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IT organizations generally pride themselves on their ability to embrace change. Their project execution methodologies are built around an assumed ability to rapidly identify, respond, and adapt to change.
PMOs establish standardized development lifecycles and a comprehensive governance process for change management.
The Agile framework along with its variations and flavors acknowledge change as a fact of life. Rather than seeing change as a nuisance or a risk to be avoided, agile PM and SDLC models offer a specific methodology and tools to be successful in a shifting environment.
Even traditional waterfall approaches acknowledge the need for controlled governance related to change management. Standardized practices such as Lessons Learned, Post-Mortems, Issue Management, Continuous Improvement, or a formal Change Control process all revolve around the basic concepts for dealing with change:
- know your current state or expected scenario
- identify the deviation
- evaluate the impact
- define the future state or new scenario
- make the change
- analyze the results
- repeat as necessary
These methodologies provide valuable, step-by-step instructions to practitioners.
But simply following the steps or implementing specific processes does not ensure buy-in throughout the organization. Beyond the methodology and processes, there are less tangible aspects which need to be addressed to produce the desired results.
Dissent is natural. Universal, undisputed acceptance is unlikely. Therefore, don’t expect everyone to just fall in line and be their usual, enthusiastic, productive selves in this new reality. There will surely be a few who push back on the change and are vocal about it.
But it’s a mistake to equate this resistance to not being “a team player.” Getting naysayers on your side will allow you to harness their outspokenness, channel their energy, and create a collaborative environment which will ultimately benefit the endeavour.
Fast buy-in for any endeavor, but especially for technology projects, depends on winning the hearts and minds of those most impacted by the change.
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