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2013/04/17

Columbus Or Change Request Matter.

Today is the 521st anniversary of the so called «Capitulations of Santa Fe». An Italian sailor called Cristofero Colombo negotiated a contract with the Spanish monarchs about the conditions of his endeavour to find a sea route to India. Not only Columbus requested 10% of all the riches he would seize on his way but he was given the honour of an Admiral of the Ocean Sea, a Viceroy and the title «Don».

The first time he tried to negotiate all this he was turned down. But Queen Isabella I supported him and summoned another assembly. They made a risk assumption and declared that the loss was insignificant if the adventure failed while the gain was huge if Columbus succeeded.

Well, we all know that the endeavour did not work out as planned since Columbus got the continents wrong. But – by sheer luck – the gain for the sailor and his employers was huge. The sea-route he found was after all the beginning of the Spanish colonial rule.

Nowadays historians assert that Columbus’ requirements were beyond reason and the Queen did not have the competence to accept them. This is high level politics. The ones who decide what to do with the resources do not own them hence they do not have to suffer the consequences. On the other hand if the plan works out eternal fame is theirs.

Change Requests in Projects

In an average project the risks, their classification and cost have to be covered by the project budget and the ones who take a risk typically have to bear the consequences.

Still, if it comes to change request Columbus establishes a great example. All the important points have been taken into account:

  1. What is the actual situation?
  2. What result is expected from the planned change?
  3. If the change is not performed how does this influence the project?
  4. What resources are required for the change? (time, money and conditions)
  5. Who has to approve the change and within what delay?

These questions have to be answered in any project. No matter if you are about to build an empire or if you wish to close your project successfully.

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So far this is the final part about Change Management. Please find the previous articles below:

Source for Columbus’ biography: Wikipedia

 

2013/04/02

The King’s Speech.

Last week we spoke about change management within a project. Change is again the subject of this week.

Most people dislike change. An amendment of the computer system is enough for a sleepless night, let alone the countless reorganisations within the company. Changes bring insecurity and fear about. This is something they have in common with decisions. For this reason both are postponed or avoided even if they lead to substantial improvements.

Life itself is perpetual movement which necessarily leads to change. And change comes along with decisions. Even a decision which has not been taken is counted as such. But it has the disadvantage of an incontrollable outcome.

The management of a company is responsible for decisions and their implementation within the organisation. Of course they should support the productivity of the firm. Welcome to change management. Productivity depends on the motivation, the loyalty and the skills of the employees. And they need a goal. Every manager knows this; theoretically. In real life things are much different. Change of jobs, organisation and processes are announced by e-mail. Why this was needed is mentioned in one or two phrases at best. The slogan «our employees are our greatest asset» is an omnipresent lip-service.

I do not argue that an enterprise needs a hierarchy to a certain extent nor do I deny that it would be counterproductive to discuss everything with the stuff. Some subjects are as well confidential.

Yes. Communication.

Nevertheless, treating the employees like chessmen and simply presenting them with a fait accompli is incompatible with motivation and loyalty. As we already established change management is indispensable within a project. It has to be in line with the communication matrix that rules who must be informed about what and when. Given this is mandatory in a project how much more important it is in the company itself!

Large enterprises are using social media technologies like videos even for internal use This turns a manager – at least temporarily – into a movie maker but they report excellent results as these technologies enable them to inform the staff continually and target-oriented.

No matter what form of communication might be suitable for your enterprise: without an adequate communication concept it will be difficult. You will want your employees supporting all your projects right from the start. We happily support you with the elaboration of your concept as we strongly believe that this will prevent you from many project rescues.

2013/03/26

Story 04 | 2013: April Weather Or Change Management?

Filed under: change. english.,story.english. — Tags: , , , — supernova @ 7:54 AM

April is well known for its whims and we all know that one can see a dozen of different kinds of weather within a single day.

Mr. Spok from «Startreck» is right when he claims that changes were essential for all existence. Not only is this correct for biological evolutionary theories but also for IT projects. Every project manager is familiar with the latter.

Nevertheless we notice that change management is given far too little attention. A project is a process that in the end is supposed to deliver a solution, which brings some added value to the company. Many eye openers are brought to the team members while establishing this solution. How often the way we have to go is different from the one that has been anticipated.

Theoretically, everybody knows that such a situation requires an official change request. And exactly at this point one will know if the project is an organization or has more resemblance to the April weather.

It is crucial that there is a well-documented and known change process in place. Who is allowed to apply for a change? Who must approve it and within what delay. Still we are not sure if the process really works of if the change request is just another dust collector on someone’s desk.

Moreover, precise estimations of time and resources need for a change help to keep – or at least to control – the project targets regarding time and cost of the project. You know that I will come up with another prerequisite, don’t you? To facilitate this we need an exact description of the project solution, a realistic project plan containing resource assignments and milestones.

It is often faster to just implement the change without all this processes and formalities. True, just not on the long run. The project will not end up with only one change and very soon milestones have to be shifted and budgets must be increased. And after all, who still knows how far the solution is away from the original target? This phenomenon is called «scope creep» and happens frequently. It is after all one of the main reasons why projects get out of kilter.

Our specialization in project rescue supports us to not only solve problems but also to prevent them. Please ask us, we happily support you.

 

 

 

 

 

This posting can be downloaded as a pdf-file.