Back to Basics: Keeping it Simple

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.jordan@roffensian.com. Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

I am currently working with a group of people who have never been exposed to any form of project management at work. It’s a very highly regulated, very operationally focused group where the people tend to have very long tenure, and consequently low turnover. They are now faced with a huge business and systems transformation initiative. They find themselves having to work on a series of items that are part of a huge program involving many hundreds of people.

This is an intimidating change for them. While it is important that they are able to work within the project structure that is being applied to the program, it is also vital to help them understand that without feeling that everything that they know is changing, that will simply result in them being confused and disengaged. So how do we manage team members who have absolutely no experience or understanding of project work?

It’s all about context
The first step, and by far the most important, is to remove the fear of the unknown and provide a familiar context to the work that is being done. The reason why these people are involved in the program is because of the specialist skills that they have. Those skills are generally applied in an operational setting rather than a project one, but the skills themselves are unchanged. It’s vitally important for the team members to understand that because it…

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