Dealing with Organizational Changes
July 6, 2011 Leave a comment
For any of us that have spent time within the corporate world, we are all cognizant of organizational changes, realignments, business unit restructurings, and so forth. They are a fact of life for any company.
The period and frequency of changes can vary from organization to organization. Some companies can keep a particular organizational structure in place for years, while others feel the need to revamp their particular structure every six months.
Whatever the case, changes are a fact of life and must be dealt with, especially from the project manager’s perspective. So what are some key concepts that a project manager should be cognizant of in order to be able to handle these changes?
1. Always Stay Abreast of Changes
When changes do occur, they generally don’t just materialize from thin air. Usually, a lot of thought goes into any organizational structure realignment within a company. As such, before any change will occur, there will likely be some key contacts that might be able to give you a little insight into the planned changes. A little sleuthing will be helpful in determining what changes might directly impact your area. Note that rumors may actually deviate from the end result, so it is important to be mindful of the fact that until the change is finalized, don’t make radical changes to your project’s implementation. Jumping the gun may result in wasted time and effort in tackling perceived changes that never manifested themselves.
2. Stay in Touch with Key Contacts (and reach out to potentially new ones)
An organizational change will likely result in a shifting of certain key personal, including some of your stakeholders. So the project manager must be mindful of where his/her stakeholders eventually end up and if they are still playing a role in the current project. Additionally, new stakeholders may emerge from the newly created structure and it is important to reach out to them so they are brought up to speed on your efforts.
3. Re-evaluate Your Resources
There is no guarantee that the resources you currently have allocated to your project will still be available post a large-scale reorganization. So it is important to keep tabs on how any shifts in personal affect your project. The net number of resources may be the same, but you may be contending with new resources replacing existing ones that are being reassigned elsewhere. This will obviously necessitate a need to bring the new resources up to speed in the most efficient and expedient manner possible so as to reduce any delays to your project.
4. Determine if Changes Affect the Triple Constraint (Scope, Time and Cost)
A large-scale organizational change can have far-reaching effects for any projects currently being tackled within the company. How much or how little can only be determined by a project assessment. It is possible, for example, that a business unit who was a key stakeholder to your project is now being either disbanded or merged with another. If they were allocating either resources or budget to your project, this would most certainly have an effect on the Triple Constraint. (For further information on the Triple Constraint, please consult the post: Managing the Triple Constraint)
5. Re-evaluate Project Against Company Megatrends
In many cases, the natural catalyst for any organizational change within a company is a desire to realign against industry megatrends. Social networking, Web 2.0, Cloud Computing, et cetera. A company’s future survival depends on its ability to accurately assess industry trends and align their business accordingly. With that being said, the project manager must also be cognizant of company strategy changes and shifts as it pertains to their projects. It is possible that a particular project may benefit from a re-evaluation of its core implementation to have it better align with the corporate strategy. That will also increase the likelihood of continued funding and support for the project as well as ensuring that the end deliverable is better aligned with consumer wants and needs.