Change Is the Norm

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.

I’m guessing most of you know how to drive a car.  When you’re driving you are constantly monitoring your surroundings — noting what is both immediately ahead and further in the distance, checking your rear and side view mirrors, monitoring the dashboard and looking at what is around you. Based on all of those varied and continuous inputs, you then make a series of small scale adjustments to the vehicle —speeding up or slowing down, steering, etc. This is the only way we can drive our cars safely.

If we stick to a traditional approach to change management we will simply drive our projects off the road, failing to achieve the benefits expected, possibly creating collateral damage to other initiatives and falling short of the expected return on investment.

When we are focusing our projects on delivering to benefits we need to take the same approach. Much like our car is affected by the environment it is in — bends in the road, other traffic and pedestrians, etc. — the ability to achieve benefits is impacted by our own circumstances, the actions of our competitors and suppliers, the requirements of regulators and so forth.

Historically projects were about delivering outcomes — products, services, systems — but that is an increasingly outdated notion. It created the potential for projects to be so focused on the ‘…

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"Life is but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard of no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

- William Shakespeare

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