Richard Batchelor

Change Management & Strategic Human Resources

October 27 2011

How Change Management Affects Project Management

Anyone who chats with me about change management and is aware of my career background should be well aware that I moved into Change Management from project management. In fact IT project management first and then more general business projects before my moment of enlightenment happened.

Well it wasn’t anything of biblical proportions but I was feeling frustrated that the projects I was working on were not considering the bigger picture and the needs of the business and the people working in it. Yes this was quite a few years ago and change management wasn’t perhaps as widely appreciated then. The project management ethos was all about fast and effective delivery of a product – the latest IT system or systems change most frequently or if you were lucky pushing through a business process change. Anyway the case was made for change managers where I worked and I transitioned into that sphere and some would say never looked back.

However, that is not true. I do frequently look back and rely on my project management expertise with many change events. It’s great that I have that foundation there and know all the tips and tricks of being a good PM. It is interesting for me to reflect on developments in project management – new methodologies take root and tips and tricks come from other sources. There are many good resources out on the net for you to peruse – I like this list of project management tips from Villanova University and a quick Google will bring up a number of other articles but I do notice a shift in the styling and approach with people affects, learning needs and communications needs all appearing in these top ten lists of project management essentials. Interestingly these are all areas that I consider change management’s domain.

We need to remember that we use project management for the organization and planning tools of so many jobs, contracts or whatever tasks you may be working on. Think about the last change event you did, you probably had to plan and organize it and your project management skills came to the fore. No matter if your formally trained or just know how to structure activities through experience that knowledge stays with you.

But what of change management and its impact upon project management? Much like the learned models out there I agree with the tripartite set up of business, project and change management. Each depends upon the other and inevitably influences each other. I guess this is becoming more common as I look around and see change management roles being advertised and requests for advice coming from new projects being started up in many businesses. However thinking about those newer and very good quality articles on how to make the best of project management, much like the recommendations of this link I put above, it is now becoming evident that good project managers are needing to embrace change management skills and like the title of this blog post, I am pleased to see how change management affects project management now.

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