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

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Viewing Posts by Ronald Sharpe

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 (3)

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)

Giant Leap

The 2020 strategic planning session has just wrapped up and the CEO says to the executive team, “Let’s raise a glass and celebrate some really strong work.  Now that the ‘hard part’ is done all we have to do is drive these 28 initiatives through the organization.” 

Over coffee the next morning the CEO seems a little less sure if planning is the ‘hard part’.  He feels confident with the strategic plan and budget; but wonders if he has the talent and skills to deliver in today’s turbulent times?  How do you know if the implementation team’s capability is dated in the past, lodged in the present, or open to the future? 

Let’s consider a few straight forward questions to assess the era that you are taking a giant leap into: 

Past:                     Is communication and training the extent of your implementation approach?  Do you have the skilled resources in place to deliver beyond the basics?

Present:               Is your approach still locked into the tools and techniques from the 20th
century?  Are you in an echo chamber of the same approaches and conferences that you have used for the last twenty years?

Future:                 Are you reaching out to new ‘voices’ and different perspectives to keep abreast of today’s rapidly evolving research in the arts and sciences?  Does your organization have the curiosity and mindset to be open to new approaches?

Questions for leading change in the 21st century.  What era are you in?








Posted by Ronald Sharpe on: February 17, 2020 12:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (4)

Personal Resilience - Capacity to Take on Next

Life is busy.  It constantly seems like there is more to do than hours in the day.  In an always on world, it is easy to run right past the signals telling us to recharge, until we are running on nothing but fumes.  Once we’ve reached the last of our energy reserves, we quickly understand that it will take quite a while to refill the tank. 

Consider these three things to maintain your energy reserves:

  • Reflect on your daily and weekly schedule
    • Is everything you are doing adding value?
    • If it isn’t adding value, would it have a harmful impact if you stopped doing it?
  • Participate in self-care activities regularly
    • If you participate regularly, good job, keep doing what you are doing.
    • If not, it’s important to remember that you are important.  If you aren’t functioning properly how can you care for others effectively?
  • Build and maintain a strong support network
    • To build your support network, start small. Reach out to a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while, join a group, or volunteer. 
    • To maintain a support network, keep investing in your relationships.

Building and maintaining personal resilience can be challenging.  Meeting this challenge will allow you to have the capacity to take on whatever life throws your way. 

Life is busy.  It constantly seems like there is more to do than hours in the day.  This has a negative impact on your energy level.  Doing these three things can help you maintain the energy you need to take on next.


Posted by Ronald Sharpe on: December 10, 2019 11:16 AM | Permalink | Comments (5)

"My sole inspiration is a telephone call from a producer."

- Cole Porter