Separate Project & Change Manager?

Do projects need a separate project manager and change manager to be successful?

It’s a critical question for project planning & budgeting and to come up with the right answer a number of factors need to be considered.

For small projects it typically doesn’t make sense to separate the roles. The economic benefits obtained from combining the role into one resource outweigh the benefits from specialization.

Even large projects where the change is relatively straight forward will probably have little need for a change manager. But then a change manager may be warranted on a small project where a lot of change in behaviour or complex user adoption is required.

The project and change managers are different roles that require different skills. A project manager’s key responsibility is to ensure that the project is delivered as per the scope on time and on budget. This requires advanced organizational skills. The change manager’s key responsibility is to ensure that the solution is usable and adopted. This requires intuition and a keen sense of the working environment. Separating the roles provides focus & accountability and generates maximum benefit from specialist skills.

Stakeholder management is one area where the roles may vary depending on the resources at hand. An experienced project manager may be able to easily transition from detailed task management to negotiation & issue resolution with senior stakeholders. In this case the change role can be relatively junior with a focus on the training program and communication planning. Alternatively a highly experienced change manager should be able to manage all interactions with senior stakeholders with the project manager becoming more administrative.

The Intellilink Team