Changing the Enterprise: The Right Way

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

Anyone who has been a project manager for a while will have run into an organizational change management project and has likely experienced some of the unique challenges that they present. We all know that there is no such thing as an easy project, but making fundamental changes to the company, department, agency, etc., in which we work presents a whole new set of potential pitfalls.

For a start, it can instantly turn project managers into the “enemy”. People are naturally resistant to change, and when we talk about restructuring or reorganizing within our own environment we are assumed to be leading up to job losses. Even when this isn’t the case, the assumption is, “Well, they would say that.”

Ultimately though, these are “just” communication and leadership issues--not simple, but manageable with skills and experience. I have seen some much more fundamental issues with this type of project, starting with the project scope.

What exactly are we changing?
I’m always slightly surprised by how many of these projects start with the question, “What are we going to change?” The starting point is seen as identifying what we can’t live with, and how to change it. That always strikes me as a very shortsighted approach--looking at today’s problems and just trying to ease them is not the same as …

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If you can't convince them, confuse them.

- Harry Truman