Managing business change: How to get everyone on board

Introduction

Every project is difficult, unique, and has its own set of problems that come with it. Nowadays more often than not, projects involve business change as well, which essentially means that people will need to learn a new way of working.  They might get reassigned to another department or the company may no longer need them anymore. This can be daunting for a newly appointed project manager or someone who hasn’t been a project manager for long.

Some Ways to Understand and Work in Difficult Projects

No matter what, these projects elicit strong feelings and generally negative sentiment from most people.  Here are some ways to understand and work in such project environments.

  • Take time to understand the stakeholders involved and most particularly what they stand to lose and gain from the project’s success.
  • No matter what the odds, look for the positive and highlight it for them (stakeholders).
  • Make sure you speak to the senior management to allocate a budget for the team working against the odds e.g. the network and communications department is under staffed and can simply not put up the required upgrade in the given time; however, they might be the only people in the industry doing such a project and that will do wonders for their resume/CV, not to mention the added benefits they will get if they complete the upgrade on time.
  • Praise them. Too many people forget to acknowledge the hard work put in by employees. People want to be seen and not be taken for granted.
  • Assure the old timers that they will get training and visibly start working on it. Identify the alpha personalities (leaders) of the group and have them attend meetings with your training provider or ask them to give advice on what training is required for them.
  • In projects where the workforce is being reassigned, work with HR to ensure that they are also working on it and ready for the transition. Do not expect HR to do the work on their own, follow up and make them. The success of your project depends on it.
  • Last but not the least, be empathetic. Listen carefully, understand the issues and address them. Communication is key to such projects.

Conclusion

Most projects are not top secret, thus being transparent to the stakeholders and addressing their concerns is key to having them root for the success of your project rather than becoming obstacles. Everyone loves to be on the winning team, then why not be on the same side and have no competition?

Quratulain Habib, PMP

Quratulain Habib, PMP

Quratulain Habib (Q Habib) is a professionally trained (PMI) project manager with experience of detailed planning, HR management, reporting and closing projects to deliver results aligned to project & organisational objectives. LinkedIn Profile

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