Why Project Managers and Change Managers have more in common than you think

change leadership change management organisational change project management stakeholder engagement stakeholder management Jul 26, 2022
Lata in front of green trees laughing with shadow on face; text: Why PMs and CMs have more in common than you think

There's an infinite number of blog posts, articles and opinion pieces about the difference between Project Management and Change Management.

In a nutshell, Project Management is focused on delivery of the "thing" (be it a new process, system, product, service, team structure etc) by managing scope, budget, time and quality to realise the business case.

Change Management is focused on helping people feel informed, inspired, confident, and ready to understand, adopt, use and embed that "thing" to realise the business benefits. 


But there's something that connects both Project Managers and Change Managers and I think all the Project vs Change discussions neglect this point: stakeholder engagement. 




It's essential that Project Managers engage not only business stakeholders who need to be involved in designing and signing off their solution, but also their OWN project team to deliver it. Without it, they'll often struggle to get people to attend workshops and sessions, to make decisions in a clear, timely and efficient manner, and manage resources and their own energy effectively.

PMs do sometimes forget about the teams that are actually going to use the solution... but that's sort of where Change Managers shine and step up to the plate - we got your back :)


But regardless, CMs are also super focused on business stakeholders and getting them onboard to make the solution land better and last into the future. 


So I've definitely worked on projects where the line has been blurred: who's going to do stakeholder engagement? The PM or the CM?


The most effective approach in my experience has been to work together and partner, to show a united front and to tag team for important sessions and briefings, workshops and trainings. To respect and honour what the other does, to try to understand and support each other's goals and outcomes, and to learn from and build from each other, too.


The reason for engagement is different - PMs want participation and CMs want adoption. But nevertheless, there's more in common than we tend to think. 




It reminds me of an interdependent relationship.


  • An independent relationship is when two people live pretty separate lives.
  • A co-dependent relationship is when two people live over-connected lives.
  • And an interdependent relationship is where there's some things the two do together, and some they do separately.


Sort of like how a PM and CM can work together :D


PM and CM isn't a battle - it's a dance and the music is stakeholder engagement!


If you're a Change Manager, Project Manager or anyone else involved in leading or supporting teams through change and you'd like to learn how to do Change Management better, come along to my free Change Tools Masterclass that's coming up:


CLICK HERE to register your free spot on my Change Tools Masterclass


Lata xx

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