Archive for the ‘Bobby Dash’ Tag

The Softer Side of Change Management

A wise man once said, “The only constant thing, in this constantly changing world, is change

Change is a fact of corporate life.  Especially in IT projects, Change is inevitable in successfully enabling the goals and deliverables of the Business.  Therefore, all projects must adopt a process for Change Management.  While there is plenty of documentation, white papers, best practices and guides on this topic, most of them seem to ignore the softer side of successfully executing the process steps around the complex inner workings of today’s corporate environments.  With globalization coupled with large enterprise scale projects, the softer side is ever more critical for success.

Here are some lessons learned from the trenches:
(1) Value Proposition
Both acceptance and resistance to change will propagate, either formally in meetings or informally at the water cooler chats.  Document and communicate the business value of following a structured Change Management Process.  This will help everyone involved with the process to understand the purpose, objectives and benefits.  When communicating the value, make an effort to understand any concerns that are raised.  Create an atmosphere of trust.  Invite questions and answer them completely and honestly. For example, organize a brown-bag lunch.  Have an open-door policy where they can approach you at any time with any questions or concerns.

(2) Roles & Responsibilities
As simple as it sounds, clearly outlining the roles and responsibilities of ALL stakeholders is ever more critical for Change management.  This should include:

  • Defining each Role and Responsibility.
  • Assign each role to a qualified person.
  • Document and communicate the assignments.
  • Track & measure deliverables throughout the process.

(3) Optimize as Necessary
Many project managers lack the necessary skills and training to manage change.  Even the ones that do, they are so caught up in delivering the existing scope that managing changes often take a back seat.  Key is to provide the training & knowledge where needed.  Designate a Change Manager with the right expertise who’s job is exclusively to perform Change Management across 1 or more projects.

(4) Reward when Milestones achieved
What’s in it for me?” Provide encouragement & support for the team’s efforts when significant milestones are reached.  Project teams are more likely to embrace the change process when recognized and rewarded.

(5) Evolve or Perish
The Change Management Process works within a constantly changing business & technology environments.  Therefore, the process of change itself must evolve over time to adapt and align with the changing needs and priorities of the organization.  Conduct periodic reviews and measures for success criteria to evolve and/or fine-tune the process, tools, and templates for Change Management.

By leveraging the softer side of managing Change; we can deliver Excellence in Project Management.

Barriers to Project Success – It is about the Mindset

“Thoughts and ideas are the source of all wealth, success, material gain, all great discoveries, inventions, and achievements.”
– Mark Victor Hansen

What differentiates the outstanding Organizations with average?  What is that secret ingredient in the recipe of successful projects?  We can do everything right and by-the-book, yet we’re faced with this invisible barrier to Project success.  It is like a very clear pane of glass–so clear that we see right past it even though it is right in front of us.

This Barrier to Project Success is the “Old Mindset”.
With all the books written on Project Management, this barrier is often overlooked.  The art and science of managing projects helps deliver superior performance, however, true mastery seems to escape us.  What hurts good project managers, with good teams in good organizations is the limitations driven by an Old Mindset.  Here, the managers are doing all of the thinking, while the workers are turning the screwdrivers; the essence of management being to get the ideas out of the heads of the manager and into the hands of the team.  Focus becomes heavy on individual task completion dates and a ritual of boring status meetings, sometimes on a daily basis.  This authoritarian (Theory X) management mindset limits the team and the project as a whole.  Today’s global business is so complex in an environment that is increasingly unpredictable, fiercely competitive that survival depends on daily mobilization of every ounce of intelligence.

The central principle behind the success of the giants corporations born last 2 decades who have survived to lead into the next century is that they have embraced the power and harness collective intelligence.  Collective performance exceeds the sum of individual performances. To bring about the collective strengths of the team requires the “Managerial Mindset”

Unlocking the “Managerial Mindset”
At a young age, when I first learned about Newton’s Laws, the story I was told was that Newton was sitting under an apple tree, an apple fell on his head, and he suddenly thought of the Universal Law of Gravitation.  While this may or may not be true, it begets a question as to WHY.  So many people, and so many trees and so many falling apples, why Newton?  What is the key?  When I asked this question to my father, he said two words: “See” “Why”
There are 3 very important words that begin with a “C” and end with a “Y”.

  • Curiosity
  • Creativity
  • Community

By allowing your team members to embrace their instinctual Curiosity and sense of wonder about everyday things in our Community will provide the needed fuel for Creativity.

The Managerial Mindset can be defined as the propensity of project managers to engage in proactive behaviors in order to achieve strategic objectives.  It calls for a cross functional and cross hierarchical approach which requires delegating authority which pushes responsibility more towards the frontline where technology and customer interactions take place.

With the right mindset and the right team approach, we can deliver Excellence in Project Management.