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Presentation Recap - Change Reaction: The Impact of Change Management on Stakeholders and Project Portfolios
By Jill Almaguer
I enjoyed the experience of presenting at PMI's Virtual Experience Series: PMXPO on 24 March. My session, Session 210: Change Reaction: The Impact of Change Management on Stakeholders and Project Portfolios, generated many questions in the chat, and I have prepared responses to some of those questions in this blog.
1. Was Covid a RISK or ISSUE or discussed before it became a global pandemic?
Within IT, Covid was not discussed very much until we saw cases starting to appear in the Houston, Texas area. Then suddenly, we were asked to work remotely. Of course, our projects had to continue with remote project meetings, training, etc. All of our vendors were also suddenly restricted from traveling or having in person planning or go-live support. Even after a vaccine became widely available, it is difficult to predict when the next surge of patients and subsequent restrictions on hospital visitors will come.
Unlike hurricane season or flu season, Covid does not seem to have a season and variants behave differently. Thus, the probability and impact for a risk rating is only an estimate at best. If the risk is realized with another surge, then the same issues of remote work and training will again be felt on projects with our mitigation strategies and lessons learned applied from previous surges.
2. How do you mitigate resistance when you don't have "control" over groups of people? This is very true in the federal government space.
The causes of resistance vary widely from individual to individual. First, it is important to find out what kind of “cheese” is most attractive to each stakeholder. Providing the right cheese (i.e., incentive) may help bring the resistant stakeholders along. Providing disincentives (i.e., penalties) is not as favorable to enticing people to adopt a change.
When the early adopters have some success with the new change, publicize that success to the late adopters. Use lessons learned from the early adopters’ experience to update the training for the late adopters. The world is a bell-shaped curve and late adopters will always be late or may even leave after the change is implemented. People can only change themselves if they chose to; they cannot be forced or controlled. Provide the change as the best choice to overcome resistance.
3. Is there a scale by which you would measure the Estimated Change Magnitude both for the calculation of project change and environmental change?
Unlike the Richter magnitude scale used to measure the strength of earthquakes, there is not a standard scale to measure projects because of the huge variation between numbers of users impacted by the change. Instead, the projects in a portfolio can be ranked by relative change magnitude to identify those projects that have the highest project and environmental change.
4. In terms of estimate change magnitude, what's the scale which number is considered a big change or small?
After ranking the projects in a portfolio by the relative change magnitude, then a natural break point may show which projects have high, medium, or low change estimates.
5. What in your experience is the best way to engage resistant people at the beginning of a project? This population is likely to not participate in your workshop or answer your survey at all.
Some low-tech techniques include offering lunch or other incentive such as T-shirts or coffee gift cards to attend the workshop.
Another method is making participation in the workshop or response to the survey as a development goal for performance evaluation.
It is important to ask everyone what risks they anticipate on the project up front and thank them for that input. Then continue to engage them as the project proceeds.
Participating in PMXPO was a great experience, and the entire presentation will be available on demand through the end of January 2023. Visit PMI Virtual Experience Series 2022 for more details.