The Role of Project Management in Change Management

Brandi Johnson

Sep 11 2016 4 min read

Change management is the approach to transitioning individuals, teams and organizations using methods intended to re-direct the use of resources, business process, budget allocations, or other modes of operation that significantly reshape a company or organization.

Most change management focuses on how people and teams are affected by these transitions. Managing the change process is a four-step process:

  • Recognizing the changes in the broader business environment
  • Developing the necessary adjustments for their company’s needs
  • Training their employees on the appropriate changes
  • Winning the support of the employees with the persuasiveness of the appropriate adjustments

This process closely aligns with the best project management process:

  • Define the scope of the project
  • Design your project plan
  • Implement the project
  • Train end users and provide support

Of course, both of these processes are simplified. We know that these processes are much more complex than these four steps. But considering a change management process as a project management challenge helps provide a well-documented program to ensure your change is poised to succeed.

In Best Practices in Change Management-2014 Edition, published by Prosci, 62% of the participants who integrated change management and project management in their project met or exceeded their project objectives.

Here are ways that you can integrate change management and project management in your organization.

  • Clearly identify your outcomes – for both the change and the project. Ensure that these objectives have executive support.
  • Communicate the “whys.” Especially when managing a project designed to create change, communication is a cornerstone of success.
  • Establish and stick to your timeline. When a company chooses to undergo a major change, timing is important. Your project should run as quickly as possible to help mitigate the risk of sabotage by those who don’t support change.
  • Set priorities. Your project team may be working on many projects. Align your priorities with your company objectives and executive team’s vision to ensure proper buy-in and resource allocation.

Of course, there will always be people who say that project management and change management are highly separate disciplines, and should be. As a strategic project manager, however, developing the skills to manage change management projects helps build your skill set and improve your value to your organization.


Brandi Johnson

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