Todd Williams

Todd Williams

Wednesday, 30 September 2015 15:47

The Catch-22 of Organizational Change Management

"Kotter, ADKAR, or CAP which methodology should we be using to build our approach to improving project adoption?" I hear this question repeatedly from people trying to implement an organizational change management (OCM) program. The problem is that is the wrong question. Take a perfunctory peek at any of the models and you will see that in the quest for an answer people have mistakenly jumped over the first few steps and they head down the road of failure. It is a Catch-22; unless you already have an OCM process in place, you will most likely fail at implementing it. Putting one in place, however, is a change—one of the most difficult cultural transformations your company will undertake. As a result, people jump to the solution stage, which is well down the change management process path (which, they did not know, ironically, since there was no procedure in place).

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A failing project’s fate is destined long before assigning a project manager. Its doom is sealed from the time the customer envisions the idea. Traditionally, project inception is defined as when the customer comes to a solution provider (internal or external to their organization) asking for a product or service. In actuality inception is much earlier. It starts when someone says, “Wouldn’t be neat if I could...” From that point forward the customer’s exceptions are set, changed, and reset as the process of discovery refines the concept. The customer’s ideas change from what they want to what they need, while continually constrained and formed by the realities of an ever-changing business environment. Although people cite unrealistic expectations as major problem during inception, the constant change in expectations causes the real issue—misalignment. For project managers to make a significant difference in a project’s success, they must use a new paradig.

Thursday, 24 September 2015 14:58

Strategic Alignment: The Key To Project Success

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Project success rates for many companies and government organizations are dismally low, yet executives never seem to look at the big picture. They continue to make adjustments in the way projects are run by addressing isolated problems. However, projects are part of a much larger system and should be addressed in that context. To do that, companies must define how their strategic plan will use people, projects, and technology to achieve their goals. This paper discusses one approach to make this happen.

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Project management has been accepted in many businesses as a discipline critical for continued growth. To improve project performance, companies have levied rules on how projects should be run, defined common reporting requirements for all projects, and pooled and shared their project management resources. Even with these functions, projects still struggle to meet the needs of the customer. In order to improve project outcomes, the way in which they are managed must change. Project managers must become leaders, paying more attention to soft skills, managing their stakeholders, and identifying solutions to organizational issues that are limiting project success. The following paper discusses techniques developed by the author to address these needs and improve project success rates.

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Value: Rather than scope, schedule, and budget, value is the lynch-pin of project success. Although the former three constraints are key factors in project success, there is no guarantee that meeting these constraints will result in a positive outcome. Instead constantly tracking the value of the project and making adjustments to the triple constraints to attain sufficient value is critical. Arguably this is the project managers most critical deliverable in the project. It requires significant insight into the project’s customer and a thorough understanding of their needs versus their wants. Project managers have to be leaders (leading subordinates, leaders, and customers), be able to assign priorities based on a critical, objective view.

Thursday, 24 September 2015 14:26

Challenges In Executive Project Sponsorship

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eCameron took a serious look at project sponsorship by conducting a series on non-scientific interviews. Initially the focus was the healthcare industry. As patterns started to emerge, however, others outside of that industry expressed serious interest. To address that interest and better understand the larger issue we expanded the interviews to outside healthcare. Candid and confidential interviews were conducted with project related personnel including executives, sponsors, project managers, and Project Management Office (PMO) managers. In summary:

  • Sponsorship is an issue in all business domains.
  • Good sponsorship is an essential component in creating successful projects.
  • Many issues are pervasive across industries.
  • Sponsors need to work with project managers to design a successful project outcome.
  • Sponsor roles are neither properly defined nor supported.

This white paper presents the results of the research and highlights areas where organizations need to improve to change their project success rates.

Thursday, 24 September 2015 12:16

Your CRM Implementation Is Going To Fail

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) implementations fail at an alarming rate. For the last fourteen years, numerous independent parties have come up with the same dismal statistics. In fact, your implementation probably will not meet your goals either. The graphic above does not bode well for anyone heading out on that journey. To be sure, configuring the software is significantly more difficult that it appears at first glance. As much as one wants to blame Salesforce, Microsoft, or some other software vendor, though, the trouble lies much closer to home.

For the astute onlookers it is easy to tell when the implementation is going the awry. It is the argument over who is going to drive the project—IT or Sales and Marketing. Unfortunately, these are the wrong people to have in the discussion.

Sunday, 13 September 2015 17:47

IT: We Don't Need No Stinking Leadership

I have never posted email marketing results, because... well, let's face it... it is kind of tacky. Now and then, however, there is a story to be told. In my opinion, this set of statistics is a little over-the-top in what it shows. I can only see one way to interpret it other than Information Technology "leaders" simply do not care about leadership.

To understand how I can make such a brash statement, you need a little background...

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Projects are never a success when they are delivered—their product must be adopted to declare success. Whether you are delivering a process for HR, creating new model of cell phone for your customers, or implementing a new ERP system for your company, if they do not see value in the output of your project, it is a failure. Most project teams, however, are focused on maintaining scope, schedule, and budget, they are far removed from the end-user, and they have little concept on how to persuade someone to use what they are developing. The fact of the matter is, though, that if they are the first people involved in the making a tangible product that their customers can use, adapt, and enhance to create value.

Organization Change Management for Project Teams helps your project manager, their teams, and their stakeholders:

“He did a fantastic job. In three and a half hours he not only familiarized our people with the psychology of change, but also walked them through how the proposed changes for next year will impact them and our clients.”

Christine Herb, VP Professional Services
Institute of Management Accountants

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