Project Management

Redefining Project Management: The Only Real Constant is Change

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 [email protected]. Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

When I first started managing projects, PMs were not very popular. If I was working on an initiative for a particular business area, then the people in that department knew they were in for a period of disruption. They were going to be subjected to a new system, new processes or some other change in how they did business—and it would mean more stress, delays in getting their work done, and inevitable changes to the way they were used to working.

I’m not going to pretend that project managers today are universally popular, but things have certainly improved. Part of that is as a result of the profession maturing, resulting in project managers having a much better understanding of how projects can disrupt operations. That in turn has led to better integration of things like organizational change management to try and ensure disruption is minimized. But the biggest reason why project managers are more accepted today than they were when I first started managing projects is that change is much more commonplace and much more accepted.

Every project manager knows the adage that “the only constant is change,” but in today’s world, that really is true. The reason why operational staff were reluctant to deal with projects 30 years ago is because changes were relatively uncommon. A change would be made and then the department would be stable for an …

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"I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly dreaming I am a man."

- Chuang Tzu