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Project Manager : Project Manager Aug Sep 2011
38 Project Manager In the event of organisational change, project managers weave their way through an obstacle course of challenges. BY NEIL TIMMINS, MAIPM CPPD When I started in project management 20-odd years ago there weren’t projects, just schemes . Not entirely true, I know, but my first role was in a Railway Schemes Development Office where all initiatives in pipeline, in plan or in train (excuse the pun) were indeed called ‘schemes ’. I used to describe project managers dealing with major organisational change, such as a merger o r instatement of a new CEO, as ‘scheme weavers ’. Agile and quick to react, the scheme weaver can mano euvre their way through a virtual obstacle course of challenges created by the change event. While these challenges are generally a consequence of disruption, I believe there are other significant issues that make change management much harder than it should be. Late engagement of project managers More often than not when I start a new assignment, the project is already in a distressed state. We may need to be more creative in demonstrating the connection between earlier engagement of a project/change manager and quantifiable business benefits. A way to do this is by segmenting projects into work packages, with outcomes clearly defined along with the commercial benefit. This makes it possible for a sponsor, or CAREER CENTRE The scheme weaver other key stakeholders, to quickly authorise decisions during the already chaotic change event so the project can maintain momentum. The longer the project timeline, the larger the exposure to an unforeseen change event. Setting up a project for success by engaging project/change managers early should be a mantra for business executives. Distancing of the PMO I had high expectations when Project Management Offices (PMOs) became more prevalent in the late nineties and early noughties. PMOs were to sell the value of project management to the business community and be champions of the project manager. Independent and empowered to solve problems at any organisational level, they would assist effective project delivery. Neil Timmins is a Certified Practicing Project Director with more than 20 years program and project management experience across a number of industries. He holds a Master of Science in Management and has been awarded an Advanced Diploma in Project Management. THINKSTOCK
June July 2011
Project Manager Oct Nov 2011