Change Management vs Project Management

Change Management vs Project Management
April 22, 2012 seouser
project management

Many people in business consider change management and project management to be the same thing. In fact, project management is a part of change management, and has a focus on individual tasks. Project management is almost completely technical and process-driven; change management involves more emotion and politics. A project is temporary by definition, change is often ongoing.

What is Project Management?

There are many different project management frameworks that can be utilised to achieve your goal. In a nutshell, project management skills teach you to:

  • Identify the right projects
  • Set the right goals
  • Plan by working backwards from the end point, defining smaller targets along the way
  • Manage and lead the project team
  • Problem-solve and adapt
  • Close and evaluate the project

What is Change Management?

Change management is more fluid than project management – once a project is defined and initiated, it becomes self-contained and the amount of possible variables are reduced. Change management involves leading the way through a string of different projects and tasks. Change can not be self contained, and the emotional and political agendas of colleagues must be continually managed to ensure success.

The Role of Relationships

Leaders in change management must be able to build ongoing networks for support, persuasion and, inevitably, power. Project managers are task-focused and their relationships change from project to project.

The Role of FUD

There is very little uncertainty in project management, where all eventualities are considered before the project is initiated. Leading through change means managing people’s FUDFear, Uncertainty and Doubt. How many times have you heard colleagues say they “don’t like change”? Change invokes fear (of the unknown), uncertainty (which leads to a sense of instability), and doubt as to the necessity of the change in the first place. All change managers need to be aware that there will be people who resist the change – as opposed to project management where the team’s buy-in is a given. Being able to manage change means reducing fear by managing fear by considering what they perceive the risks to be – perhaps even by increasing their fear of inaction. It means managing uncertainty by getting people involved, e.g. asking for their advice or feedback. Reduce doubt by making sure everyone else in the process shares the vision of the change. By relating the change to people’s needs and wants, you reduce their FUD and ensure their buy-in.

How Project Management and Change Management Work Together

Change management is an ongoing process. Before the initiation of a project within that change – and the hiring of a project manager – the change leader will have taken steps to reduce FUD. The project manager will check for organisational buy-in before agreeing to the project. The project manager is concerned with the required output and technicalities along the way. The change manager has less need to be bogged down by specifics; they consider the emotions and politics related to the project’s part in a wider agenda.   Author Bio: This article was written by Silicon Beach Training, who provide a wide range of public and private training courses both on-site and in their Brighton training centre. Silicon Beach Training specialise in PRINCE2 Training and MSP Training.