Implementation of Project management methodology - Strategic Planning for Project Management

It has often been said that the most difficult projects to manage are those that involve the management of change. Figure below shows the four basic inputs needed to develop a project management methodology. Each of these four inputs has a “human” side that may require that people change.

Successful development and implementation of a project management methodology requires:

  • Identification of the most common reasons for change in project management and why these reasons occur.
  • Identification of the ways to overcome the resistance to change.
  • Application of the principles of change management to ensure that the desired project management environment will be created and sustained.

Methodology imputs:

Methodology imputs

For simplicity’s sake, resistance can be classified as departmental resistance and personal resistance to change. Organizational resistance occurs when a functional unit as a whole feels threatened by project management. This is shown in Figure below. Examples include:

  • Sales: The sales staff’s greatest resistance to change arises from fear that project management will now take credit for corporate profits, thus reducing the year-end bonuses for the salesforce. Sales personnel fear that
  • Resistance to change:

    Resistance to change

    project managers may become involved in the sales effort, thus diminishing the power of the salesforce.
  • Marketing: Marketing people fear that project managers will end up working so closely with the customers that they may eventually be given some of the marketing and sales functions. This fear is not without merit because customers often want to communicate with the personnel managing the project rather than with marketing staff, who may well disappear after the closure of the sale.
  • Finance (and accounting): These departments fear that project management will require the development of a project accounting system (such as earned value measurement), which, in turn, will increase the workload in accounting and finance. Accounting personnel are not happy with having to learn earned value measurement, and having to perform accounting both horizontally (i.e., in projects) and vertically (i.e., in line groups).
  • Procurement: The fear among this group is that a project procurement system will be implemented in parallel with the corporate procurement system, and that the project managers will perform their own procurement, thus bypassing the procurement department.
  • Human resources management: The H. R. department may fear that a project management career path ladder will be created, not to mention a need for project management training programs. Human resources personnel may find that their traditional training courses, with which they feel very comfortable, have to undergo major change to satisfy project management requirements. This will increase their workloads.
  • Manufacturing: Little resistance is usually found here because, although the manufacturing segment of a company is not project-driven, staff there are usually familiar with numerous capital installation and maintenance projects, which will have required the use of project management.
  • Engineering, R&D, and Information Technology: These departments are almost entirely project-driven with very little resistance to project management. Project management is viewed as a necessity. Getting the support of and partnership with functional management in the involved departments can usually overcome the resistance that exists on an organi



zational level. However, the resistance that may occur on an individual level is usually more complex and more difficult to overcome. Individual resistance levels may result from:

  • Potential changes in work habits
  • Potential changes in the social groups
  • Embedded fears
  • Potential changes in the wage and salary administration program

Tables below show how these different issues can lead to resistance, and list possible solutions. It is imperative that we understand the resistance to change. If individuals are happy with their current environment, there will always be resistance to change. But even if people are unhappy with their present environment, there will still exist resistance to change unless:

  • people believe that the change is possible, and
  • people believe that they will somehow benefit from the change.

People are usually apprehensive over what they must give up rather than excited about what they will get in return. Not all people will be at the same readiness level for change even if the entire organization is going through the change.

People will handle only so much change at one time and, if management eases up on its pressure for change, employees will revert back to their old ways. Management is the architect for the change process. Management must develop the appropriate strategies such that the organization can align itself with change. This is best done by developing a shared understanding with the employees expected to make the change.




Performing the following can facilitate the change process:

  • Management must explain to the employees the reasons for the change and solicit feedback.
  • Management must explain to the employees what outcomes are desired and why.
  • Management must champion the change process.
  • Management must empower the appropriate individuals to institutionalize the changes.
  • Management must be willing to invest in training necessary to support the changes.

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Strategic Planning for Project Management Topics