The Big Picture of Project Management - Leading Technology Change  

The trade press contains stories about technology project failure rate and the impact of the "soft" side of implementation. Researchers have cataloged the causes: the top technology implementation problems were people related. Lack of user involvement is a key reason for project failure.

Communicating about upcoming change helps to avoid uncertainty and user resistance. This principle gets more lip service than actual practice. When introducing new technology, the key to launching successful change is a model that addresses both the mind and the emotions in a synergistic approach to change leadership. A positive outcome is based on the conviction that the process is as important as the product. Failed initiatives cost money, affect morale and lead to employee turnover. The willingness of management to share its information and address the concerns of its people is summed up in the principle that "No One Succeeds Unless Everyone Succeeds."

One always pays the "people price" - either upfront or at the back end. Getting early buy-in takes longer at the start, but it makes up for the time later when people need no convincing to initiate the adjustments that a change requires. Those who get insufficient input from users are hampered during implementation and may not ever recover. The result is disastrous, particularly in the area of Business Process Reengineering. Uninvolved users often find that critical issues have been ignored or misunderstood and they reject or find work-arounds for the new system.

This presentation, The Big Picture of Project Management, was delivered at the 2007 International Conference of the International Association for Management of Technology (IAMOT) in Miami Beach, Florida.


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