The disciplines of change management and project management understandably cross paths throughout the execution of a project or initiative. Each brings necessary and critical structure for effectively implementing change and realizing results.
Change management and project management must present a unified value proposition in order to achieve successful change. The unified value proposition sets the foundation for the tactical integration which is addressed in greater detail in the article, "Dimensions of Integrating Change Management and Project Management."
Change, at its most basic level, is about moving from a current state, through a transition state to arrive at a new future state. The goal of change is to improve performance in some meaningful way - so that performance levels in the future state are better than they had been in the current state. Organizations - both in the public and private sectors - introduce projects or initiatives as ways to add structure to change.
The movement from the current to the future state occurs on two dimensions. From a technical perspective, a solution that will address the issue or opportunity must be designed, developed and delivered into the organization. From a people side perspective, that solution is ultimately manifested in the behaviors, processes and day-to-day activities of employees in the organization. For the solution to deliver results it must be embraced, adopted and used by those groups impacted by the solution.
Project management and change management provide structured and intentional approaches to the technical side and people side of a project or initiative, respectively. This is the foundation of the phrase "complementary disciplines with a common objective" which describes these two disciplines. The common objective, in times of change, is to improve the performance of the organization with a project or initiative - to reach a desired future state. Project management and change management are complementary disciplines because they each provide focus, processes and tools for moving through the transition toward the future state. A successful change is characterized by a solution that is effectively designed, developed and delivered (project management) and that is embraced, adopted and used by impacted employees (change management).
Without an approach for both the technical side and people side of change, organizations are unable to deliver sustainable results through change. The unified value proposition of applying both project management and change management is actually quite simple: delivering intended improvement through successfully implemented change programs.
The joint value proposition for integrating change management and project management is successfully reaching a future state on both the technical side and people side of change. In addition to the value of integrating the disciplines, there is additional value to change management practitioners in sharing this unified value proposition. How does presenting a joint value proposition help your efforts at change management?
Presenting a joint value proposition for integrating change management and project management:
Below is an overview of the change management and project management disciplines - drawing comparisons across a number of horizons including focus, definition, intent, process, tools, scaling factors, measurement of success and practitioners. While this list highlights the differences between the disciplines, remember that the common objective is to deliver successful change.
Change Management is the application of processes and tools to manage the people side of change from a current state to a new future state such that the desired results of the change (and expected return on investment) are achieved.
Project Management is the application of knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to project activities to meet project requirements.
Change Management - to ensure that the solution is embraced, adopted and used by employees impacted by the change
Project Management - to ensure that the solution is designed, developed and delivered effectively
Change Management - employees impacted by a project or initiative (those who must adopt and use the change)
Project Management - tasks and activities required to create and implement the technical solution associated with a change
Change Management - characteristics of the change, attributes of impacted organizations, degree of "people" change required
Project Management - complexity and degree of technical change associated with the particular project or initiative
Change Management - From the Prosci 3-Phase Process
Project Management - From PMBOK® Guide
Change Management - Common tools used in change management
Project Management - Common tools used in project management
Change Management - Measurement focused on the "people side" of change elements, including:
* Because results and outcomes are dependent on individuals adopting the change, this is a primary focus
Project Management - Measurement focused on the "technical side" of change elements, primarily:
* In some cases, intended results and outcomes take a secondary role behind time and budget targets
Change Management includes a system of "doers" throughout the organization, not just change management practitioners, including:
Project Management is typically practiced by a project manager and a project team assigned to a specific project or initiative.
Project management and change management each contribute a critical ingredient to successful change. Although they vary in terms of focus and approach, each are essential in order to navigate the transition state to reach a future state. This article lays the foundation of integrating change management and project management. For best practices and tips for addressing the tactical and relational elements of effectively integrating change management and project management, check out these resources:
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.