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Needs and tips for integrating
change management and project management

Module 4 in the Integrating Change Management and Project Management Series


The disciplines of change management and project management cross paths throughout the execution of an initiative. Each brings necessary and critical structure for effectively implementing change and realizing results - one with structure and intent for the technical side of change and one with structure and intent for the people side of change. As change management has emerged over the past decade, the interaction between change management and project management has become increasingly important. Even new change management practitioners know that getting the project team on board and engaged in change management can make or break an initiative.

Building on the tutorial series released earlier this year on integrating change management and project management, this tutorial presents research findings on obstacles practitioners face regarding integration, along with tips to help you be more successful in bringing together these complementary disciplines. 


The reality of integrating project management and change management

As practitioners in the field of change management continue to integrate project management and change management, they are faced with common obstacles. Over the past year, Prosci has delivered a webinar on integrating change management and project management three times (November 17 & 18, 2011; February 22 & 23, 2012; November 7 & 8, 2012). In each of these webinars, Prosci asked attendees the following question: "What are the most pressing topics or issues you are facing regarding change management and project management integration?" What follows is an analysis of the most common needs identified by webinar participants along with tips for dealing with them.


Top 5 common pressing issues

Webinar attendees responding to the question about the most pressing topics or issues related to integrating change management and project management identified five common needs.

1. Support and buy-in for change management from project teams

The most pressing issue regarding integrating project management and change management identified by webinar attendees was gaining buy-in, awareness, and support from the project team around the importance of change management. Participants felt that project leaders and project managers did not see the value or importance of change management. Additionally, some respondents dealt with project teams that perceived change management as overhead that slowed down the project and ate into the budget. Project teams lacked an overall awareness of the importance and value change management provided to the change effort.

Tip: Make change management meaningful and real. Connect with what the project team cares about, which means it is focused on the ability of the project to deliver the intended results and outcomes through better adoption and usage of the solution by employees. Additionally, since many project leaders are concerned with delivery "on time and on budget" - an effective pitch for change management shows that by effectively managing the people side of change, projects are actually more likely to be on schedule and on budget. To make change management more real to project teams, present change management in their terms. Present change management as a credible, structured and intentional approach, guided by processes with concrete milestones and deliverables. The more rigorous and structured you make change management feel, the more support you gain from project teams.


2. Support for change management from leadership

In many organizations (but certainly not all), the practice of project management is well established and senior leaders believe it is necessary to achieve business results. In fact, no project in these organizations would be launched without applying project management. The findings from these 520 respondents show that it is not always the same case for change management, even though managing the people side of change is imperative to achieving the desired business results of a project. But respondents report that leaders and sponsors have a limited awareness of the need for change management, which impedes the critical integration of change management with project management activities. The leadership team needs to treat change management as equal in order to ensure the integration is not only adopted, but effectively producing results.

In addition to impeding integration of project management and change management, a lack of awareness of the importance of change management in the eyes of leadership impacts resource allocation and budgeting; scarce resources are often applied to project management in lieu of change management. Leadership support for and commitment to change management is critical for effective integration. 

Tip: Connect change management to what executives and senior leaders care about - achieving the intended benefits and value from change. The case for change management should be directly tied to the ultimate results and outcomes of the project. By making a direct connection between how well the people side of change is managed and the ultimate ROI of the project, you can shift the context and the conversation.


3. Scope, timing, and prioritization

The third most pressing issue identified by webinar attendees involves scoping the project to determine how much change management is required on a project, prioritizing which projects require the most change management, and making sure change management is involved early on and consistently throughout the project. Respondents shared that change management is often brought in after project initiation, which does not allow enough time to properly apply change management.

Tip: Be structured in your change management approach and ensure that planning and strategy development take place in collaboration with the project team. By asking important change-management-oriented questions early on—such as, Who is being impacted by this change? How will their jobs be different? What role does adoption and usage play in the success of the change?—you can position change management and help provide clarity on the scope of the change management challenge at hand.


4. Direction on how to integrate

The details of how to integrate was identified by respondents as the fourth most pressing issue when it comes to integrating project management and change management. The focus was on what tools and processes to combine, making change management part of the project plan and charter, maintaining transparency and access to information, building roadmaps, and creating collaborative teams to include both change management and project management practitioners. Respondents also expressed open communication between project management and change management to enhance integration as an important need (learn more about the four dimensions of integration here).

Tip: Provide specific, concrete opportunities for integration. This begins by gaining foundational knowledge and insights into your organization's project management processes. Encourage project managers to do the same for change management. Understand the function of not only the change practitioner's tools, but also the project manager's tools. Then, you can identify connections, overlaps and similarities between the project management process and the change management methodology, which will uncover opportunities to integrate. 


5. Role definition and clarity

According to the respondents, project management is sometimes considered change management or change management is sometimes considered project management in their organizations. There is a common struggle when it comes to defining, clarifying, and enforcing the roles of change management and project management. This includes separating the role of the change leader from the project leader.

In addition to role confusion, there were also instances of an inaccurate or incomplete definition of change management. In some cases, change management is only viewed as communications or training. Some respondents even said that project teams perceive change management's role as "damage control." Clarity around who should follow up with stakeholders and who should take accountability for project outcomes were also an obstacle.

Tip: Be preemptive about defining and clarifying roles. Identify activities that might result in overlap when it comes to which role carries out which task and discuss these activities up front with the project team. Also, keep in mind what appeals to project teams while you work to define the roles. To avoid a misunderstanding that the role of the change practitioner is to carry out overhead activities, busy work, or "damage control," give examples of how the tasks done by the change practitioner are equally concrete and purposeful as those done by the project team. One short example could go something like this: "The change practitioner completes risk assessments, works with sponsors and directs activities to help plan for, manage and ensure the successful adoption and utilization of the change by impacted groups." These types of examples will help to legitimize, define and clarify the role of the change practitioner while differentiating it from the role of the project team.



As you begin or continue the push to integrate change management and project management in your organization, you might come across one or more of these pressing issues identified in the 520 responses from webinar attendees in the last year. Together, these needs show just how important it is to recognize and communicate that change management is intrinsically and inextricably tied to the realization of organizational results and outcomes, as is project management.  

To learn more about integrating change management and project management, check out these tutorials:


Want to demonstrate to your project teams and employees that your organization values change management as a critical and essential component of change efforts? Learn how you can adopt Prosci's change management approach as the standard in your organization.

Prosci offers enterprise site licenses that allow you to leverage Prosci's world-leading research and methodologies in your organization. With enterprise site licenses, you are able to customize Prosci's processes and tools to fit your organization, integrate Prosci's models into existing processes and project management approaches, translate tools and materials into multiple languages, lower the cost of training delivery and truly build your organization's change management capabilities and competencies..

Contact a Prosci Account Manager at +1-970-203-9332 or changemanagement(at)prosci(dot)com to discuss your change management needs and how Prosci's research-based, holistic, easy-to-use solutions can work for you.







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Offerings for applying Prosci's change management methodologies:


  • Prosci's site licenses are a great solution for building change management capabilities and competencies throughout your organization. With a site license, you can customize and integrate Prosci's world-leading research and methodologies to fit your organization and begin building the individual competencies necessary for true change capability. Contact a Prosci Account Manager at +1-970-203-9332 or to discuss your change management needs and how Prosci's research-based, holistic, easy-to-use solutions can work for you.


  • Change management certification ($2800)- attend Prosci's 3-day certification program where you bring your own current change project to the session and learn to use Prosci's tools through practical application - taught by former fortune 500 executives at locations across the US - includes over $1000 in products, including the Best Practices in Change Management benchmarking report, the Change Management Toolkit and the Change Management Pilot Pro 2012
  • Train-the-trainer ($3500) - learn how to teach Prosci change management training programs in your organization
  • Onsite training - bring Prosci to your location for 3-day certification programs, 4-6 hour executive briefings, 1-day manager programs or 1-day employee programs - call +1-970-203-9332 for more information

Methodology tools:

  • Change Management Toolkit ($389) - hardcopy 3-ring binder presenting the Prosci Change Management Methodology, includes templates, checklists and assessments for managing the people side of change (includes USB)
  • Change Management Pilot Pro 2012 ($489) - online tool including the Prosci Change Management Methodology, eLearning modules and downloadable templates, assessments, presentations and checklists
  • Change Management Guide for Managers and Supervisors ($209) - tools to help supervisors engage and coach their direct reports through change
  • PCT Analyzer ($149/$349) - web-based tool for collecting PCT Assessment data, analyzing results, identifying risks and developing action steps

References and books:

  • Best Practices in Change Management benchmarking report ($289 / quantity discounts available) - journal-style report with lessons learned and best practices from 650 participants, presented in an easy-to-use format - reads as a checklist of what to do and what not to do
  • Change Management: the people side of change ($18.95 / quantity discounts available) - a primer for anyone involved in organizational change that addresses why manage change, individual change management and organizational change management
  • ADKAR: a model for change ($18.95 / quantity discounts available) - the definitive work on the Prosci ADKAR® Model
  • Employee's Survival Guide to Change ($14.95 / quantity discounts available) - a handbook to help employees survive and thrive during change, answers frequently asked questions and empowers employees to take charge of change



*** Prosci also offers leadership packages - groupings of products at discounts that offer you some of the most helpful and common combinations of Prosci change management resources



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