Thought Leadership Articles

    Are you lost in a Project Management maze?

    Nov 19, 2021 | Posted by Stuart Watson

    Suddenly found yourself thrust into the middle of a challenging project or programme, and people are using terms like RACI, Governance, GANTT, Risks, Dependencies and Actions, and you’re not sure which way to turn?

    If you’re anything like me, then that is an all too familiar scenario, or certainly one I faced quite a lot in the early part of my career. With a background in the social sciences, I had hoped that my time at university would have prepared me to take my place in the corporate world, focusing on people, in the People, Process, Technology spheres. Hidden behind the blank stare of ignorance faced with all these new terms, I wondered if I should not rather have studied the discipline of project management? Certainly, from what was before me, it seemed like Project Managers (PM’s) ruled the corporate world - they spoke directly to sponsors, called all the meetings (and the shots), and seemed to be the true point on which everything of importance turned.

    Do I need to change my career path?

    Alright, breathe, and don’t forget to avoid the inevitable panic…. Going back to first principles, I knew that there must be room for the people side of change. As I tried to make sense of this, I reflected back on one of the pivotal models I came across in my first formal Prosci change management training programme in the early 2000’s – the Prosci Change Triangle (PCT).

    According to the PCT model, delivering on the objectives of a project/programme (or delivering on time and within budget as the PM’s would say) requires strong leadership/sponsorship, project management and change management.

    Prosci PCT triangle

    So, there is room for the people side of change after all; but it is true that we need to work closely with PM’s, under the direction and support of a strong sponsor to reach the desired. outcomes.

    You’re not speaking French!

    In an episode of sitcom Friends, Phoebe is helping Joey to prepare for an audition by learning to speak French. The learning experience doesn’t go well, and eventually, as her frustration begins to show, Phoebe exclaims, ‘You’re not speaking French!’, and storms out on their lessons. This recollection got me thinking about how change managers interact with project managers, and the importance of being able to speak their language. I mean, what if I’m not speaking PM?

    If you’re not communicating with someone in their language, something is going to get lost/go missing. So, it may help to learn about the world of the project manager – but not only to allow us to communicate - if the people side of change is to become (and remain) relevant/meaningful, it would be important to ensure that the work we do is delivered in a structured way, within a specific timeframe, taking into account dependencies on other activities and milestones.

    Do I need to go back to Uni?

    Maybe - I believe in the principle of lifelong learning, and perhaps you will need to enrol for further tertiary education at some stage. But to get you through where you may be right now, it may be worth considering a one day 101 skills builder programme, called Project Management for Change that will cover the basics of project management, and answer questions like:

    • What is project management?
    • What is the project lifecycle?
    • What are risks, dependencies and actions and how are these recorded and reported?
    • What does governance mean in a project setting?
    • What is a RACI?
    • And why is all of this important?

    Learn more

    Find out more about our CMC Skills Builder, Project Management for Change, and join us at an upcoming date for your 101 in Project Management.

    And remember you can get in touch for a conversation around how we can support you, and how we can meet your needs as an organisation.


    Topics: project management


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