One aspect of change that everyone knows about is communication. Change usually requires preparing people, managing expectations, explaining what’s happening and why’s it’s happening, building coalitions and consensus and encouraging involvement. All of these are based on communicating between people.
Change management isn’t just communicating, but it’s a very big element of it.
This might seem an odd title for an article by someone who makes their living building change capabilities in organisations, and who spends a lot of time talking about, thinking about and working with Change Management.
The point I want to emphasis is not that Change Management is no thing or nothing, it is quite definitely something! It is not a thing, because it is many things.
A contentious title? Some people may disagree with my thoughts here - let’s see if we can generate a good debate.
A lot of commentators bemoan the lack of flexible working in many organisations. Most of us, at least some of the time, want a degree of flexible working. By “flexible working” I mean the freedom to choose where and when to work. This covers a spectrum from the odd Friday worked at home, through to those modern global citizens who base themselves in some desirable beach location and in between bouts of surfing work as and when they want.
There’s a common behaviour when programme managers act as “big” project managers. This builds on the view that a programme is just a big project. There’s no doubt that many good project managers go on to become good programme managers – but it is not a given.
Sometimes very good project managers go on to become terrible programme managers. Having been such good project managers, they assume that becoming a successful programme manager means doing more of the same.
I want to return to the topic of my last post, prioritisation, and I’m going to extend some of the thinking from it.
I briefly highlight this point to raise one of the major challenges with prioritisation. It is not the activity deciding of what you are going to do, but the decision not to do something. These may simply seem to be the inverse of each other. Perhaps. But psychologically it seems easier to say “yes I’ll do this”, than “no I will not do that”.
If you are the sort of person who follows my posts, here or elsewhere, the chances are that you are interested in organisational change. The chances are also fairly high that you have been involved in several change initiatives. I expect that at many times your organisation has struggled with change.
I feel confident enough to say, if you have never struggled with change, then that’s because you have never been involved in a change of any complexity.
Predominantly, I have published business books. If you follow me or are a friend on Goodreads you’ll see that my interests in reading and writing are much wider. Business books are part of my professional life and how I earn a living. Whether I always like them or not, reading business books is part of the day job for me.
As an author I occasionally write a post for Goodreads. Most of my blogs and posts go on my own website (www.changinghats.co.uk) or on LinkedIn. I don’t include them here as they are mainly about business and professional matters which may be of limited interest to the wider audience of readers on Goodreads. However, occasionally a topic comes up which crosses between then – in this case about professional writing, more specifically swearing in professional writing.
I’ve been interested for a long time in the relationships and differences between delivery and change. One way of exploring this is in the relationships and differences between project and change managers, a subject that always seems to generate a 100 different views from 100 different commentators. In this post I want to look at one specific aspect of that difference – working out the scope of an initiative.
Scope is a fundamental concept in the delivery of projects and change. Scope can seem a pretty simple concept to gets ones head around. I think scope has different meanings depending on the role one performs.
A couple of years ago I started looking for a way to help more people gain an understanding of project management. Not everyone wants to buy one of my books, and seminars have a limited number of places. A contact in the publishing industry had the great idea of connecting me up with Totem Learning. Totem Learning are a leading, award winning developer of simulations and serious games, (see www.totemlearning.com). It was a great relationship to build, and some months later the result of our join work was Unlock: Project Management.
I was in a conversation a few days ago, and I was reminded about an old phrase my grandfather used to say: look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves. (I’m sure there is an equivalent phrase for other currencies).
I thought about this phrase sometime after listening to a speaker talking about the way they ran projects. They were strongly espousing a view that we should worry more about delivery and less about deliverables.
I want to talk about some words – specific words, but in order to do this I’m going to start with a big generalisation.
The important thing about words is that they have meanings. Because words have meanings we are able to communicate about all sorts of objects, ideas, concepts and whatever other entities, things or stuff we want to talk about.
What makes successful project managers?
I have been interested in the way the best project managers think and behave for a long time. Back in 2005 I wrote the first edition of my first book The Project Manager, Mastering the Art of Delivery. The genesis of this book was an observation made from roles I had running large teams of project managers. The observation? There is limited correlation between how well qualified someone is as a project manager, and how good they are at project management.
As its coming into the summer break for many of my regular readers, I thought I would write on something different.
What seems like a very long time ago, I studied for degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Economics. I have never worked as an engineer or an economist. Much of what I learnt has been discarded to the dim recesses of my mind. But this does not mean studying was in vain. The approaches from each discipline still influence my way of thinking. I think this is more useful than any specific facts or ideas from studying a subject.