Changing Technology, Process or organizations – Mistakes to Avoid in Change Management

I recently had the pleasure of participating in an article on Process Change.  Kathleen Irwin had been tasked with putting together the article to uncover tips on Costly mistakes that organizations should avoid when attempting to change technology, process(workflow) or team structure.

You can read the entire article over at Software Advice’s site Process Change Gone Wrong: Costly Mistakes Businesses Should Avoid.

For those of you that want the “readers digest version”, here is a short synopsis of the article:

Ms. Irwin starts out with some basic principles that most seasoned project managers already know – effective management strategies can make or break a project!   She sights some reports, including one from PMI, that show how as many as half of the projects which involve a change component fail.

The article goes on to share tips from several experts (and they even included my humble opinions) on common types of change companies undertake, common mistakes made, and tips for avoiding them.

  • Technology Changes – common mistakes
    • Adopting Unnecessary Technology
    • Overlooking Simpler solutions
    • Not getting buy-in from End users
  • Workflow Changes – common mistakes
    • Ignoring the Project Management triangle and principle
    • Failure to Understand the Existing Process
    • Communicating Poorly With Employees
  • Organization or Team Structure Changes to Avoid – common mistakes
    • Eschewing Diversity
    • Overvaluing Raw Credentials
    • Assuming Employees Are Interchangeable

The final summary is very clear –

…. all of our experts emphasized the importance of focusing on the human elements of change. As Eastman wisely notes, “The only way that the change is successful is if human beings actually use it.”

Bottom line manage the change and include people!!


Top 3 Reasons Key Performers are Essential

Our team has been in staffing mode for the last 2 weeks (Or as our HR staff says “Talent Acquisition mode”). Every time I am involved in starting up a new large program I start thinking about the people we are staffing into key project roles. I am constantly reminded by advisors that not everyone can be a “star performer” when we are choosing the project’s team and I know that to be true from years of managing people and projects.

So I always focus my attention on ensuring we get the top talent and skills in the key roles and positions. I came across and interesting blog post that summarized my reasons for this focus really well – even though it was not talking specifically about staffing a project.

Dr. Karen McGraw, President of Silver Bear Group, wrote a post on the Top 3 Reasons Key Performers are Essential to an HPI Analysis for the Human Capital Blog which performance consultants read. I figure that if performance analysts have tips on focusing on key performers, then so should managers.

Karen lists 3 reasons why key performers are essential to doing a Human Performance Analysis and they line up perfectly with why we as managers should ensure we have key performers in critical positions:

  1. They produce the outcomes that drive business results. Needs no further explanation!
  2. They have best practices and tips they can share. The top performers are going to provide leadership and practices to the whole team.
  3. They know how to work around barriers and across boundaries. I just wrote about forming coalitions in the last post (PMs dealing with Politics) and pointed out the need for working around barriers and across teams.

So there you go – short and to the point.  Your key performers are what will define the success of your organization or project.  Pick them wisely.  Human performance professionals already know this. As managers, we should follow their lead!


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