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Episode 468: Project Management is Change Management (Free)

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The disciplines of change management and project management are both necessary when executing a project or initiative. Each discipline brings the critical structure needed for effectively implementing change and achieving the results you want.

Yet, change management and project management must work together to achieve successful change. Doing so creates a unified value proposition, which sets the foundation for tactical integration and delivers value across all aspects of the project, including both the people side and technical side.

Join Tim Creasey and Cornelius Fichtner in this livestream where they look at the basics of change management, discuss the differences and similarities to project management, and give you tips and best practices to implement change management on your projects today.

About Tim Creasey: An author, researcher, change expert and human, Tim focuses on the people side of change with process, wit and vigor. Tim’s work forms the foundation of the world’s largest body of knowledge on change management. His role as Chief Innovation Officer at Prosci gives him unparalleled insight into change management challenges, trends and futures. Having spoken to hundreds of thousands of people around the globe, Tim is authentic, knowledgeable and unassumingly funny. He enables audiences with valuable data and actionable information.

As always, we got lots of questions from the live audience.

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Episode Transcript

Below are the first few pages of the transcript. The complete transcript is available to Premium subscribers only.

Video Introduction

Cornelius Fichtner: In this episode of The Project Management Podcast™, we look at how Change Management and project management go hand in hand. After all, every project delivers a change.

Hello, and welcome back to The Project Management Podcast™ at www.pm-podcast.com. This is the live stream for Episode 468 and I’m Cornelius Fichtner. Thank you so much for joining us today. Always nice to be with you, especially live here.

And for those of you who are accessing this episode recorded and not live, please do remember that this is a video episode. So if you are only getting the audio then please do look for the “Play video episode” in your podcast app, or visit www.pm-podcast.com/468 where you can play and stream the video live from the website, or the recorded from the website.

Alright! Today’s topic is Change Management. The disciplines of change management and project management, they are both necessary when we are executing a project or an initiative. Each discipline brings the critical structure needed for effectively implementing change and achieving the results that you or rather we project managers want. Yet change management and project management, they must work together to achieve the successful change. Doing so creates a unified value proposition and that sets the foundation for tactical integration and delivers value across all aspects of the project, including both the people side and the technical side.

Video Introduction

Cornelius Fichtner: And joining us today is Tim Creasey. Together, we want to look at the basics of change management and discuss the differences and similarities to project management. Here he is in picture format and one moment, here he is in real life. Hello, Tim! Welcome to the program!

Tim Creasey: Hello, Cornelius! Thank you for having me. Excited to be here today.

Cornelius Fichtner: Yeah, of course. Now then, let me introduce you to everybody here. Let me read your bio. Tim is an author, researcher, change expert, and he focuses on the people side of change with the process, wit and vigor. Tim’s work forms the foundation of the world’s largest body of knowledge on change management. His role as Chief Innovation Officer at Prosci gives him unparalleled insight into change management challenges, trends and futures. And he has spoken to hundreds of thousands of people around the globe. We’re adding about 20,000 to that number at the moment here and enables audiences with valuable data and actionable information.

Tim, my first question for you: What makes change management exciting for you? Why do you focus on change management?

Tim Creasey: Yeah, great question around what makes it exciting. I actually arrived that this is more of a reflection. But I think this is why it is exciting to me. Jim Collins talks about his mentor, Peter Dracker, offering up this challenge. The question that we should all be trying to solve, which is how do we become more humane and more productive at the same time? Because it’s easy for an organization or a project or society to achieve one at the expense of the other. But to become more humane and more productive is the challenge. That was a big question and change management, I think uniquely threads the needle of helping us become more productive and more humane. The data tells us, we’re more productive. We are more successful in our initiatives on time, and on budget. Less risky, less hasty, and change management is a more humane way to engage our people in times of change bringing human beings to the change table. So I think that’s what excites me about change management. It threads the needle.

Cornelius Fichtner: Alright! And let’s take this over to our listeners, our viewers. What would you say they can expect to get out of our conversation here today?

Tim Creasey: Ah very good! Well, the first is I hope they see changes unlockable. Because I think most of the time we have the answers within. It’s around getting a frame to help us see the challenge as something we can unlock. So I want them to see successful change is unlockable.

I want them to have a nice foundation and footing for bringing together project management and change management. Because I know your audience really comes out of that project management profession and we are most successful when these complimentary disciplines come together to deliver on that common objective, which is more successful change. So that’s my second.

My third is turns of phrase. Because I really think words make worlds. And crisp, clear turns of phrase can help us bring shared understanding in a much faster way and so I’m going to offer, hopefully, a number of turns of phrase that will resonate with people and I’m hoping they’ll chat them in for us. If they hear a turn of phrase, they put T-O-P, capital T-O-P at the beginning and then give us one of those phrases because to me it makes if you know which of these phrases really land and help you advance your cause, and I think it’ll be a good way for us to capture a log of some of the conversation we had today. So, words make worlds and those turns of phrase that help us really bring together these ones that are going to be essential for driving more successful change outcomes.

Cornelius Fichtner: Okay! And talking about the chat, let me bring this back in here. If you have a question right now here live for Tim then please do use the chat. Yes, we will bring the chat up directly here like these ones here. We have a few people who have already joined us and who are sending us their hellos from three corners of the world probably. So if you have any questions that you want to post, Tim, then please do go ahead.

Now, this is the first time really that we hear on The Project Management Podcast do talk about change management with a change management expert. So what we’ve decided to do is we decided to lay the foundation and really talk a little bit about the basics, where are project management and change management the same? Where do they differ? Where do they have to go hand in hand? What’s the overall goal? And what we want to start with right now is definitions.

Tim, would you please introduce us to the definitions here? What is change management? What is project management at its core, at the bases?

Tim Creasey: Alright! So I’m going to give you the definition. But I met a gentleman named David Elfanbaum at a number of change conferences. And one time, he tweeted: “An ounce of context is worth a pound of isolated facts.” And so, rather than introduce the pound of isolated facts, the definition first, I want to provide some of that ounce of context.

So I’d like to think about change as a coin, which is nice because it gives us a little double entendre, right? But change is really around helping an organization move out of a current transition to get to a future state and aspire to a future state where performance is better in some way. Change always starts for a reason. And sometimes those reasons are internal. Sometimes, they are external. Sometimes, they are grounded in today. Sometimes, they are grounded in the future. And if we are successful, the project delivers objectives and the organization gets gains. So that kind of change.

And if we think about it as a coin, there’s two sides of that change coin. There’s a technical side of a coin, where we design, develop and deliver a solution that meets the needs of the issue or opportunity we have in front of us. And that’s really the domain of project management, right, managing the project activities, the trade-off of scope, time, cost, quality. That’s the domain of project management. How do we execute on designing, developing, and delivering the technical solution to meet our needs, our issues and opportunities.

The other side of the coin is the people side of change. And that’s where our employees, the people that have to do their jobs differently, engage with, adapt, and use the solution that’s being brought forward. And so, that’s the other side. The people side of the coin. And that’s the domain of change management, how we prepare equipment, support our people through the individual change journeys they experienced as a part of the organizational project that we put forward.

What I think is interesting, Cornelius, and I was listening to your interview with Mark Phillips about the afterword. And he put forward this notion that you know project management doesn’t tell us what change to make. It helps us make changes more effectively, right? Instead, there’s domains out there that tell us what change to take on. He introduced society and government, how it put forward that while the improvement disciplines organizations pick up, they tell us what change to make. Project management and change management uniquely help us make those changes more effectively and successfully almost agnostic to what the change is. And so, that’s how I would kind of define and position change management and project management.

Cornelius Fichtner: Alright! Thank you very much! Yes, and I completely agree with you. Once project management, once change management are ongoing, well, you don't have to figure out what to change that happens previously. Somebody is coming to you and telling you: ‘We have to fix this. There is a problem,’ or ‘There is a new idea. We want to drive this new idea forward.’ And that change that the project brings, change management will help implement.

Got a couple of people here from Johannesburg here saying, Cor is here and a Nomawethu is here as well. Hello to South Africa here. We got the first question coming in from Kenneth: “What's the biggest Change Management challenge you have ever faced and how in detail did you overcome it?” You want to take that on right now or you want to wait until a little later we come back to Kenneth.

Above are the first few pages of the transcript. The complete transcript is available to Premium subscribers only. Please subscribe to our Premium Podcast to receive a PDF transcript.

PDUs: Technical Project Management, Project Change Management, Change Management

  • Last updated on .
Cornelius Fichtner
Cornelius Fichtner
Cornelius Fichtner, PMP, CSM, is the host and the author at The Project Management Podcast. He has welcomed hundreds of guests and project management experts to the podcast and has helped over 60,0000 students prepare for their PMP® Exam. He has authored dozens of articles on projectmanagement.com and PM World 360. He speaks at conferences around the world about project management, agile methodology, PMOs, and Project Business. Follow him on Twitter and connect with him on LinkedIn.

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