Project Management and Change Management
The need for managing change during project execution has been long recognized. Not only have change management activities become part of every project methodology, most project managers have also accepted the responsibility for Change Management as part of their scope. The purpose of this paper is to explore the fundamental, and deeply rooted, differences between Project Management and Change Management.
The position taken regarding these two roles on the project is that they are differential to the extent that consolidating them under the single umbrella of the Project Manager is not only an unfair task, but in fact also creates a risk and a barrier to project success. However, it should be emphasized that Project Management and Change Management must work together in harmony, thus ensuring that people do not perceive a conflict of purpose, which is of course, success.
The assumption made here is that the reader of this paper is familiar with the definitions of Project and Change Management.
The table below compares the functional responsibilities of each role throughout the execution of a conventional waterfall-type project. Project phase names are made as generic as possible as the terminology varies greatly by project and industry.
Another factor to consider is differences in the personalities of successful Project Managers versus Change Managers.
Also consider a comparison of tools and techniques.
The comparisons presented indicate and support the conclusions:
- It’s unfair to expect that the skills and personality of a successful Project Manager would make them a successful Change Manager.
- The converse is also true.
- The role of a Change Manager continues beyond Commissioning and after the project team has stood down. That’s where change truly impacts the enterprise.
- The behaviour of people and cultures cannot be simplified and broken down into a mechanical approach that is used to manage a technology project.
Bill Arnett is Principal and OCM Practice lead, George Rafael, Senior Principal at Gilmore & Associates Inc. in Calgary. Dr. Scott Wooding, PhD., is an Associate at Gilmore & Associates Inc. and a recognized and published expert in human interaction and behaviour.
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