I see a lot of safety projects fail because health and safety managers have placed all their focus on the technical side of a project, and almost completely ignored the people side expecting people to ‘just comply’.

As a result, we end up with a shiny new piece of equipment or software that nobody uses, or a folder full of beautifully written and overly detailed health and safety procedures that aren’t worth a pinch of salt because nobody can understand them – if they even knew they existed.

I thought I’d do a short article on the difference between Project Management and Change Management in the hope that it draws people’s attention to the very important but often overlooked people side of safety projects.

So, what is the difference between project management and change management?

Let’s start with defining what a project is.

The Project Management Institute defines a project as a temporary endeavour undertaken to create a unique product or service

What is Project Management?

What is a Project?

And what is change?

Prosci defines change as being a movement out of a current state (how things are today), through a transition state, and to a future state (how things will be done)

What is Change Management?

What is a Change?

It includes things like:

  • Moving from an ad hoc approach to managing something, to a formally documented and systematic approach
  • Organisational restructuring
  • Introducing new plant and equipment in to the manufacturing processes
  • Introducing new IT products such as computers and software to an organisation

Project management is the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project activities to meet the project requirements.

While Change Management is the process, tools and techniques to manage the people side of change to achieve the required business results.

Project Management versus Change Management

Project Management versus Change Management

Project management deals with the technical side of this, relating to the designing, developing and delivering of a product or service.

While change management deals with the people side, relating to the embracing, adopting and using of the product or service by the intended users.


Project Management vs Change Management graphic

Project Management is the technical side, while Change Management is the people side of a project

So to put it simply, when you combine project management with change management, you design, develop and deliver a product or service that is embraced, adopted and used by its intended user.

Project Management vs Change Management graphic 2


Check out the video version of this article on Change Management versus Project Management…