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Episode 339: Change Management Strategy: A Practical Approach (Free)

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Jack Ferraro
Cornelius Fichtner and Jack Ferraro

This interview with Jack Ferraro was recorded at the 2015 PMI Global Congress in Orlando, Florida. We discuss his paper and presentation "Measure Twice, Change Once: Practical Strategies for Change Management". Here is the paper's abstract:

Sound change management processes and behaviors link strategy and execution teams. They enable portfolio managers, executive leadership, and program and project teams to increase their organization’s ability to react effectively to change.

This paper presents a comprehensive approach to making an organization more responsive to change by means of effective structuring, planning, and measuring of change management across portfolios, programs and projects. It explores the role of change management in portfolio management and how to structure an organization for successful change. It discusses the value of measuring change management and how to best do so before, during, and after the change process.

With effective structuring, planning, and measuring of change management efforts, organizations can achieve effective change when challenged by resource constraints and conflicting executive priorities.

Episode Transcript

Below are the first few pages of the transcript. The complete transcript is available to Premium subscribers only.

Podcast Introduction

Cornelius Fichtner: Hello, everyone and welcome back to the 2015 PMI Global Congress at Disneyworld in Orlando in Florida. Welcome back to the Project Management Podcast. With me right now is Jack Ferraro and we want to discuss his paper and presentation, "Measure Twice, Change Once: Practical Strategies for Change Management". Hello, Jack.

Jack Ferraro:   Hello, Cornelius. Good to see you again.

Cornelius Fichtner:   Welcome back. It looks like we're meeting each other every year at this conference or a similar one.

Jack Ferraro:   Then it's a great wonderful thing to see you again.

Cornelius Fichtner:   Okay. So let me ask you my first question here that's the same one that I'm asking everybody at the congress. 2016 is around the corner, what do you see as trends coming our way?

Jack Ferraro:   Yes, I saw your email, you gave a little heads up on this question which I certainly appreciate.

Cornelius Fichtner:   I don't want to just jump in on you.

Jack Ferraro:   I think I really see two main trends at the organizational level or at the organizational project management level. I see a trend towards increasingly adapting high breed type of methodologies where people might be using Agile at one point of the organization or more traditional, Waterfall, or PMBOK® processes in another part of the organization. And in some cases, trying to meld this together and blend them together. So I think, from an organizational standpoint, I see this highbred approach becoming a trend. From a practitioner's standpoint, I think the trend really still eases around this identity crisis, the identity crisis of the project manager, now that project management is really for everyone. And I've seen a lot of organizations having business leaders, functional managers, technical managers, run projects, take the role of the project manager. So from an individual standpoint, I still think there's a level of anxiety around this identity crisis in terms of where the professional project manager fits in to some of these highbred lifecycles.

Cornelius Fichtner:   All right. Practical Strategies for Change Management is the title of your paper and presentation which you did this morning to a full ballroom, I hear. Why did you select this topic? What interest you in strategies for change management?

Jack Ferraro:   Well, I think one area where project managers can really distinguish themselves is around change management, in terms of how they deliver project management services to their organization. My view of this is you know, projects are the main vehicle or tool that organizations use to drive change in their organizations. To adapt, to achieve strategies, implement strategies and so on. So by nature, the definition of a project is it's about implementing change. And I think change management, the getting the attitudes, the capabilities, the urgency around the strategic projects and programs is a very critical competency that needs to be taken seriously, particularly when there's large amounts of money at stake. Programs that might be, you know, in the millions of dollars or tens of millions of dollars. There's a tremendous risk of not achieving the benefits that have been - let's say, guaranteed or sold to senior management if they are not the proper change management activities applied and integrated into the program or project.

Cornelius Fichtner:   Okay. Change has various facets. What type of change are we talking about here? Are we talking about change in corporate strategy or changes that are introduced by running a project and putting it into operations?  Or are we talking about a change request on my project? Or are we talking about all of these?

Jack Ferraro:   That's an excellent question. In the practice guide for change management that was published by PMI, it really defines first order, second order, and third order changes. My topic or my presentation is really geared towards the second and third order changes. The second order changes is where you're really changing how people do their work, changing their processes, and changing their attitudes in some extent in terms of what their role may be, what's important to them, what's important to the company. These changes are difficult to implement and they're not easy to reverse. So if they're not implemented properly, they're very difficult to reverse. First order changes are more procedural based, things that can be implemented quickly, easily understood and easily reversed as well. When we get to the third order changes, this really deals with, you know, when you talk about organizational strategy where really the purpose or the mission behind the organization might be changing or evolving. So people have to wrap their heads around this new strategy, this new identity as an organization, that requires significant change management activities as well. My presentation, my topic really doesn't address sort of the change order components and the tactical change order to maintain scope control, things like that. It's really more about the organization’s ability and willingness to implement these changes to achieve the benefits that are needed for the organization.

Cornelius Fichtner:   All right. Your presentation has three main parts and we're going to take a look at all three a little bit. First of all, we talked about Portfolio Management and Change Management. How are those two connected?

Jack Ferraro:   Well, you think of it this way. Project teams create product service and results that impact or change how organizations operate. While they're doing that, executives are often evolving organizational strategies to create new projects, new programs that change how project teams operate. So essentially, the connection here with change management is that we have to embed change management activities into our portfolio management because we are, as we change portfolios, as we update strategies and have these portfolio components changed or reprioritized, that is going to impact the execution of our project teams which are obviously then trying to obviously impact change at the business or operational level. So I think change management, the connection is change management isn't just for project teams delivering to customers but it's also about executives and portfolio managers delivering change to PMOs, to program teams, project teams. 

Cornelius Fichtner:   You also talked about addressing a lack of strategic agility, so not being able to move quickly within your organization. How can we address that? 

Above are the first few pages of the transcript. The complete transcript is available to Premium subscribers only. Please subscribe to our Premium Podcast to receive a PDF transcript.

Tags: PDUs: Strategic and Business Management, Project Change Management, PMI Global Congress, PMI Global Congress NA 2015

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