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‘Project’ and ‘Change’ Management: An Evolving Marriage

Does the need for a ‘change’ result in a ‘project’? or does a ‘project’ result in ‘change’? An interesting “chicken or egg”question! Writing in The Next Evolution:Unifying Project and Change Management, Thomas Luke Jarocki says that regardless of how these questions are answered, there are three “givens” regarding these two:

1. Any ‘change’ initiative, however it is defined and regardless of its scope, requires a planned approach/structure [project management].

2. Any ‘project’ will result in ‘changes’ that will impact employees, the way the work gets done and, potentially, organizational structure.

3. Effectively managing both the ‘project’ and resulting ‘changes’ will result in long lasting organizational benefits.

Why does project management fail? Because the “people and cultural” side of change the project produces has not been addressed.  It is apparent that a sound ‘project management’ plan must include change management principles and strategies. To use an analogy, think of a car: it is the mechanical/technical piece [the ‘project’] that has been developed to move an organization forward and the human behind the wheel is the one who will determine the car’s direction… how the driver reacts to the car will dictate whether or not the car moves forward[change management focus].

Prosci Change Management methodology captures this relationship very effectively: