Project Management

Shifting Change: Insider Tips from Project Leaders

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Today's world is influenced by change. Project managers and their organizations need to embrace and sometimes drive changes to keep up with the pace in highly competitive environments. In this blog, experienced professionals share their experiences, tips and tools to manage and exploit changes and take advantage of them. The blog is complimentary to the webinar series of the Change Management Community Team and is managed by the same individuals.

About this Blog


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Luisa Cristini
Nic Jain
Ruth Pearce
Abílio Neto
Vitaly Geyman
Walter Vandervelde
Steve Salisbury
John ORourke
Ronald Sharpe
Angela Montgomery
Tony Saldanha
Ryan Gottfredson
Joseph Pusz
Kavitha Gunasekaran
Ross Wirth
Carole Osterweil
Amrapali Amrapali
Barbara Trautlein

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Viewing Posts by Ronald Sharpe

More than Fun and Games

More than Fun and Games

At the beginning of a project excitement abounds.  There is an allure to working on the next big thing to move the business forward.  Yet, as the days turn into weeks, and the weeks into months, the allure begins to fade when the finish line is just a dot on the horizon.  The middle of a project is when it can be hard to maintain focus and stay the course.  Planning for this downturn in energy is important, and implementing a reward and recognition plan can help bolster the team’s energy reserves and keep the momentum going.

A reward and recognition plan serves as a means to encourage and reward the project team and key partners for their contributions to the project and its success. The plan should contain both monetary and non-monetary incentives that reinforce commitment.

A comprehensive plan should include:

  • Criteria for how and when project team members and key partners will be recognized and rewarded.
  • A budget.  Allocating funds specifically for reward and recognition ensures the plan can be consistently administered across the life of the project.
  • Recognition that is delivered in a timely manner, for a specific reason, and in a way the individual finds meaningful. 
  • Opportunities for team members and partners to maintain relationships. 
  • A few examples might include: Project Team recognition with a virtual happy hour; Individual recognition with a personalized award, event, or time-off.

Reward and recognition is often overlooked in a task driven environment.  It is important to remember that the individuals working hard to complete those tasks need to feel appreciated.  While providing meaningful recognition has always been a key component in the project plan, today’s fractured working environment further heightens the need.  The benefits reaped from implementing a reward and recognition plan far outweigh the cost.



Posted by Ronald Sharpe on: September 23, 2020 12:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (2)

How Big Is It?

How Big Is It?

Imagine this….as a project team member you know a change is coming, but you have no idea how big the change really is [scale and/or significance], and who will be impacted the most.  The team begins to feel uneasy, and you think, there has got to be a way to measure the impact of the change.  And, you are right, a change impact assessment can help you answer the question: how big is it? 

How does it answer that question? It identifies:

  • Who is impacted (by role)
  • The number of people in each role
  • What is changing
  • When it is changing
  • The degree of impact (low, medium, or high)
  • If training is required
  • Key issues

The insights provided by the assessment help you and the team prioritize the upcoming changes.  This allows the team to devote time and resources to the areas that will experience the highest levels of change.  Focusing resources on the highest priorities will help to accelerate the change and generate the largest return on investment.

While the change impact assessment is a useful tool, it is most successful when used properly.  Let’s take a look at when and how the assessment should be used. 

  • Timing – conduct the assessment when “what” is changing has been identified
  • Best practice – use the current state and future state process flows to determine “what” is changing, and provide focus for analysis
  • Important note: the project sponsor must approve the use of this tool prior to using it.  Using this tool without the permission of the sponsor can cause confusion, resistance, and loss of credibility

Change can be unsettling.  Using a change impact assessment shines light on the upcoming change and gives the project team tangible ways to minimize the impact.

Posted by Ronald Sharpe on: August 17, 2020 12:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (5)

What Surprise Awaits?

What Surprise Awaits?

In today’s world we do not need another surprise.  It seems like we have surprise upon surprise occurring on a regular basis.  So, let’s make sure we control what we can and secure solid footing for successfully managing projects in these turbulent times.  Consider this….changes don’t occur in a vacuum.  To be successful, you must involve the right people at the right time.  Follow these steps to identify and engage the right stakeholders.

  1. Identify Project Stakeholders
    1. Stakeholders are: key customers and suppliers; anyone who relies on the output of what’s being changed; anyone whose support or lack of support contribute to the success or failure of the change; people responsible for completing the work
    2. Depending on project scope, the stakeholders can cross multiple organizational levels
  2. Assign stakeholder to a group
    1. Segment stakeholders into 5 groups: responsible, helps, permits, questions, and unaware
    2. Group Definitions:
      1. Responsible: must have involvement to be successful
      2. Helps: need role-based assistance
      3. Permits: doesn’t help or hinder the change
      4. Questions: questions, has reservations, or actively resists the change
      5. Unaware: unaware of the change effort
  3. Action Steps
    1. Once a stakeholder has been assigned to a group, determine the necessary actions steps
    2. Is it OK if the stakeholder stays in the assigned group, or is movement to a new group required? (i.e. from unaware to helps, or questions to permits)
    3. If movement is required, what actions steps need to be taken to achieve the desired movement?
    4. Remember, not all stakeholders are created equally, so focus your efforts on the stakeholders that will have the most influence

Unsure about how you’ve segmented the stakeholders, or want some suggestions on how to influence important stakeholders?  Reach out to trusted partners, fellow program/project managers, or discuss with project team members.  Be well and stay safe!

Posted by Ronald Sharpe on: June 29, 2020 12:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (4)

It's a Different World

It’s a Different World

History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”

Mark Twain


As the COVID-19 pandemic erupted, this frightening intruder once again reminds us of the insight from Mark Twain, “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”  We have been challenged in the past with pandemics, prevailed over time, and we shall do so again.   

With the perspective of the glass half full, we have an opportunity to learn, to problem solve, and act on the trauma and drama of this current threat.We would be the worst of fools if we squander this experience and not use it to help reshape our approach to life, to business, and our own readiness.Below are a few key tenets from change management that we may want to consider:


The paradox of managing change is that when it is done well, nothing happens.  So, you will not see the ‘drama’, experience the disruption, or pay the price of poor implementation.

Change Saturation

What can be described as V3, the velocity, volume, variety, and impact of this unprecedented event has taught us that mind-bending change can happen at supersonic speed.

Personal Readiness

This unwelcome and traumatic intrusion into our lives has clearly exposed numerous weak spots.  We encourage you to be proactive and productive during this time of forced hibernation to reflect and prepare for reentry into a very different world. 

As you begin to reengage into this new world of work and beyond, a challenging question emerges, “Are you ready to navigate the personal change that will confront each of us in this radically new era?”

Be well and stay safe!

Posted by Ronald Sharpe on: May 25, 2020 12:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (3)

Connections Matter

The environment around us changes rapidly.  Intellectually we know this, yet often the understanding stops short of personal impact.  Over the past few weeks we have experienced change at an unprecedented pace that leaves many of us bewildered, anxious, and even fatigued.  The coronavirus outbreak has provided an unwanted opportunity to experience the difference between intellectually understanding change and feeling the impact at organizational and personal levels.

The impacts of this new environment vary widely.  As we begin to take preventative measures, one of the recommendations is to limit our human interaction.  This precaution means that we are faced with an important question: How do we keep our connections to each other and the broader world we live in?

Do we:

  • Overcome our fear and anxiety and show more compassion to others when we interact?
  • Listen to hear and not to respond?
  • Take advantage of the technology available to reconnect with those whom we have lost touch?
  • Tolerate inconveniences for the betterment of everyone (See an example here)

Offered below are a few organizational and personal actions to help navigate this difficult and disorienting time.



  • Communication – Is not what we do but who we are.  It is an insatiable need that is now desperately searching for trusted, competent leadership to provide: clarity, guidance, support, and reassurance. 


  • Working Virtual – Working virtual is not new.  Organizations have been doing this for thirty plus years.  If it is new to you, reach out for support.  This is an opportunity to demonstrate trust in your workforce and strengthen your leadership credibility.     


  • Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery – Check when you last updated your BC/DR plan.  If that little voice in your head is saying, ‘you’ve got to be kidding’ it is time for action.




  • Communication – If you are not receiving the communication you need to make quality decisions then pursue multiple sources both domestically and internationally.


  • Working Virtual –This is an opportunity to work differently and be productive while managing your social distancing.   


  • Personal Readiness Plan - Check when you last updated your Personal Readiness Plan.  If you are saying, ‘what is that’ it is time to begin a plan. 


Looking at the glass as half full, we have a forced opportunity for solitude and reflection on the deep introspective stage of transition and change, healing, and energy renewal.  Making small changes to the way we choose to connect with those around us may be just what we need to thrive. 



Posted by Ronald Sharpe on: April 13, 2020 12:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (4)

Don't be humble. You're not that great.

- Golda Meir



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