How project leaders can guide their projects through times of change – The

One thing you can totally rely on when managing projects is change. It is inevitable that you will encounter at least one – and probably many – changes throughout a project. Some of these you may not anticipate as epidemics, but for most you can plan. How you manage these changes will be a key factor in the success of a project.

“In today’s dynamic and competitive world, the main challenge for a project manager is to deal with frequent unforeseen events,” wrote Alexander Laufer, director of the Consortium for Project Leadership at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and co-author of MIT Sloan Management.

Change is especially difficult to deal with if project plans are not innately flexible. A rigid plan creates roadblocks that prevent project leaders from making quick adjustments. There are strategies that business analysts and project managers can work on working together to address changes and barriers that would otherwise complicate project progress and ultimate success.

Accept changes requests and effects

This may seem like common sense, but accepting a request for change is an important strategy for managing a project through a period of change. The nature of change is disruptive and uncomfortable, so the first instinct is often to ignore it or say “no”. Although it is not healthy for a project, because some changes can improve the outcome of the project.

Project stakeholders and company decision makers do not want to hear that a request is impossible without presenting solutions or resolution options. Karen Nimmo, CEO of Productive Collective Consultancy, writes that when project managers respond immediately with a “no” to change, “dialogue ends, collaboration fails, and innovation ceases.” It is important that when a change is requested, the idea is brought to the table for at least collaborative discussion, he explains, calling it a “‘yes, and …’ policy.”

From there, you can present your results and guide your stakeholders in data-driven decisions. “Don’t let your immediate response stop the problem; Instead, take a second to think about it before you decide on the best one, ”advises Jillian Sibthorpe, Sports Presentation, a certified Scrummaster and Product Manager at Sky Betting and Gaming in the UK.

Set criteria for evaluating change events

The process of evaluating change requests or unexpected change events will be much smoother if there are already criteria for evaluating change effects. What you don’t want to happen is that an unexpected change will happen and you have to fly and create evaluation criteria.

Jane Suchan, director of REI’s IT business office, wrote: “It is vital that these evaluation criteria be set before they become necessary so that time is not wasted in reaching a consensus.” “Setting these parameters will help balance the overall business goals and benefits.” Those criteria should include an assessment of time and schedule, budget, business requirements and resources, due dates, quality arrangements and the impact of stakeholder expectations.

Focus on the data for decision making

In order for business analysts and all other stakeholders to understand the impact of change, those assessments must be driven by data. “Accurate data confirms that companies make the best decisions based on the information available to them,” wrote Moira Alexander, founder of PMWorld 360 magazine.

A variety of analyzes can be performed on project data to ensure that project-friendly decisions are made at the time of change. Cisco Transformation Director Luke Desmond explains four types of analysis:

  • Descriptive analysisWhich involves interpreting historical data for a better insight into the past

  • Diagnostic analysisWhich investigates why this has happened in the past.

  • Approximate analysisWhich provides information for making predictions about the future.

  • Instructional analysisWhich seeks to find the best possible course of action in a particular situation.

By aggregating data and performing accurate analytics, business analysts are armed to guide projects in times of change.

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