Embedding a new approach
Embedding a tailored project management method based upon PRINCE2 means ensuring that individuals across the organization comprehend and use it correctly. Doing this require more than simply announcing a new tailored project management approach. It must be implemented uniformly, initiated effectively, and utilized practically.
To enable widespread and effective adoption of the new tailored method across the organization requires altering how people apply the project management method. This type of change typically can’t be achieved through a single project. Managing the creation and introduction of a project management method is better suited if it is carried out as a change programme.
Change management is a specialized activity that involves strategies to transition individuals, teams, and organizations from their existing ways of working to a new one. The goal is for the organization to reap benefits by transforming its operational methods.
Change management strategies
Change management strategies today merge psychology and engineering to develop reliable techniques for change. These methods utilize a diverse range of tools and approaches. The adoption of various change methods holds significance for how organizations and their leaders view change, manage it, and determine the success of their initiatives. Key to most change models is obtaining the cooperation of those who need to alter their work practices.
Steps to successful organizational change
To successfully implement change in an organization, five steps must be taken.
- Assess the current state.
- Identify necessary changes for the future state.
- Analyse the resilience and resistance levels of those affected.
- Develop necessary capabilities such as roles, processes, systems, culture, and behaviours.
- Engage and gain support from those impacted by the change.
Gaining stakeholder support
To gain stakeholder support, change management approaches should encompass more than just training. Coaching, mentoring, stakeholder engagement, marketing, and communications activities are all crucial in embedding a true comprehension of the need for change and its benefits. Change management involves not only managing facts, but also managing people’s expectations and perceptions.
Designing future ways of working
Tailoring a project management method should be reflected in its future state design. This design must consider the roles, processes, tools, and behaviours associated with using the method and supporting organizational units. Projects should integrate within an organization, so any processes, roles or approaches should mirror those already used.
Additionally, project management functions as a form of governance and therefore must align with the governing principles of the organization. This can include resource allocation, funding authorization, procurement of goods/services, audit protocols, accounting practices and HR considerations.
To fully support project management, the future state design must include more than just tailoring PRINCE2. It may be necessary for an organization to create a special audit team to assess compliance with the method if it is mandated. Sanctions may be applied to non-compliant project managers. These auditors will require special training, checklists, knowledge, and processes to support their work.
Alternatively, a less directive organization may provide mentors and coaches to help practitioners effectively use the method. These coaches must be familiar with the project management method, supporting techniques, and how to tailor them.
Organizations support project managers with communication tools and systems to reduce administrative overhead. These tools aid in planning, tracking, controlling changes, tracking risks and actions, and recording lessons. The PRINCE2 product description outlines such products.
Deploying the new method
To implement project management throughout an organization, the project management method and supporting tools must be rolled out. Change management activities are also necessary to promote the use of the method.
Communication of the new method must be consistent, including training content reflecting the concepts and terminology. Other activities may include communications, assurance, audit, mentoring, and coaching.
The deployment strategy must be carefully considered, as many specialist products may need to be created. Two options are the ‘big bang’ approach and the incremental approach.
The ‘big bang’ approach
The big bang approach activates the project management method and its supporting elements on the same day. This method is suitable for small or new organizations, but it has its drawbacks. The actual go-live date would be constrained by the longest lead element of the project, and early benefits may be lost. Additionally, there could be teething problems on launch, unless full trials have been carried out. To ensure success, trials must cover practicality and scalability. As the big bang approach focuses on a single go-live date, it can be managed as a project.
The incremental approach
For a flexible and practical approach to rolling out the new method, an incremental rollout is often best. This approach allows for early benefits and reduces the amount of change users must handle at once. It also enables progressive rollout by location, preventing resource overload. Essential launch features must be determined, with other features rolled out as they become available. Interim states may be necessary to bed in capabilities before further rollout.
Managing the rollout as a programme with tranches can better reflect interim operating states, as it requires multiple projects and change activities.
Tracking the progress of change during deployment and early operation is crucial. Failure to continue using a project management method after deployment results in wasted effort and cost. Active management of the method is necessary for ongoing benefits to the organization and improvement of organizational performance.
Improving organizational performance
A method should not be an end in itself, but rather as something aimed at improving organizational performance. Using a method requires skilled and competent individuals. Consistency in approach adds value. The method should remain relevant and engage stakeholders through feedback and involvement in communities of practice and user groups. Quality assurance, project assurance, and audits can provide evidence of the practices being used. Maturity models can show progression of capability.
Larger organizations create user communities to share knowledge and improve performance. Communities of practice can develop subject matter experts who take a leadership role and own relevant parts of the method.
An organization’s maturity is linked to its capability, while an individual’s competence is crucial. Encouraging the development of individual skills is important. One way to achieve this is by requiring individuals to obtain a ‘licence’ through achieving a prescribed competence level, such as by gaining certification, before managing projects.
Additional training and development can address any gaps in competencies. These skills and competencies should be traceable to parts of the method for seamless integration.
For training and development to be relevant, it must reflect both competencies and methods, especially at lower levels. Mentors or coaches can be utilized to guide experienced practitioners and ensure proper behaviour and method use without becoming mechanistic.