How Change Management complements Project Management

Adedayo Ajibola

The rate of change in our society started to accelerate long before COVID-19 arrived. Even though the pandemic is not over, it is clear that the world is moving into new, unexpected and unpredictable directions, at a rate even faster than before 2020.

As businesses evolve, in a world of continuous change accompanied by an increase in projects being completed, business change management has become ever more important – a discipline that project management needs to be aware of and involved in. Project management focuses on the processes and activities needed to complete delivery and installation of systems or processes (such as a new software application) while change management focuses on the people affected by those projects and implementation of the processes (or other changes within the organization).

“For every €, £ or $ spent on change in a project, there is a 43% ROI gain (€0.43 for every €1). By contrast, projects with poor change implementation lose €0.65 for every €1 spent”:

“Change Management that Pays”, McKinsey Quarterly, 2002,

Project management teams focus primarily on fulfilling the strategic objectives of a project. Change management complements the project management process by supporting the human side – it is increasingly recognised that a project’s measure of success is significantly impacted by the way in which the desired project outcomes are achieved and additional value is realised.

Within a project stakeholders are often made up of cross functional teams and varying backgrounds, who require management through interactive two way dialogue so they can support and advocate the project and overall transformation. Without buy-in from these stakeholders or the rest of the organization, a project’s outcomes can be impeded.

Change management enables the maximum number of people to make a change, in the shortest possible time, with maximum capability, in order to deliver business benefits quicker. “Change” is people, process and (… systems). The more people are required to work differently, the more effort is needed on change management, to support them as they go through the process. It considers factors such as the individual change journey, change fatigue, adoption and reinforcing the change.

Project management and change management differ in approach, processes and tools employed but complement each other; since projects can have a significant and lasting impact on the business and its stakeholders, both disciplines are necessary when executing a project or initiative and should be employed hand in hand to ensure a project’s long-term success.

As a Change Management Facilitator Adedayo Ajibola is all about assisting businesses to help their people navigate change within the organisation. She is a certified Project and Business Change professional and founder of Horoma Limited; a management consultancy based in Reading, UK. She appreciates feedback and discussion on project and change management and can be reached at contact@horomalimited.com

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