To research an answer I started with an examination of the Project Management Book of Knowledge (PMBOK). The PMBOK is a great place to gather and research Project Management. Trying to keep this high level, I gathered the definitions of the higher level processes and knowledge areas.

The PMBOK has Five Process Groups

These identify and define the primary steps required to manage a process

  1. Initiating
  2. Planning
  3. Executing
  4. Monitoring and Controlling
  5. Closing

The PMBOK also provides Ten Knowledge Areas

They are used to make a project successful:

  1. Project Integration Management
  2. Project Scope Management
  3. Project Time Management
  4. Project Cost Management
  5. Project Quality Management
  6. Project Human Resource Management
  7. Project Communications Management
  8. Project Risk Management
  9. Project Procurement Management
  10. Project Stakeholders Management

Kotter’s Eight Stage Process

I then looked at Kotter’s Eight Stage process to organizational change. Published in 1996 they act as a starting point to comparison the process steps. Kotter’s 8 stage process is widely used by organisations implementing large scale change.

  1. Establishing a sense of urgency
  2. Creating the guiding coalition
  3. Develop a vision and strategy
  4. Communicating the change vision
  5. Empowering broad-based change
  6. Generating short-term wins
  7. Consolidating gains and producing more change
  8. Anchoring new approaches in the culture

I then took Kotter’s 8 stages and attempted to align them to the PMBOK Five process groups and the Ten knowledge area

Here is how I imagined they would align:

Kotter PMBOK
Establishing a sense of urgency Process Initiating; Knowledge Communications
Creating the guiding coalition Process Initiating; Knowledge Stakeholder
Develop a vision and strategy Process all five; Knowledge Communications, Stakeholder
Communicating the change vision Process all five; Knowledge Communications
Empowering broad-based change Process all five; Knowledge Communications/Stakeholders
Generating short-term wins Process Planning/Executing; Knowledge Human Resources/Communications/Stakeholders
Consolidating gains and producing more change Process Closing
Anchoring new approaches in the culture Process Closing

Evaluating the alignment, I asked myself...

  • Is there more that can be added to the PMBOK processes?
  • Is there more that could be added to Kotter’s 8 stages?
  • Is there anything missing from the PMBOK process or Kotter’s 8 stages?

Kotter’s steps 1 through 6 nicely align with the PMBOK process groups and knowledge area. However Kotter’s step 7 and 8 do not align as easily. My assumption around this misalignment is due to Project Management processes having a very clear beginning and end - a project starts and a project stops.

Kotter’s organisational change has a beginning, but in practice, organisational change does not always have a clear ending. Kotter points out that with organisational change there is an on going process required to keep the change in place in the organisation.

The Change Management process can be used to implement an organisational change, however you must implement the additional stages beyond Project Management for a sustainable organisational change.Kotter’s stages 7 and 8 are designed to set the stage for the next organisational change and provide a sustaining process to ensure change remains within the organisation. These last two steps in Kotter’s stages push the boundaries of Project Closing and you do not see a clean closure that the PMBOK processes discuss.

Learrn more about the Project Management Book of Knowledge.

Do you want to know more about how you can implement successful change in your organisation? -
contact us today.