Excellent change

December 22, 2009

Project management vs. Change management

IStock_000007201499Small The interfaces between project management and change management overlap, and they are certainly interdependent when it comes to successfully delivering value by supporting the strategic initiatives of the business.

To put it roughly the project management team handles the technical and administrative side of the project, whereas the change management team handles the people side of the project.

Project management is key when it comes to initiating, planning, executing and monitoring the projects activities and deliverables. They ensure a strong solution design backed up with detailed project plans. 

Change management prepares the organization for the project impact, manages the transition from how we do things today to how they will be done tomorrow – and puts special efforts into reinforcing and anchoring the change into the everyday work and life of the organization.

Key tools in project management are the project charter, business case, budget estimations, work breakdown structure, resource allocations, scheduling and tracking. Key tools in change management are organizational assessments, stakeholder mapping and interventions, communication and coaching plans, training programs, sponsorship road maps and reinforcement activities.

Successful projects and project managers integrate the two approaches, and makes sure to give equal attention to both the technical and the people side of the project. Unfortunately, all to often change management initiatives are late add-on’s if – or when – the project runs into trouble.

Do yourself a favor and invite change managers – communicators, HR professionals, Trainers, stakeholder managers etc. – to the table early in the project. It will be a well spent investment, that will help the project finish on target, time and budget.

As I see it, change management is the insurance policy of projects with a high people factor. And most projects need it.

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