Project Management

Avoiding Conflict Before the Formal Change Steps

Joe Wynne is a versatile Project Manager experienced in delivering medium-scope projects in large organizations that improve workforce performance and business processes. He has a proven track record of delivering effective, technology-savvy solutions in a variety of industries and a unique combination of strengths in both process management and workforce management.

Are you a project manager or a firefighter? Some weeks you may not be sure as you bounce from one fiery stakeholder conflict to another.

One source of "fires" for the unprepared project manager is changes that are mismanaged. Normally, there is a change management process to help you that includes steps to adjust scope, schedule, financials and so on.

When this process is not followed, the project sponsor, "customer" or stakeholders start complaining about what has happened (or not happened). You are surprised by conflicts that become visible during routine interactions.  

You don't need any of this conflict, but changes are common. What can you do to avoid mismanaged changes? First, the obvious: Make sure your project team is ready to follow the defined change management steps.

The real critical success factor, though, is to make sure they know what to do and what not to do before the steps are engaged, otherwise mismanagement can still occur.
How can things go wrong before you even get to the change management process? Here are examples of what can happen without your project team having the proper awareness.

  • A project customer who defined original requirements sees more opportunity after requirements are "final" and enthusiastically requests that the change be added to the scope of the project. Developers, wanting to …

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