The disciplines of change management and project management understandably cross paths throughout the execution of a project or initiative. Each brings necessary and critical structure for effectively implementing change and realizing results.
Below are four tactical dimensions along which integration can occur. A fifth dimension is also mentioned regarding a common objective and how integration around results and outcomes drives more effective integration in action.
Prosci has identified five dimensions of integration for change management and project management:
The people dimension of integration addresses who is doing the change management and project management work and how the relationship is architected. Prosci's latest research found that 76% of participants had a resource dedicated to change management. At the most basic level, that change management resource can either sit on the project team (Team structure A below) or support the project team externally (Team structure B below). Benchmarking data from the 2016 Best Practices report noted 37% of participants used Team Structure A.
There are certainly advantages and challenges with each model. When the change management resource is part of the project team, there is a higher level of project knowledge, and responsibilities can be more easily integrated. When the change management resource supports the project team externally, the resource tends to have higher levels of access to the sponsor, more objectivity and an exclusive focus on change management.
The decision of which integration approach is likely based on the nature of the project and the norms in the organization. Whichever approach is taken, it is important to effectively define roles, responsibilities and relationships for the project management resources and change management resources.
The process dimension of integration addresses how the activities of project management and the activities of change management are brought together during the lifecycle of the project or initiative. Integration at the process dimension enables these two complementary disciplines to be more effective in sequencing work, aligning the timing of activities and exchanging information that is crucial to project success. The image below shows, at a high level, how change management and project management activities can be integrated.
Integration of activities is enhanced by several factors:
Risk identification activities
Solution design activities
Project announcement activities
Integration at the tool dimension focuses on the specific deliverables created by both the change management and project management disciplines. Some tools may not be integrated because they reside solely in one discipline or the other. However, there are numerous tools that are used by both project management and change management practitioners. For example, the communication plan and risk assessment are two tools commonly used in both disciplines. Integration on a tool dimension means creating a single tool plan that includes both technical side and people side aspects.
In a webinar on the topic of change management and project management integration, we asked participants which tools they had integrated. Tools identified included:
While integration along the people, process and tool dimensions occurs at the project level, integration of methodologies occurs at the organizational level. This dimension of integration moves one step up, creating a common and standard approach to project delivery that incorporates the organization's project management and change management methodologies.
Integration of methodologies involves decisions about when and how the methodologies interact and when they diverge. One of the biggest challenges is that change management work becomes too governed by project milestones and timing, taking away some of the change management workstream's needed ability to react to and adjust to how people are experiencing the change. An integrated methodology is often part of a greater strategy for institutionalizing change management, what Prosci calls enterprise change management.
Integration on the results and outcomes dimension stems from the notion that change management and project management are in fact complementary disciplines with a common objective. In the end, both project management and change management are approaches used to improve the performance of the organization by helping it reach a desired future state resulting from a project or initiative. This dimension is more focused on reaching a shared view of what success means and how each of the disciplines contribute to project success.
In many ways this dimension is where integration actually begins. When we can successfully integrate our view and definition of what we are trying to achieve, the rest of the integration elements begin to fall into place. Rather than an "us versus them" mentality, integration on the results and outcomes dimension drives a team approach.
Projects and initiatives are more likely to meet objectives and achieve success when change management and project management are being both used and integrated. An integrated approach increases the effectiveness of project delivery and increases the chances that sustained change happens. Integration of change management and project management enables the practitioners doing the work to be more aligned, the activities more effectively sequenced and the tools in use more robust. Regardless of your specific approach to integrating people, processes, tools and methodologies, integration of change management and project management provides a more complete approach and solution to creating sustained and meaningful change in the organization.