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Topics: Leadership
"Operations" resistance while driving projects
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Any best practices/suggestions for a new Project manager on executing projects when there is resistance from "Operations" in a balanced Matrix Organization.
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Parag -

Find out what the root cause for the resistance is and then use your influence & persuasion to overcome it to meet your project's objectives while aligning with your company's values.

Kiron
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Project Objectives, if aligned with organization's goals, then there should not be any resistance but can have prioritization over other projects. Yes, agree with Kiron, reasons for resistance should be identified and then decide on next actions. And if the reasons are genuine and if project is not aligning with the organization's goals, would prefer not to do such project.
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I concur with Kiron on this, also proactively setting up the decision making structure, including where all the key stakeholders fit in, is very critical in managing operational issues. A RACI chart would be helpful in most cases.
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It is important to understand the reason behind the resistance. You need to have a discussion with the project sponsor to understand the business benefits and whether a transparency on the business value is understood. Most of the time from my experience, if resistance is strong and value added from the project is realized by management, it is very important that leadership management support the transition. However, if the resistance is coming from very few individuals perhaps gentlemen talk on their fears would help and maybe listening to their worries and agree on how to make it better facilitating their fears. At the end, management support is key to manage the resistance.
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Soft skill are very important in this case because is obvious behavioral situation and be aware that some people in operation can even kill the project if you failed to engage them proactively.
Try to understand the Why behind the resistance and convince them how your could improve the overall company and operations later, community, etc. find out the reason of the project and communicate proactively with each stakeholder and escalate if necessary.
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Develop a relationship or rapport with Business Unit heads or functional managers. Project management involves communication, negotiation and influence. Nothing can be done to reduce resistance if these attributes are not developed.
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What form does this resistance take? What is the impact on the project? How does this detract from the project objectives? Can I measure this impact on the project KPIs?

I would seek answers to all the above questions and, once this impact is quantified, I would include it as a project risk.

In parallel, I would try to build bridges in the Operations organisation.
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Thank you all for your valuable inputs..!

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