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Change management vs. project management

Usually, you don’t mention change management and project management in the same breath. With this article, we want to break the bridge and are going to explain to you what the two focus on and why they can complement each other.

Change management

Change management is about transforming the way of working to improve the return on invest of an organization. Thereby, change is a mean that is introduced to improve the way work gets done, solve a problem, or take advantage of an opportunity. Change affects the whole organization and all employees and  because it impacts the way people work, change management is people-focused.

The goal of change management is to enable the people affected by the change to adopt and embrace the change. Thus, change management offers tools and processes to improve the teamwork and team spirit of an organization to accept change and work more efficiently.

Change management comprises 4 principles to make it successful:

  1. Understand change: This is the departing point, you need to understand what is the change, why is it necessary, how can it be achieved.
  2. Plan change: This second step in the process is the preparation. Get support from senior management for the change and identify who else needs to be involved.
  3. Implement change: Set up a team, define responsibilities and processes, identify necessary training but also make sure you define your outcome for a successful change.
  4. Communicate change: Plan how you inform everyone about the change and why it is happening, create a positive attitude towards the change. Keep everyone  up to date throughout the process and make sure you include all stakeholders.

 

Project management

According to the PM² Alliance project management methodology guide, a project is “a temporary organisational structure set up to create a unique product or service (output) within certain constraints such as time, cost and quality.” It has a specified goal with a defined time period and defined resources. On top, a project is not a routine operation, it brings together a team of people who usually do not work together.

Thereby, project management is the process of steering a project through its lifecycle to complete it as per the project requirements. Usually, managing a project involves capturing the problem or insight,  then planning the solution to the problem, initiating the project and executing, monitoring and closing of said plan. In the course of this, resources, budget and time frame need to be considered.

Thus, you can say that project management focuses on the tasks and processes to successfully deliver the project.

Change management and project management

Change and project management are closely linked. They often work in parallel as both focus on bringing an organization forward, moving it through stages from current to transition to planned future state. When change management and project management are combined, they together can make sure that the organization’s processes are efficient and its people motivated. Both together enable a team to deliver a project successfully. Usually, a change would be implemented with a project. This change needs to be managed from a process and people side. So your project management would ensure the efficient process for a successful outcome whilst the change management makes sure all people are on board, supporting the change and embrace the new way of working. No matter what project management method will be used (waterfall, agile, scrum…), change management will go alongside any of them.