Introducing a common approach to projects

Why a common approach? Businesses looking to introduce and deploy a common approach to the selection and management of projects are often facing one or more of these challenges ....

  • Project management is undervalued as a discipline, project work is competing with the 'day job', and the business is burdened with many incomplete or stalled projects,
  • Successful growth has created the need for more formal disciplines to be introduced
  • The increased need for cross-functional, regional and global working makes a common language and approach to change essential,
  • A significant strategic change is being planned which requires a complex set of interdependent projects to implement it; the business is not geared up for this,
  • Ambitious change statements are made about what will be different in one to five years' time. However, implementing change is challenging and costly, changes difficult to sustain and the benefits hard to quantify.

Some tips ...

Tell a powerful story about why your business needs a common approach and let the story unfold, good and bad, as this common approach is being implemented.

Ensure the project approach selected is not just chucked into the pool of other initiatives and processes on the go, with employees left to make sense of it all - do the hard work up front, clarify and display how this project approach relates to what else is going on.

Resist mandating too much ... this will turn what should be an exciting journey into a bureaucratic nightmare, with paperwork becoming an end in itself.

One size does not fit all - allow flexibility and choice of templates, tools and approach dependent on the size and complexity of the project.

Don't leap directly to training project leaders, seeing the problem and solution residing exclusively with this level, a common approach relies on the engagement of every level of the business.

Create accountable roles for every project player from senior leaders to stakeholders.

Be prepared for the "What's in it for me?" question from everyone involved and affected by this common approach.

Build in real consequences for people working with the common approach to projects and for the times they chose to go there own way!

Equipping people to fulfil their roles and work with a common approach takes more than attending a workshop - think through workplace support, development, coaching and reinforcement.

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