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Project Manager : April May 2011
Project Manager 34 1. PROblem SOlveRS This is a classic case of the high cost of not managing the people side of change successfully. Greatest challenge Lack of effective change leadership has caused resistance and delays, which have the double whammy effect of reducing the final benefits realised and increasing the project investment costs. The staff turnover in the project team will increase recruitment and training costs. The temptation is to call in a team development expert to ‘fix’ the project team’s morale. But I would take a different approach. Methodology I would start with the number one success factor for change – executive leadership/ sponsorship. Find out who the senior executive accountable for this project is and: • If they have the authority to mandate change throughout the organisation; • What their views are on how the project is tracking and the reasons for resistance; and • Their motivation for leading this project. How active is the sponsor in building commitment among key executives and their direct managers? Or have they delegated this to the project manager? I would then meet with the sponsor, and/or my direct manager, and review the risks to the project’s success and expected outcomes of not acting on these issues. I would develop a change QYou have just been brought in on a project that is implementing organisational change. There are pockets of resistance within the organisation, including the project team. As a result, the project is behind schedule and several key team members have quit, plummeting the morale of the rest of the team who fear they will have to do the extra work without compensation. How would your approach to people management change under the conditions described in the scenario? CathErinE SMithSon Managing Director, Being human «sometImes resIstance canbea ratIonal reactIon to a poorly conceIved or tImed change» ChanGE ManaGEMEnt wE pUt A DIffICULt ChANgE MANAgEMENt pRobLEM to thREE ExpERtS management plan together, which involves key leaders as the drivers of this project, to ensure the right people deliver the right messages. Sometimes, a rethink of the project itself is needed, as resistance can be a rational reaction to a poorly conceived or timed change.
June July 2011