Project and Change Management integration, two sides of the same coin

Anytime your organisation introduces a change you need the perfect match of project management and change management. The former addresses the technical aspects of the change, providing the structure, tools and processes, while the latter ensures the change is adopted successfully by the people impacted.

Project management and Change Management both have the goal of delivering  the expected outcomes. Introducing change always entails a transition from a current state to a future state. And, such transition always has the two dimensions of:

  1. Project management (the technical side): your new solution must be designed, developed and introduced
  2. Change Management (the people side): to be successful, your solution must be effectively used by the employees and teams impacted

Integrating project management and Change Management

Prosci® has highlighted five main steps covering any business improvement process: Problem or opportunity identification, Planning, Design, Development to Implementation. These necessitate the following Change Management elements: Assessments, Team and Sponsor role definition, Communications, Coaching and feedback and Resistance management.

The earlier you start integrating Change Management in the process, the more effective the respective activities will be. Prosci® identifies two scenarios when integration usually happens:

  1. As part of a clear strategy, either when a team member introduces Change Management or when the organization has committed to build a Change Management capability.
  2. When Change Management is introduced later in the business improvement process. Late integration is usually due to resistance to the implementation by employees, managers and supervisors. This means Change Management arrives in an already difficult situation, and the first steps a change practitioner must take is try to understand what has happened before developing a strategy for the rest of the project. You can avoid such emergency interventions by integrating project management and Change Management earlier in the project.

A dual approach to a common objective

Change Management and project management are perfectly described as «complementary disciplines with a common objective», where the common objective is to improve the performance of a project or initiative to reach a desired future state.
Integrating project and Change management is important because it provides the technical perspective and a people-side approach to the same project, increasing the chances of improving the project ROI.

Achieving change trough a Unified Value Proposition

As we said, the two disciplines share a common objective with the goal of change to improve performance so that you have a better future state than current state. The application of both approaches allows your organisation to deliver sustainable results.

You can enhance the efforts of a change practitioner to integrate Project management and Change Management by presenting a joint value proposition. This:

  • Strengthens the case for Change Management, giving you the chance to get early involvement in discussions and focus on what matters the most for the whole team (e.g. meeting project objectives and budget requirements);
  • Contributes positively to the perception of Change Management by project teams — who rather than considering Change Management as fluffy and unimportant — see that you are in the same team, focusing on the same goals;
  • Appeals to the desire of project teams for structure and process, by demonstrating the structured approach and tools of Change Management;
  • Solves a problem, and offers a holistic approach to support projects that will otherwise fail to achieve the desired outcomes.

Are you having trouble with the project management and Change Management integration? We can support you with one of our workshops, Prosci® Delivering Project Results: Workshop for Project Managers.


Learn more about project management and Change Management integration in our Big Themes.

Photo by Iker Urteaga on Unsplash