How PMOs can smooth the path of projects, to help make changes more “sticky”
This session was on how PMO professionals can help projects to deliver organisational change more effectively. There were several interesting take-away messages, of which I found the most interesting to be:
- If you want a change to “stick” (without people reverting to the old way of doing things), it is just as important to get the people ready for the change (Change Management) as it is to get the change ready for the people (producing project deliverables).
- The most successful Change projects allow stakeholders time to “grieve” for the old ways, and time to become familiar with the new ways. These projects put in consistent effort to maintain momentum on the journey from the “as is” to the “to be”, until the post-change ways become “the new normal”
- Small pilots (preferably including some vocal objectors) can generate early successes that can be used as good news stories to spread the word and help to form positive opinions.
- Change projects may well be asking BAU workers to carry extra work above and beyond their “day jobs” (with all its targets and objectives). During major changes, a significant proportion of people experience sufficient stress so as to pose a risk to their mental health. What can projects do to help organisations come through the Change experience still healthy?
- Just telling people about the Change and what will happen will only get you so far. Listening to stakeholders and demonstrating what you have done with their feedback will get you much farther.
PMOs (especially PfMOs) have a unique position on the interface between the projects being carried out to effect organisational change, and the people out in the wider organisation who experience the change happening to them. So PMOs can help changes to stick by:
- Including change management themes in project reporting (at least as a RAG category, or preferably as a measured deliverable).
- Devising and delivering approaches to express change management as a quantified KPI.
- Becoming the “eyes and ears” of projects; picking up informal stakeholder views on projects.
- Project and Programme PMOs can also make change easier internally by providing good quality inductions for new project team members.
So those were the key points for me (Lindsay’s are here) from what was a very informative and useful session on how PMO professionals can help to make change “sticky”.
First published in 2015