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The important relationship between CM and PM

From talking with our clients, it is a well-established view that project management and change management compliment each other – each playing a critical role in the success of a business transformation.

We see many project managers who have enhanced their skills with change management training and experience – making them valuable resources for transformational projects. As we know, successful business change is achieved when the people, process and technology aspects of a project are planned and managed well into the “embedding” stage. This requires a combination of talents and skills.

A recent article published by George Pitagorsky, author of the The Zen Approach to Project Management and PM Basics, supported this view when he reported that project managers, to be effective, must be competent change managers.

Having said this, in complex projects, it is not enough for the project managers to have an awareness and understanding of change management. Effective and long-lasting cultural and behavioural change – which are essential success measures of large scale organisational change – require the expertise of qualified or experienced change managers. Together with project managers they can map out a plan that identifies key project and change milestones and deliver project activities in a way that optimises the chances of success.

Pitagorsky says that often, projects to introduce new or changed products or processes or to put on an event are planned without appropriately considering the change that the project result will cause in its environment.

“In an unhealthy situation, and I have seen and heard of many, there may be nothing more than lip service regarding the implementation and the change it implies. Sometimes business leadership and IT leadership as well, act as if they believe that there is some magical process that will cause the new system to appear and be immediately integrated into the existing environment.”

An article published in the last week by South African Johan Viljoen, principal analyst, Ovations, highlights similar concerns.

“Some of the biggest mistakes a business can make when implementing change is failure to be directly involved with the project, a lack of engagement with all levels of management, not providing adequate resources, and failure to correctly communicate with stakeholders,” says Viljoen.

“Change management ensures these issues are raised and corrected, allowing employees to understand the reasons for transformation, while project management executes vital operational tasks.”

“True change management should be viewed as the conscience of the project – its goal is to ensure that people’s needs are taken into account and managed during a transition from current to desired state.”

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