How is change management impacting project management in business?

Business - Management

The last few years going through a pandemic has sped up change in all areas of our lives and work. Rapid change has left little room for sitting still and waiting to see what happens, and this adaptation is here to stay as organisations move towards post-pandemic operations.

Change is an important feature of business, ranging from hiring new employees, to improving your position in the market. Whatever the change being brought about, it affects everyone in the business, from employees to customers. Managing how change is brought about and implemented ensures everyone affected will maximise the benefits of the changes.

There can be some confusion about the terms change management and project management. They both involve managing people and processes, and aim to meet the same goals, but are completely different disciplines:

  • Project management refers to the specific tangibles needed to drive a project from a specific beginning to end.
  • Change management focuses on how people will potentially be affected by changes and how to help them adapt to ensure success.

Project management vs change management

More specifically, let’s look at the difference between the two approaches:

Project management:

  • Documented standards and guidelines
  • Has a set and detailed timeline, including specific end and beginning
  • Focuses on process and systems
  • Manages activities to meet specific goals and outcomes.

Change management:

  • No standard guidelines
  • Fluid timeline
  • Focuses on people rather than formal processes
  • Manages the impact of change of business projects.

Why do we need change management in business?

Change management becomes critical in business project management to ensure a smooth transition as a project is started, implemented, and completed. It encourages those affected by the proposed project to accept the changes and work towards a resolution, instead of feeling confused and resistant about the change.

Project management focus is on results – how to bring about the end goal of the project. While those on the project team are invested in this result, those outside often don’t have all the information necessary to understand what it is about, causing them to feel resistant or even concerned about the changes the project will bring about. Unless everyone who is affected by the change is on board with the process, this can lead to the project being slow to come to fruition, or even unsuccessful at the end.

Change management creates a supportive environment for people who will be affected by a project to encourage a seamless and effective transition. Essentially, change management is the support team for a project, helping to create and impart positivity about the need and reason for change, and identify those who will be affected and could potentially struggle.

What is the impact of change management on project management?

Each approach focuses on different perspectives of a project, with the aim of bringing about its success. Both change management and project management can work together to ensure a project’s outcomes are realised and promote the success of the business overall.

To ensure this is possible, having the right tools for collaboration, communication, and education is vital. Microsoft solutions such as SharePoint and Teams allow project managers and change managers to build a collaborative, complimentary approach.

Increases efficiency: with CM and PM integrated, there is a comprehensive approach to the implementation and rollout of projects. The objectives of the project should be clear, to give purpose and drive to everyone in the organisation, to achieve the project outcomes.

Improved project alignment: when both processes and people are harmoniously aligned to achieve an outcome, every step along the way is seamless and there is nothing to hinder progress. There is more focus and direction, as all employees are working towards a common purpose, become more motivated to achieve the result, and engaged in the project.

Reduced risk: when people are working in silos, or feel offside, there is an increased chance of significant errors or missed opportunities to move the project forward. Planning for potential resistance from the beginning will enhance the potential of reducing pushback later, when it’s more likely the project can be derailed.

Communication: ensuring change and project management are integrated improves communication about the project. Change managers can ensure staff outside the team are kept in the loop, and project managers can stay informed about how employees are reacting to the changes, using that feedback to improve the outcome of the project. Videos for updates and training purposes, or social updates via Microsoft Teams are an excellent and secure way to keep all stakeholders engaged, informed, and involved.

The ultimate success of any project comes down to how well managers support their team to adapt and accept new changes. In the last few years, rapid change has been a big part of life for many, and businesses have had to make huge jumps in the way they operate, communicate, and adjust. Keep your projects moving fluidly and empower your employees with the power of Microsoft, and ensure you harness the experience and knowledge of Lindetech’s certified experts.