Развернуть теги
Свернуть теги
25 Nov 2022

Developed a New Project Management Methodology. What’s Next?

Target audience:
  • Business Owners
  • Head of PMO
  • Managers
  • Project managers
  • Project Activity Sponsor
Knowledge and skills:
  • PMO Setup
  • Resources
  • Problem Solving
  • Change Management
  • Project Management
  • Communication
  • Motivation&Bonus System
Reading time:
  • 8 min

So, the C-level management decided on the need for changes in the project management methodology. A working group was assembled, and the changes were designed and agreed upon at the highest level. And this is only the beginning of the journey, although much work has already been done.

Any processes are tied to people, therefore, if employees are not ready for change and do not want to change anything, the results from the implementation of changes will be insignificant, or they will not be at all, no matter how well the changes are designed.

Employees can resist for various reasons — lack of understanding of changes, confidence in their knowledge and skills for a new mode of action, distrust of management, and inertia of thinking.

This article will look at methods to reduce employee resistance and ensure the implemented changes are used in their daily activities. We will also consider the main issues that may arise during implementation and how to solve them.

How to Proceed in the 1st Phase of Change Implementation

Determining the List of Planned Changes and Breaking it down into Releases

First, it is necessary to implement changes with minor differences from the status quo in the organization. Change implementation release should contain a manageable number of changeable elements (new roles, process steps, artifacts, etc.)

Roles — the perimeter of responsibility for achieving the goal, the result, and the powers granted.

Artifacts — an information or material object used to manage a project, which is an intermediate or final result of work in a project. Examples: project passport, demonstration stand.

If possible, related components should be placed in the same release. The next release of changes should not be implemented earlier than a month after the implementation of the previous one so as not to paralyze work, allow people to adapt, get used to, and enter the normal working mode, and not create a feeling of an endless stream of changes among employees.

Implementing and Controlling Changes according to the ADKAR model (by Prosci)

A (Awareness) — awareness of the need for change.

The top management of the company communicates to employees who are affected by the change, answering the questions:

  • “Why is this being done?”,
  • “What external factors led to the need for changes?”,
  • “Why are changes important for the company?”,
  • “What benefits will the company get after the changes?”,
  • “What happens if you don’t make changes?”

These clarifications are for informational purposes and are not discussed, but they must be specific and understandable.

D (Desire) — willingness to participate in change.

Functional managers communicate to employees how changes in the company will affect each of them personally.

  • How will the work of each employee change?
  • When will the changes take effect?
  • What bonuses, rewards, or penalties may follow the compliance or non-compliance to the new procedures?

K (Knowledge) — knowing exactly what needs to be done to implement change.

Functional managers or the change implementation team familiarize employees with new processes, procedures, and actions that must be performed in a new way or discontinued. They discuss the new steps and tools (artifacts, roles, ceremonies, etc.) needed to implement the changes.

Ceremony is a one-time or periodically repeated communication between project participants, for example, a meeting.

Familiarization can be carried out in a dedicated meeting, where changes are presented, and all necessary materials are provided. In addition, you can also do a workshop or give a home assignment.

A (Ability) — skill/ability to implement change.

The change implementation team familiarizes employees with the new rules and provides templates (a vision of the final state). By default, we assume that employees have the necessary skills, which will be enough to familiarize them with the changes. However, you need to be ready to train employees if, in practice, it turns out that they do not know how to provide the required level of quality when performing specific tasks.

Functional managers should control the quality of processes and their execution by the employees, set an example, and give feedback. Without their support and oversight, the company will not have the strength to complete the implementation. The functional managers (in the case of project management, primarily the managers of project managers) should be responsible for applying the new methodology and providing top management with data on the implementation progress by unit.

In turn, the project management office prepares a summary of the progress of the change for top management and gives an independent assessment.

R (Reinforcement) — reinforcement of implemented changes.

Implemented changes must be made the norm of behavior. Therefore, it is essential to involve all the necessary employees in work according to the new rules: set tasks, introduce a bonus system, collect feedback and respond to it, remove obstacles to the execution of the new rules, show the need and importance of changes by example, attitude.

When implementing changes using the ADKAR model, note that different participants may be at various stages of the change process — someone on A, someone on R. Therefore, if there are resources available, it is helpful to assess the progress of change participants according to the ADKAR model using surveys and questionnaires. Questions could be like this;

  • “Do you know what will be the changes in your activity?”
  • “Do you understand the benefits you and the organization will receive due to the change?”
  • “Do you know exactly how you should act now?”
  • “Are you acting the new way?”
  • “Do you have the knowledge and skills to execute the new way of doing things?”
  • “Do you find the new way of doing things convenient/familiar?”

We need to remember that the answers contain a subjective assessment, so it is recommended to consider the opinion of not only one employee but also his colleagues and the manager.

However, for the ADKAR model, it is not so much the objectivity of the assessment that is important, but the process of people realizing the need for changes and understanding their role in them since the composition of the measures taken to support this or that change will depend on this.

Surveys and questionnaires can also be used to identify best practices or to track problems encountered during change.

Monitoring the Implementation of Changes

To understand how changes are progressing, control is necessary. It can be based on ceremonies or artifacts.

Ceremonial control checks for frequency, alignment with the agenda, and the use of necessary artifacts. Each ceremony shows the understanding of the project manager and the project team of the necessary actions by the methodology, but such a check requires the presence of a reviewer.

During control using artifacts, the necessary artifacts, their placement in the planned place, the correctness of filling out reports/forms, and the relevance of information are checked. Functional managers are responsible for reviewing the content of artifacts. It is also helpful to allocate a resource (for example, an administrator) with the function of a project management office responsible for controlling the availability and registration of artifacts.

Most artifacts can be controlled during ceremonies, combining both checks.

For significant projects, artifacts, and ceremonies, “cyclic inventory” can be carried out — spot checks of performance and quality assessment. A random check can be carried out by the project management office, and quality assessment — by more experienced colleagues, like functional managers. Over time, the project management office can take over this function completely.

Conducting Disciplinary Proceedings against Employees who Resist Change

You should not expect all employees to immediately realize the need for change and live by the new rules. Draw the participants’ attention to what needs to be done and set an example with your behavior.

In the first month, limit yourself to verbal warnings, as the system has not yet been debugged. Focus on identifying problems and the consequences of not following new procedures: for example, introduce a yellow and red card system, like in football. A yellow card is a warning; upon receipt of two of these, a red one is issued. Such a signaling system, which raises problems to a higher level, will make it possible to bring information about failures first to the level of the functional manager, then the director of the department, etc.

After the pilot period, failure to perform critical artifacts or ceremonies and failure to follow procedures can be tied to a bonus (“until you do it in a wrong way, there will be no bonus”).


How to Act a Month after Implementation

In the first month after launch, no changes are made to the new rules and procedures. The exception is when the work is blocked due to the new procedures. In this case, the top management may decide to cancel or correct the new procedure, template, ceremony, etc. All comments and suggestions on implementing the rules and procedures are accumulated in a special register. At the end of the month, they are prioritized by the change implementation team, and for each, a decision on the necessary actions and their timing is made.

For example, the following decisions could be made:

  • change/simplify the procedure (for example, reduce the number of approvers when creating an artifact);
  • change/simplify the artifact template;
  • abandon the template (move the artifact from required to recommended);
  • change the frequency of the ceremony;
  • simplify the agenda of the ceremony;
  • add additional conditions and restrictions on application (for example, only on projects lasting more than three months).

After making decisions, it is necessary to return to the initiators of changes with clear feedback: what are the prospects for implementing proposals, and whether the identified problems have been eliminated.

If following the decision, it is necessary to clarify the methodology, then it must be checked for integrity and consistency, as well as for coverage of managerial aspects (essential areas of attention).


Next Steps for Implementing Changes

The following list of planned changes is announced at a dedicated meeting with project teams no more than once a month. At the meeting, they discuss new changes and their causes and present an updated methodology, new templates, and rules for their use in processes.

If changes are made to an already running tool, then simply update the template and send a change letter.


Optimizing Processes

Despite checking the integrity of the implemented methodology, inconsistencies can accumulate due to the phased implementation of changes, leading to failures and errors.

To eliminate them, at intervals of every six months or once a year, information on the use of artifacts and ceremonies (what is most often not done or not done as it should be, is not tracked, what it is connected with, and what negative consequences it has for projects) is collected. Based on these data, the methodology is being adjusted to eliminate the excess, identify weaknesses and eliminate them.

Organizing a Celebration after the Implementation

Once the transition to a new methodology is complete, it’s good to have a celebration, no matter how strange it may sound. The celebration creates a sense of accomplishment for employees, showing that the overload and stress associated with implementing changes is over, and you can return to regular activities. Thus, the celebration announces an opportunity for employees to move to a more moderate pace of work and recover from changes. Therefore, it makes sense to hold the celebration when the transition to the mode of current business-as-usual work has already taken place.

In the absence of a clear point of growth to a new state, even after the completion of the changes, employees may be in a state of mobilization and increased stress for a long time, although there are no objective reasons for this.

In addition, the celebration is an opportunity to thank employees for their involvement in the change process and recognize their contribution to the overall result, creating positive motivation for them to participate in subsequent changes.

Possible Problems and Solutions

Requirements not met

If implementation monitoring shows that new requirements are not being met, there are usually two reasons for this:

1) the inefficiency of the procedure itself or the presence of critical errors in it;

2) lack of discipline (motivation) among employees.

More often, new procedures are not perfect, and there will always be comments on them. In this case, you must proceed according to step “4”.

But the probability of having critical errors that prevent the implementation of the procedure is not very high. Therefore, a more common reason for not meeting new requirements is a lack of motivation. In this case, it is necessary to determine the cause of low motivation and use the tools of the ADKAR model (see step “2”).

However, we should remember that often the motivation of employees is reduced due to the ineffectiveness of new procedures or the implementation process. Therefore, it is important to closely monitor the implementation process while collecting information on its effectiveness and emerging problems (see step “3”).

All employees act according to the new methodology, but there is no result

In this case, it is necessary to find at which stage the failure occurs. For this, control methods are used (see step “3”). The technology to eliminate the failure depends on its cause.

For example, you are not satisfied with the quality of the preparation of the scheduling. A random check showed that employees do not know how to fill it out. Therefore, it is necessary to prepare a detailed description of the artifact, and the technology of its creation (planning procedure), select good references and conduct a workshop or training for employees.

A new problem arises, or one of the problems identified during the development of changes is not resolved

It is necessary to answer the question: “Are we doing what is proposed to solve this problem?”

If the answer is “No,” start doing it.

If the answer to the first question is “Yes, it is being done,” then move on to the following question: “Are we doing it right?”

If the answer is “No,” give feedback, conduct training, and test knowledge and skills.

If the answer is “Yes, right,” then go to the question “Why doesn’t it work?”, If necessary, adjust the procedure or work technology (adjust the frequency of ceremonies, change the template, etc.), and then to the question “What else can be done?” See what tools are available to solve this problem and develop and implement them.

Thus, the development of any organization is associated with the introduction of changes, and for them to be implemented successfully and quickly, it is necessary to do much work with the company’s employees. Behavior change control must be carried out at the beginning and at the end of the implementation of change, and the frequency of control depends on the duration and complexity of the change.

When the change is completed, most employees should complete all five stages of the ADKAR model and begin to consider the new processes and procedures familiar. Otherwise, likely, the company will fully or partially return to the “old” mode of working.

Written by:
Andrey Malakhov
See also:
19 Dec 2022
How to Measure Organizational Project Management?
In a modern organization, it is impossible to manage programs, projects, and all project activities in general, blindly without the necessary information. The basis for forming such information can be a system of metrics that describes all areas of Organizational Project Management (hereafter — OPM) and consists of three groups: results metrics, project maturity metrics, and other organizational project management functioning metrics. In this article, we will talk about all of these groups.
09 Nov 2022
What are the Key Benefits of Organization Project Management Compared to Relying on PMs Capability only?
Standards and rules are a long-term investment, a kind of insurance against possible major damage in case of project failure. Like the principles by which any insurance works, its presence is invisible until everything is going well, so at some point, it may seem that your investment is in vain. And in general, unlike insurance, which works only after the occurrence of an insured event, investments in PM are even less noticeable, because they often prevent the occurrence of an insured event.
03 Nov 2022
Why do Some Project Managers Hate Project Management?
In many organizations, it is widely believed that project management is designed to make the life of a project manager easier and more convenient. And when the implementation of organizational project management does not work as planned and as a result does not bring the expected benefits, a natural question arises: what went wrong? One of the answers to it is very simple: project management for the project manager is a myth.
Never miss a story
We send announcements of articles and useful materials
Comment on the Article
Name, Surname

Comment has been successfully sent

An error occurred while sending. Try again

Back to top
Hi there! If you have any questions, we are available for you.
Скопировано в буфер обмена