Project managers are seeing their roles evolve to include that of change manager. This shouldn’t surprise anyone as the function of both of these roles are similar - to ensure that a project delivers on its goals. Tim Creasey at change management solutions company, Procsi, notes that the distinguishing difference between these two disciplines is that project management focuses on the technical side of a project while change management focuses on the people. Both roles are necessary to the successful delivery of a project.

This is why more organizations are expecting project managers to handle the role of change managers. Change in a project is inevitable. If a project manager can guide his teams through project change, the project has a better chance of meeting deliverables. Chaos ensues when processes and people clash on how to best work through change. With a project manager that is also responsible for managing change, he or she can better ensure that there is symmetry between these two areas in the face of change.

To become successful change managers, George Pitagorsky, PMP, advises project managers to become resilient leaders who can keep stakeholders calm in the face of change. He goes on to suggest following some of these guidelines for championing change:

  • Set rational expectations and manage them throughout the project. 
  • Acknowledge that any plan is subject to change. 
  • Manage risk to identify, assess, plan for and control predictable change events. 
  • Communicate regularly with stakeholders about expected changes and change management plans. 

As Creasey notes, these two disciplines are “complementary disciplines with a common objective,” which is why it makes logical sense to integrate the two roles in an organization. A skilled and effective project manager should be able to handle both aspects of change - the processes and the people. Project managers can easily adopt the role of change manager by making sure team members are informed of what is going on, and finding ways to get full support from those team members for change initiatives.

Though the roles and goals of each discipline are very different, they can work together harmoniously to ensure a project runs smoothly in the face of change. And a project manager who can undertake both roles will be more effective and successful at ensuring project delivery.

Questions or comments? Feel free to leave them below!

About the Author: Bonnie McDonald creates copy that speaks to audiences and inspires them to act. She is a marketing professional with over 10 years of experience serving various B2B and B2C industries. Along her professional journey, she discovered a passion for writing, which has guided her down her path to content marketing and writing copy. She believes in the power of content and endeavors to create copy that drives business.

Online 2/26/2018
Updated on: