A different perception of success

In our previous Change Diaries we defined project management and Change Management as two complementary disciplines with a common objective.
Project management teams and change management teams (or a single practitioner) obviously speak different ‘languages’, may have a different perception of what is project success and perform different activities to reach the project goal. This initial division is something that you as a change manager must overcome: Prosci®’s 2014 Best Practices in Change Management benchmarking report cites division as «the fourth greatest obstacle to the success of change initiatives».

In this Change Diary we will give you some tips to build a relationship with the project management team that works.

Speak the project management team’s language

To increase Change Management awareness and understanding within a project management team, you need to learn their language. The first step you can take to effectively express the value of your role is to learn their jargon and translate Change Management into their framework and ‘language’.

Prosci® has created a useful Change Management Glossary in Project Management Speak that we will quote in full. The Glossary is also available on their blog and as a tutorial on the Prosci® Portal.

Examples of differences


  • In project management: Determined and purposeful state of mind accompanying an act (from www.businessdictionary.com)
  • In Change Management: To drive and capture the portion of project benefits that depends on people adoption and usage.


  • In project management: Something toward which work is to be directed, a strategic position to be attained, or a purpose to be achieved, a result to be obtained, a product to be produced, or a service to be performed. (From PMI® PMBOK® Guide)
  • In Change Management:
    • Improve employee adoption and usage of the solution to drive project results and outcomes;
    • Create a customised and scaled approach that aligns with the project lifecycle and milestones;
    • Create deliverables (strategy and five plans) that support individual attainment of the key milestones of successful transition (ADKAR®).


  • In project management: The work that must be performed to deliver a product, service, or result with the specified features and functions. (From PMI® PMBOK® Guide)
  • In Change Management:
    In the scope of Change Management:

    • 1) Identify and define the individual changes required by the project;
    • 2) Create a Change Management strategy;
    • 3) Develop customised, scaled, targeted, best practice based plans (communications, sponsor, coaching, training, resistance management);
    • 4) Create adoption and usage metrics.

Out of scope:

    • 1) Define the change at hand;
    • 2) Create the technical solution.

Work streams

  • In project management: The progressive completion of tasks completed by different groups within a company which are required to finish a single project. (From www.businessdictionary.com)
  • In Change Management:
    Change Management has two work streams

    • 1) Individual Change Management Work Stream: Milestones needed for a single person to make a change successfully. Answering the question: how does a single person make a change successfully?;
    • 2) Organisational Change Management Work Stream: Deliverables (strategy and plans) that support individual transitions. Answering the question: what can the team do to support the individual transitions?


  • In project management: Scheduled event that indicates the completion of a major deliverable event (or a set thereof) of a project. Milestones are measurable and observable and serve as progress markers (flags). (From www.businessdictionary.com)
  • In Change Management: The milestones of Change Management are the building blocks of successful change for each impacted employee who must change how they do their jobs. The Prosci® ADKAR® Model defines the five building blocks – or milestones – of a successful individual transition.


  • In project management: Any unique and verifiable product, result, or capability to perform a service that must be produced to complete a process, phase, or project. (From PMI® PMBOK® Guide)
  • In Change Management: The deliverables of Change Management are created by applying a structured approach. The deliverables support the individual transitions and achievement of the individual milestones. This is the Prosci® 3-Phase Process.


  • In project management: Any item, whether internal or external to the project that is
    required by a process before that process proceeds. (From PMI® PMBOK® Guide)
  • In Change Management: The input to the Change Management process is a defined change in the organisation that will impact how individuals do their jobs. The input can be a small, incremental change or a large, radical change. Example changes that could be the inputs to the Change Management process include: new IT hardware or software system, business process optimisation, virtual or telework, reorganisation, new product launch or market expansion.


  • In project management: A product, result, or service generated by a process. May be an input to a successor process. (From PMI® PMBOK® Guide)
  • In Change Management: There are two main outputs of applying Change Management. At the individual level, the output is successful transitions (described in terms of ADKAR®) which result in higher levels of adoption and usage of the solution by employees. At the project level, the output is greater benefit realisation, results and outcomes delivery, return on investment and overall success.

Take action to build a collaborative relationship with the project management team

Now that we understand project management language better, we can take four actions to ensure Change Management is accounted for throughout the project.

1. Connect Change Management to the project team’s successes and goals

Connect the dots between the change (project or initiative) and the people (who will be changing) in order to ensure the project team views Change Management as critical for the project success. Then, show the role of Change Management on ROI achievement and the direct correlation between Change Management effectiveness and meeting project objectives.
Prosci®’s benchmarking data shows that projects where Change Management deployment was excellent were six times more likely to meet project objectives (compared to those with poor Change Management).

2. Put Change Management in their terms

Change practitioners deploy a structured and methodical approach with rigour, making Change Management look more tangible for the project management team and making it easier to align CM activities and timeline within the project.
Such a structured approach helps you share the Change Management methodology and deliverables, and is much more appealing to project managers.
Some of the deliverables that can be shared with the project management team are: Risk evaluation, Stakeholder analysis, Change Management strategy, Targeted sponsor roadmaps, Resistance management plans, Structured reinforcement and recognition mechanisms.

You can also leverage the work done by the project management team by incorporating Change Management activities. For example, you can integrate your communications into the existing communications plan, adding awareness building messages and reinforcement messages throughout the project lifecycle. This approach helps you answer employees’ questions about the impact of change.

3. Study project management and your organisation

Commit to understand project management within your organisation, learn the project’s language, in order to communicate effectively and include your Change Management activities in the project plan.
Learn more about the people in the project management team, so you will be able to build a tailored approach.
Lastly, try to understand what appeals your leadership to gain sponsorship and support within the project team.

4. Proactively address their concerns

Project managers usually worry about two aspects of Change Management:

  1. They believe it will slow down the project or influence the budget: You can anticipate resistance when making the case for Change Management: you can demonstrate how the initial costs and resources pay off later in the project, when you will experience less employee resistance and less work-arounds. In other words, the initial investment prevents the issues that usually emerge near the launch date.
  2. They’re not sure about the roles involved: be clear on roles, set expectations up front about what Change Management will do, how people-side activities can be integrated into the project plan and the value of a collaborative relationship within the project management team.

Are you already integrating project management and Change Management?

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash