November 30, 2011
Spotlight on Change Management
By Scott Cameron, Procter & Gamble, CII Implementation Strategy Committee Co-Chair
Austin, TX – At one point, early in my career as a project manager (PM), I assumed responsibility for another PM’s multi-phased project. From this experience, I learned how crucial it is to carefully develop an execution strategy capable of delivering the owner’s business need. If the execution strategy is unable to do this, it is imperative for the PM to have the flexibility to revise, recalibrate, and convince management to alter the original plan by means of a defined change management process. Such a process should create alignment between the owner organization and the contractors. Luckily, I was aware of CII’s approach to change management.
While the owners, contractors, and academics involved in capital projects all have a variety of procedures for dealing with changes, such measures generally deal with what to do after a change occurs rather than with how to manage the change and its project impacts. To improve this situation, the CII Project Change Management Research Team focused on the following objectives:
- Develop a better understanding of project change and its total project impact.
- Identify principles influencing the effective management of change.
- Provide best practice recommendations
The team determined that, to overcome the problems associated with change, project teams must be able to effectively manage it. Another finding was that, to create a balanced change management culture, the following three conditions must be met:
- All parties must be committed to recognizing changes and to increasing sensitivity to changes as the project progresses.
- Planning for potential changes should be initiated as early in the project as possible.
- All parties should agree that changes should be evaluated and agreed upon as expeditiously as possible.
Each phase of a project should have established change management procedures consistent with the following principles of effective change management:
- Promote a balanced change culture.
- Recognize change.
- Evaluate change.
- Implement change.
- Continuously improve from lessons learned.
As the project moves forward, the project team’s procedures will have to address increasingly detailed matters and establish more finite control.
These principles were important to me as I began to manage my inherited project. The PM I replaced considered it a simple project and had been eager to try some â€œinnovativeâ€� execution techniques. His execution strategy called for minimal engineering and construction efforts, and only required a handful of part-time manufacturing and engineering personnel to complete the project. The project team and upper management supported his plans. Unfortunately, under this strategy, the first phase of the project’s six phases was 30 percent over budget, did not meet its original start-up schedule, and was not meeting its target production goals.
After taking over the PM responsibilities and reviewing the project status, I determined that the project’s original execution strategy did not have the proper business focus. It was also clear that the original cost and schedule forecasts were insufficient for successful completion of the remaining five phases. The original strategy had failed to guarantee uninterrupted business operations, had focused on minimizing engineering costs instead of optimizing overall capital costs, and did not recognize the business importance of each project phase.
Rather than try to make the best of the original plan, I used the noted CII change management principles to develop a new execution strategy. This new strategy included a formal strategy for completing the remaining phases. It defined engineering/project teams for all remaining phases and treated each phase as a separate project with specific cost and schedule targets. The new plan also enabled the project teams to focus their energies and, therefore, achieve the desired business results. Team members were able to successfully relocate the businesses without occasioning any short-shipping or any delays of time-sensitive business initiatives.
As the PM assuming responsibility for another PM’s project, I learned that it is crucial to carefully develop an execution strategy capable of delivering the business need. CII’s resources for scope control and change management helped me do just that. The CII products I used were SP 43-1, Project Change Management, and EM 113-22, Scope Control and Change Management. An online course, TAL 113-32, Scope Control and Change Management, is also available through the CII Online Education Program. Other change management resources are catalogued within the change management area of the CII Knowledge Structure.
Return to CII news.