The Project Notebook

Put a Stake in the Ground

Change management is an often neglected and misunderstood area of Project Management. I don’t mean change at the micro level (as in scope changes), but change at the macro level. Many times our projects create change which isn’t readily embraced or is difficult to gain.

I once worked on a PeopleSoft Financials project in an accounting department which had only known “green screen” applications. The Windows OS was a new concept for them. There was a lot of fear and distress, not to mention concerns about being replaced by computers. But change was inevitable, and as a team, we sent them home with computers to try out games of solitaire and get accustomed to using a mouse.

That one was easy, but often change is more elusive. There can be lots of discussion and “socializing” a change, but there is a lot of resistance and inertia to overcome. Projects may even resist initiation because of the change they suggest. This resistance can be hard to overcome. One way to get some traction is to document your idea, build a model, paint a picture — let everyone know what you are thinking. Now, instead of just words, there is something to visualize. What’s more, an idea on paper is more tangible. So next time you are stuck getting acceptance of an idea or don’t know how to move forward, just put a stake in the ground to start the discussion.

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© 2010-2012 Ray W. Frohnhoefer, MBA, PMP, CCP