated their approach made integration difficult and confusing while 13% indicated their change management approach made integration simple and intuitive. A process-driven approach for change management with built-in measures for scaling the change management strategy and plans drives easier integration.


Being both a project manager and change manager

The question of who does the work associated with change management and project management is another interesting aspect of the integration discussion. In the webinar, the question of whether or not someone could be both a change manager and project manager was posed using the analogy of "hats" - i.e. a project management hat and a change management hat. After discussion about the implications from both a competency perspective and a capacity perspective, attendees shared their views. Nearly half of attendees felt that someone could be both a change manager and project manager on a single project. One third of attendees felt that a person could possess both skill sets but only effectively fill one role at a time on a particular project.


Shared objectives

In the webinar, the final dimension of integration was objectives. On the webinar, project management and change management were presented as complimentary disciplines with a common objective. They are complimentary in nature in that one focuses on the technical side of a change while the other focuses on the people side of the change. The common objective that is shared is creating value for the organization through change - delivering Return on Investment (ROI), realizing benefits and achieving results and outcomes. The graph below shows the evaluation of the common objective. 31% indicated that both are focused on results and outcomes, while 58% indicated there was some degree of shared objectives. One in ten attendees indicated that change management and project management were not approaching change with a shared and common objective.


What does it mean to you?

As a change management practitioner, you must work with project teams to create a unified solution to change that addresses both the technical side and the people side. Creating a collaborative partnership increases the likelihood that solutions deliver intended results. As you work to integrate change management and project management, be articulate and precise about how the integration can occur at the people, process, tool and methodology levels. The first step toward creating collaboration is ensuring that both groups are focused on delivering successful change.

The Value of Integration Change Management and Project Management

Written by
Tim Creasey
Tim Creasey

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.