Are you a champion of change? Do you set a good example to your team, your colleagues and your company for how change should be managed? During the recent PMI conference, I've been learning more about what i can do to become a champion of change and using what I've learnt at the conference to benefit me and my projects. There was a lot of great presentations and keynotes and for me, it really motivated my desire to push myself to become a better change advocate and "Change-seller".
During this blog post, I'll give you some ideas for what you can do to become a champion of change and what you can do to make a difference within your own "world" but I'd also like to start a discussion in the chat about what YOU do already to make change work in your projects? What helps makes you unique?
Here's some of my suggestions:
1) Be active, open and transparent
Change is scary and frightening for most people. But not for you! You thrive on change and to do this, you are active about communicating the change and being transparent about what's going on. This has to happen with everyone you see in your working day to be successful!
2) Show the value
With any sort of change management, you're on a PR selling mission. One way to promote the change is to show the value to the interested parties. Make it relevant to them and relevant to what they need to know and it'll help you get the message across. Perhaps ask yourself the question: "What's in it for them?" and "Why is this important for them?". This always helps me think about how I can best show them the value.
3) Communicate, communicate, communicate!
One thing that you can't do enough of is communicate. Communicate in an effective manner, in the right ways (for your industry, company) and look at the best way of delivering your message. Communication doesn't just need to be verbal! A recent idea was to communicate the upcoming project go live over the company screensavers. So that every time you shut your PC or were idle, you'd get a visual showing you the Go Live date and some important graphic information. It's given us an additional way of communicating to people and something that they'll see several times in their day. If you can make it eye catching, all the better!
4) "Be the change you want to see in the world" - Ghandi.
This is true for many areas of your life and especially when it comes to projects! If you're stalling, being negative, talking negatively then it'll transfer to your team and that's not worth it!
5) Look at what you can do differently
Try different things, different strategies to see if your team/ organisation reacts to that more positively. When I'm coaching Project Managers I say: There is more than one way to get from A to B, if the first way doesn't work, then try another way". Sometimes to see what could be done, you need to think outside of the box for what might work with your team. This could be different visuals, broadcasting in different ways, using other media (instead of powerpoint slides, use video).
Being a champion of change is something all of us can strive to achieve and strive to accomplish. How do you make yourself a champion of change? Let's connect and discuss more.
This is one part of my summary of the PMI Conference. I've been connecting with other Project Managers from the Conference both online and in person and i've been asking a question that i'd like to bring to this community. During this years conference, I (and the other experts) tried to tweet a lot more about what we do during the conference, what it looks like, the people that we speak to etc... but is this what you want? Is there something else that you'd like to see?
What would bring the conference closer to you? or be an incentive to join so that you can see what goes on and perhaps tempt you to join another future conference.
Would you like to see more articles about what we're doing at the conference? Would you prefer more videos/ pictures?
Now, my challenge for you is to comment on a minimum of 1 thing that you'd like to see more of during a PMI Conference?
Let's start a chat so that we can make future conferences as valuable and useful to remote attendees as possible.
Have a vision in life and believe in magic!
Face the reality
Surround yourself with those who lift you up
Life is indeed a magic! I was all ready to spread the magic through the channel that I had at the congress as a speaker and as an SME at the “Ask the expert” started as soon as I stepped out of my room at the hotel. I guess my T- shirt said it all.
I engaged in discussion across the hallways at the breakfast table, the linked- in corner, the awards gala dinner and at the community “Ask the Expert” booth.
“There was a directive to implement JIRA company wide, we tried agile, but our people were not ready?”
Bingo! you got it, we need to focus on our people first. Agile is not only about tool implementation. Agile Methodology is a people-focused, results-focused approach to software development that respects our rapidly changing world. Focus on people first to bring the change in mindset for adaptive planning, self-organization, and short delivery times. Tools are just levers, Jira Software is an agile project management tool that supports any agile methodology, be it scrum, kanban, or your own unique flavor.
“We are into Workday implementation, one the first ever implementation for the healthcare, we tried agile but it did not work!”
Sure of course not all projects are suited for agile, it is up to the project manager to decide what can be agile, predictive or hybrid. For COTS implementation, we may not be full fledged agile on day one, but we of course implement some values of agile like faster feedback, inspect and adapt, and slowly and steadily e may want to look for more opportunities to be agile. Read more on hybrid methodology here
“I have started a new contract and I need to setup a process, there is no current process, how do you bring in agility here?”
No current process, that seemed scary at first, but as the discussion progressed, we agreed that there was a process which was adhoc. This needed to move to through the maturity level of Adhoc-> Repeatable-> Managed-> Adaptive-> Agile and DevOps. This cannot be achieved day one, but a project manager can assess the current situation and build in a road map for process agility.
That evening the “Happy hour” became happier with some champagne, cup-cakes, lots of appetizers, in-promptu on the sofa expert discussions and networking with the attendees.
If you have not been able to sign up for the “Ask the expert” sessions, we are here till Monday, you still have time to sign up here, or just drop by for a more casual discussion at the “Ask the Expert” community booth in the exhibit hall.
And the end .. the PMI Professional Award Gala dinner, where the best and best of the project management is awarded. A retro musical by “Marilyn Monroe” and Dean Martin made this evening even more magical.
Are you ready for more magic on Day 2 ? Unable to experience this magic in-person at the congress? Follow me on twitter , linkedIn or Facebook as I take you through this magical experience of #PMICON18 in the city of angels.
Sell Others on why The Project Matters!
Too often project managers do not consider the importance of socializing their projects prior to actually beginning the work on the project. It may be because they haven’t thought of the benefits of doing so or because they feel the project is assigned and already decided upon, so why bother. However, the most effective project managers - those who take a strategic approach to how they lead their projects - look at projects from both the perspective of the organization and the perspective of the individual - thereby understanding the benefits of socializing the project early on during the pre-planning stages.
Undoubtedly, you may have to highlight the benefits of socializing projects to your project sponsor and other key stakeholders if this is not common practice already within the organization. Let’s look at an example. I was called in to work with a client who, about 5 months previously, had launched a project to change processes in how they captured and input client data to enable for improved marketing. They never socialized the project first. The end users, on average, had been doing the job in a particular way for about 4 years. Old habits die hard - no one wanted to change what they had been doing; it worked for them. It was 5 months already into the project when I was called in to help correct the situation - progress was very minimal. I recommended they step back and start again - this time taking some time to socialize the initiative and talk about the benefits to the organization as a whole, the departments affected and the individuals. First, however, we needed to do a bit of “repair work” to smooth over feelings.
Benefits of Socializing Your Projects
When we take the time to socialize projects before we actually start the project, we provide individuals with a “heads up” about what is going on and why. In this way, we provide a sense of comfort around the changes that will happen. It helps us to:
I consider socializing the project to be part of the “define” or “pre-planning” phase of the project. It helps me to find out who is supportive of the project and who I’ll need to spend some more time with to make them comfortable and convert them to champions. Depending on the size and complexity of the project and the number of individuals impacted within the organization, I may plan for anywhere from two weeks to a few months to socialize an initiative.
Selling Socialization to Executives
If you are in an organization that has never socialized projects before launch, you may need to sell it to the executives. This is not as difficult as you think. First of all, in most cases, as a project manager, you know about projects coming along before they are actually ready to start. Begin socializing the project then if you can do so. When I’m working with clients to help them develop more effective and efficient ways of managing their projects, I make sure that plans include involving project managers very early on in decisions to initiative projects so that, prior to actual launch, time can be set aside to socialize the initiative. Rarely do we cut into project time. And, when we do cut into project time, we have shown, time and time again, that by socializing up front, we actually spend less time on the back end managing expectations of those impacted and get much more commitment which enables to improved management of the project throughout execution. Additionally, we have found in some situations, that by socializing the project, we learned a few things we did not know that would have derailed the project down the road.
Frequently we look at projects from the perspective of the organization’s view. We understand how the project will benefit the organization and why it is the right thing to do now. We tend to forget about the individual. The individual is the one who will be impacted by the project in some way. We need to consider the project from the perspective of the individual, who, while certainly concerned about the organization is also concerned about him/herself. It’s only natural. Going through this person’s mind are questions such as, “What will happen to my job?” “Will I be able to do the role when it changes?” “What if I don’t have the skills I need?” “How can I handle all of this when I have so much going on personally?” These are all valid concerns of individual employees and the most successful projects are run by those who work with the individual to address these concerns through a variety of ways, such as:
These are just a few ways to socialize the project throughout the organization. Always choose a variety of ways to reach the largest group of people.
Take the time to socialize your projects prior to their actual start. You’ll find that you will increase the commitment and support for the project which only makes your job of managing the project much easier in the long run. The benefits are many and well worth the extra effort involved. Remember also, that, periodically, throughout the project, as a best practice, continue to socialize it by checking in with individuals to be sure they are still on-board and feeling good about what is going on.