It’s not what you do that matters

It’s what you deliver.

I recently participated in a Government project review.  I really liked the project manager – young, dynamic, articulate, driven – absolutely brilliant until asked what she thought her job was. To which she replied, “…to make sure this process works”.

She had been captured by the process, not the project.

Projects are simple to understand: a deliverable, a timeframe, and a budget.  Success is easy to define – achievement of the deliverables, on time, and inside budget.

Expressing what is to be delivered is the hard part.  The project might be buying trucks, but the deliverable is mobility.  One might contract for an ITIL-compliant Service Desk, but the deliverable isn’t the product it is ITIL-compliant services.  We ran a project to fly a communications satellite.  The deliverable was not a satellite but communications between ground sites.  Would have worked better if the client had also contracted the ground infrastructure at the same time, but managing the multiple approval processes was too complicated so they did it sequentially.  Predictably they had a satellite and limited ground infrastructure to use it.

Seriously? Seriously!

Activity without outcome.

“So many change managers, so little change.”

Changing the way people think, work and manage is not an easy task.  We engage change managers – organisational change managers to be more precise.  An entire industry to deal with the human and organisational side of change.  Job descriptions will change in any major project.  So too will process, rules, and organisational frameworks.  People will need to be told what is happening, upskilled, and retrained.  Engagement is key, a plan to deal with these issues is essential.  They don’t have to want to change, they have to be shown the compelling reason for change and the alternatives.

It’s the role of the change manager to deliver that change – to ensure the organisation with its people are ready and can accommodate the change in the timeframe it is needed.

In the end, it is about deliverables – the realisation of the benefits.  We are not a big fan of the never-ending demand for more time, the excuse that “the organisation is not ready”.  Our focus is on deliverables – understanding the benefits, maximising the benefits, delivering the benefits.

We embrace project management practices and essential change processes.  We seek contribution and participation through communication and collaboration to ensure change is embedded and sustainable.

Ultimately though, some change will need to be driven. It needs strong governance, escalation, and pathways to leadership.

It’s not the activity that provides benefit, it’s what is delivered.