Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Change and people without choice

Projects are not static entities residing in a never changing environment. 
As a matter of fact, they are more similar to growing organisms that must adapt to a changing habitat to survive and thrive. So we do not have to fear changes.
Changes are right, changes are good, changes work. 
What we really have to be scared about are unnecessary and/or uncontrolled changes. These are real dangers, the agents that could doom your project transforming it from an honeymoon with your stakeholders to a never ending hellish journey. 
So it is mandatory that a sound and effective change management strategy be in place and be followed by project managers and project management team members throughout the project execution. 
An important aspect of change is obviously communication and I would like to focus on communication between the project manager, or the project management team members, and the people who will be passively affected by the change without being able to do anything about it. I am talking about the less important stakeholders of the project, those who can exercise just little influence on constraints or objective, those who haven't much power or simply are not much involved in the project. 
Probably in a perfect world this should not happen but I have witnessed some of this circumstances and I have learned what I think is an important lesson. 

You have to take good care in communicating changes to these stakeholders and never base your communication strategy on the assumption that they will agree with the change or that they will be prone to accept it just because they cannot avoid it. 

So it is important that you start with the right foot here and I think that the right foot to start with is explain WHY a change is necessary, followed by HOW you and your team will take care of the change and finally WHAT is the change. 

I suggest you not to do it the other way round. 
People are more prone to accept and listen your point of view if it is well motivated, moreover in this way you will be able to prove that a change is ineluctable before generating any kind of resistance in your audience. 
In this way you are not commanding your stakeholders but you are sharing your project insight with them, you are showing concern for their role in the project and you are managing their expectations. What a project manager should always do.
You are now proposing a solution, not a problem. 

I suggest you to view this presentation by Simon Sinek about starting communication with why. I found it extremely interesting and inspiring. It is a video more or less 20 minutes long but I think is worth to be viewed.

Another important wisdom is to show data that explain accurately the WHAT part of your communication. 

It is not enough to talk with people, you also have to sustain your point of view with facts and prove that everything is under control. People are usually more afraid of the unknown than they are of changes, I have found.

Licenza Creative Commons
Quest' opera รจ distribuita con licenza Creative Commons Attribuzione - Non commerciale - Non opere derivate 3.0 Unported.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Your comments and feedbacks are welcome