One of the key aspects of managing a change project is communication. Appreciating that the perception of the various stakeholders will vary at every stage of the process is key to ensuring the right message gets to the right person.
Allowing for cultural differences, preferences for consuming information, communication styles all impact on how a message is best delivered.
I’ve managed many projects over the last 15+ years. Ranging from smaller digital projects using outsourced technical teams to large process re-engineering finance transformation projects and organisational changes in multinational organisations.
In various articles on this site I have highlighted the importance of various aspects of project management, from the project sponsor through to team effectiveness. I personally do not think project management needs to be complicated. Invariably a well documented project plan and sound communication skills go a long way to ensuring a project can be delivered on time and in budget.
There are numerous project methodologies which emphasise different things from statistical analysis through to a plethora of project management documentation. These include, Six Sigma, Lean, Agile, Prince 2, PMP etcetera. However, irrespective of what methodology you follow there are a core number of sections to a project, that can be thought of as questions, that need to be managed and understood by the leadership team and filtered through the project team and wider organisation as appropriate:
Scope: What are we doing and by when.
Business Case: Why are we doing what we are doing.
Project Team: Who is on the project, how will they cope with their normal work load (have we provided resource for what they normally spend their time doing). Who is the project sponsor and do we need a steering committee to sign off at key tollgates/milestones.
Project Timeline: We’ve broken the project down into its constituent parts – what do we need by when and who is allocated to do it.
Progress Testing: In IT projects we have Conference Room Pilots and User Acceptance Testing. But in a nutshell – when are we having thorough testing of our project progress and who needs to be involved. What does a successful test look like?
Go live / Project completion: What was the original scope/aim of the project, are we now ready to hand the finished article over to the business.
On-going support/Business as usual: Once the project phase is complete you want to have a mechanism to ensure the objectives of the project are continuing to be met.
These steps are not exhaustive but they are the core areas of a project. The complexity and amount of detail needed at each step will of course depend on the nature of the project. These steps with a well thought out communication plan, risk management approach and appropriate budget control are the fundamental areas of project management.