Project Management

Change Management & Project Management: 2 Sides of the Same Coin

Michael R. Wood is a Business Process Improvement & IT Strategist Independent Consultant. He is creator of the business process-improvement methodology called HELIX and founder of The Natural Intelligence Group, a strategy, process improvement and technology consulting company. He is also a CPA, has served as an Adjunct Professor in Pepperdine's Management MBA program, an Associate Professor at California Lutheran University, and on the boards of numerous professional organizations. Mr. Wood is a sought after presenter of HELIX workshops and seminars in both the U.S. and Europe.

There seems to be two camps when it comes to the subject of change management. The first camp is those who view change management from an organizational perspective. The other camp views change management through the lens of project management.

From where I stand, I see these two ways of thinking about change management as two sides of the same coin. Organizational change usually takes the form of projects and initiatives that are focused on moving some or all of an organization to a new state, a new way of doing or being. Both viewpoints require a process, both require assessing how the change will impact those affected, both require effective communication strategies and plans, both require sensitivity to the culture, etc.

The biggest difference appears that organizational change initiatives are usually driven by the human resources, while project-related initiatives are usually driven by the PMO.

Ironically, when human resources is driving a change initiative, it usually breaks the process into phases, each having its milestones and each having its tasks. (Kind of sounds like a basket of projects…)

The truth is that any time material changes are made to the way an organization does business, processes information or even structurally organizes itself, it’s the people, processes and systems that are typically impacted. The bigger the impact, the …


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"We cling to our own point of view, as though everything depended on it. Yet our opinions have no permanence; like autumn and winter, they gradually pass away."

- ChuangTzu