We are in the business of design, which is all about providing solutions and part of the solution is the successful delivery of that solution.
The “delivery” aspect of that solution is best achieved through good project management. We can enhance the design process by making the process of design and the experience of that design process efficient, comprehensive and rewarding, for both our clients and our company through effective project management.
Many organizations have come to the realization that they do not have the form of Project Management culture that has this consistent and positive effect on the delivery of their design solutions. Implementing any new culture is something that takes work but doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are some key, overarching steps in making this happen.
Assess Current State of Project Management
Before you can implement a change of any kind, you first need to determine what it is that needs changing. A company should do a thorough assessment of its current state of project management in order to determine what is working, what is not, what may be missing, what they want, etc. The result of this kind of honest assessment will be the basis around which a plan for change can be structured. We all know that the best approach to achieving an honest and accurate evaluation of anything is to have someone facilitate or at least participate who is not an integral part of that which is being evaluated. Therefore, there is value in bringing an outside party in to help with this assessment.
Plan for the Change
From the assessment, a determination is made as to WHAT will change. However, in order to make that change successful there must be a plan on HOW to change. This is known as a Change Management Plan.
Successful change management is a conscious and deliberate approach to significant changes in processes, teams, or organizations with minimal distractions to (or impact on) employees and operations. The Change Management Plan will not only map out HOW and WHEN the change will occur but also goes to great lengths explaining WHY the change is important. This ensures that those affected by the change are more likely to adopt and promote the change.
Establish the Participants of the Change
With the establishment of WHAT will change and HOW the change will be implemented, it is imperative to determine WHO will be instrumental in the implementation. The WHO includes not only those key participants in the rollout but all those stakeholders affected by the change.
These people will fall into categories ranging from Leaders of the change, Followers and adopters of the change, and Obstacles to the change. It is imperative to understand the implications of all of these categories of participants and how best to address them.
Implement the Change
With all decisions made and all necessary materials, information, infrastructure, and systems in place, it is time to actually begin the change. By now, everyone affected has been informed and educated about the reasons and impacts. They are ready, and hopefully willing, to get the necessary training and tools that will allow them to benefit from the new Culture of Project Management.
Nurture the Change
You have now gone through a thoughtful and deliberate process of planning for and implementing a significant change in your organization. Don’t be lulled into believing that you are done. No matter how well the message of change was received, or how enthusiastically stakeholders participated in the rollout, without ongoing support and nurturing of the change it is far too easy for people to fall back on old habits. So, continue the training, keep the feedback loop open, constantly re-assess and improve. Not until this is done will there be any hope of cultural change.
A consistent and sound practice of Project Management will result in greater success for both your clients and your company. As I shared before, this kind of change does not come without deliberate, focused, persistent effort, hard work and commitment. That said, however, it is very possible. And once the change becomes the normal way of doing business (cultural), you’ll ask yourself why you waited so long to do it.