Change Management for Project and Programme Management Professionals

Publised On: Sep 03, 2020

Change management (abbreviated as CM by some) is concerned with preparing, supporting, and guiding individuals and organisations in bringing about organisational change (aka organisational transformation).

Change Management is relatively new filed of study having its roots in understating of human behaviours. Lately it has emerged as a field of management science which relates to the ever changing corporate world and the need to transform for individuals and businesses to survive, if not thrive.

Most of the project management professionals would immediately open up their change logs when Change Management is spoken about. However, it is important to understand that Change Management is not Change Control (a project management practice). Projects deliver tangible outputs (new systems, new facility, etc) while change management is more concerned with the change that projects and programmes will bring about (new process, new way of working, etc). Here it will be wise to revisit commonly accepted definitions of project, programme and programme management:

Programme:

  • A temporary, flexible organization created to coordinate, direct and oversee the implementation of a set of related projects and activities in order to delver outcomes and benefits related to organization’s strategic objectives.

Project:

  • A temporary organisation that is created for the purpose of delivering one or more business outputs according to a specified Business Case.

Programme Management

  • The coordinated organisation, direction and implementation of a related projects and transformation activities (i.e. the programme) to achieve outcomes and realise benefits of strategic importance.

As one can see, projects deliver outputs and programmes deliver outcomes which help realize the benefits. More so often, the benefit(s) is/ are achieved though some form of change brought about. 

While programme management is concerned with change (as per Managing Successful Programmes (MSP) definition) it still is not change management in itself. Programmes can be vision led, emergent and compliance based while change is either requirements lead or benefits lead. Again, programmes are concerned with outcomes which help realize benefits. So, whey project or programme management is still not change management? 

Answer is simple, programmes will deliver the outcomes that will bring about the change, programmes themselves do not deliver change. However, people who are impacted by the change are pretty much not the concern of programme management. It is change management that actually addresses the human side of things in a change that has been brought about by programmes. 

So just to summarize it all:

Change management:

  • Puts focus on people
  • Manages the impact of change resulting from organizational or project/ programme delivery

Project & Programme management:

  • Focus on processes (sometimes technical) and systems
  • Manages the activities of a projects/ initiatives to meet specific goals and business objectives

In essence, project and programme management complement change management by facilitating the management of activities within the change management itself. 

Perhaps some formal Project management and programme management trainings will help clarify these concepts more. Why not look at Tecknologia's portfolio of trainings and select your next training today!