Good Change vs. Bad Change

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting Inc., an Ontario, Canada-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.

A couple of years back, I did some research on annual planning in different organizations. The results turned out really well, with some clear differences between high-performing organizations and those that were struggling.

However, one area where I didn’t see the differences I expected was in project change. The results of the research showed a fairly small difference in the percentage of strategic projects that were subjected to significant change between strong and less-strong organizations. As you can probably guess, I was expecting better performing organizations to have lower levels of change because they were better at selecting the right projects in the first place, and then delivering on them.

However, as I looked further at the results of the research, I did see some significant differences—not in the amount of change, but in the drivers of that change. That’s what I want to explore in this article.

The need for change in strategic projects
It’s important to overcome any perception that change is bad, especially in strategic initiatives. By their very nature, strategic projects tend to be larger and wider ranging than most, which increases the potential for change being necessary.

Further, they are the projects that are the focus of annual planning exercises and may be approved 18 …

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