How to Make Improvement Initiatives Succeed

What's the foremost risk to implementing Project Management improvements? The same thing that threatens any business change initiative. It requires change!

Improvement, by definition, represents change. As humans, our natural resistance to change is the single greatest barrier to creativity and innovation, the foundational elements of improvement. In our experience, Project Management improvement initiatives often struggle or fail because like any other business reengineering efforts, they require change across the organization.

When an organization stimulates our natural resistance with a history of unsuccessful improvement initiatives, it only fuels a change resistant corporate culture to be overly cautious of "business improvement" efforts. Throw in a flawed implementation strategy or an implementation team unequipped to overcome these challenges and you have an award-winning recipe for failure. When organizations overlook this or discredit the importance, they often are overpowered organizational inertia. As a result, they spend a lot of money, waste a lot of effort and create a lot of frustrating with little or no “improvement” or value to the business. In fact, many are in a worse position in many ways then they were before they started.

Organizations that get the best results out of these types of initiatives avoid this scenario by ensuring:

  1. Their implementation strategy pragmatically facilitates adoption through organizational, process and technology alignment.
  2. An experienced implementation team, dedicated full-time, is devoted to the strategies while managing the initiative. 
  3. They have a clear picture of the future state that delivers the improvement as early as possible.
  4. A common understanding exists company-wide, from top to bottom, for how the improvements align to overarching business strategies and will result in positive business impacts.

Unfortunately, teams involved in improvement initiatives often become infatuated with methodologies and the bells and whistles of the fabulous new technology and lose sight of the actual business issues and desired results.

To realize full business value of the implemented Project Management improvements, you must gain full support and cooperation of the receiving organizations. Your professionals make this work, not technology. It is true that technology is a critical enabler however; technology alone is not the solution. Do you have proven process and change management practices? If not, focus on coming up with good strategies for these in your implementation plans. 

Installing and setting up technology that works in your IT architecture is easy. To reap the rewards from the investment, you must implement technology that works for the business. Accordingly, that poses a much greater challenge.

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