Human Centered Management

A Systemic Interrelation

 

Advances in Project Management Series

SERIES ARTICLE

By Dr. Roland Bardy

Mannheim, Germany

 



Management and leadership have been defined in terms of objectives, tasks, traits, behaviour, motivation, interaction patterns, role relationships or occupation of an administrative position. Most definitions reflect the assumption that it involves a process whereby intentional influence is exerted over people to guide, structure and facilitate activities and relations in a group or organization. The eminent management scholar Gary Yukl has said that true leadership only occurs when people are motivated to do what is ethical and beneficial for an organization – but he admits that leaders will more often than not attempt to merely gain personal benefits at the expense of their followers, and that, despite good intentions, the actions of a leader are sometimes more detrimental than beneficial for the followers (Yukl 2010, p. 23).

This raises the question of whether there is a divisive difference between leadership and management – with the obvious conclusion that there is an overlap between the two. The overlap will be wider or narrower depending on the person who executes the position. One definition which shows this best is by viewing management as an authority relationship directed at delivering a specific routine, with leadership being a multidirectional influence with the mutual purpose of accomplishing real change (Rost 1991).

But, as has been pointed out by Bowie and Werhane (2005), there is an additional issue that comes into view when looking at who manages a manager. A manager typically works for another, and even top managers serve as agents, for the stockholders of a business or for the elected officers in a public administration entity. This interrelation has a systemic aspect, as it is not just those connections that are intertwined but there is a definite intertwinement as well between the various perspectives that integrate management – and, since it is all about the nexus between humans, we should talk about human centered management.

The ideas explored in this article are based on a new book “Rethinking Leadership: A Human Centered Approach to Management Ethics” (Bardy, 2018) which lays a foundation for what may be called a framework for delineating human centered management. The book proposes that human centered management is determined by a systemic connection between various perspectives. Intertwining management and the human centered paradigm is much more than just a two-way relationship. It is a systemic approach that combines ethics, social relations, economic effects, and institutional conceptions. It is necessary then to embrace all these interrelations in order to validate the analysis. Systemic interconnectedness is an entity in itself, and it is to be studied on its own (Jiliberto 2004). So, in order to attain a characterization of human centered management, the systemic view combines the ethical, social, economic, and institutional perspectives.

The four perspectives influence each other within a systemic interrelation as illustrated in Exhibit 1, and this sequence of mutual effects and feedbacks is a system of its own.

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Editor’s note: The Advances in Project Management series includes articles by authors of program and project management books published by Routledge worldwide. Information about Routledge project management books can be found here.

How to cite this paper: Bardy, R. (2018). Human Centered Management: A Systemic Interrelation, PM World Journal, Volume VII, Issue X – October. Available online at https://pmworldjournal.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/pmwj75-Oct2018-Bardy-human-centered-management-article.pdf

 



About the Author


Dr. Roland Bardy

Mannheim, Germany

 

 


Dr. Roland Bardy
is owner of BardyConsult in Mannheim, Germany, where he mainly engages in management education, and he serves as Executive Professor of General Management and Leadership at Florida Gulf Coast University. Born in Vienna, Austria, in 1942, he received his M.B.A. degree there in 1969, and his Ph.D. degree (in econometrics) from Heidelberg University, Germany, in 1974. He worked in Finance and Administration of BASF SE, the German multinational chemicals manufacturer, for about thirty years until 1999.  Then he took up teaching and consulting at Goizueta Business School, Emory University, at Fachhochschule Worms (Germany) and in various Swiss and Austrian MBA-programs. His areas are accounting, supply chain management, leadership and business ethics. He promotes the philosophy and implementation of responsible development, accountability and sustainability through, among others, the Wittenberg Center for Global Ethics (www.wcge.org). Residing both in Mannheim, Germany, and in Naples, Florida, Roland Bardy is privileged to experience both U.S. and European developments in business and academia. He has published, in English and in German, on management accounting, leadership and business ethics.

Roland Bardy is the author of the book Rethinking Leadership: A Human Centered Approach to Management Ethics, published by Routledge in April 2018.  To learn about the book click here.

 

The leadership imperative

and the essence of followership

 

Advances in Project Management

SERIES ARTICLE

By Prof Darren Dalcher

Director, National Centre for Project Management
Lancaster University Management School

United Kingdom

 



Many conversations about improvement, enhancement, governance, progress and the future inevitably resort to addressing leadership issues. Leadership is increasingly viewed as an essential life skill, a practical ability to guide other individuals, a team, an organisation, or even a country, towards a better future, an improved position or a defined outcome.

But where do we find examples of great leaders?

Traditionally, archetypal samples would emerge from either the political or the business arena, but in recent years both have been found wanting. Yet, as we face ever more complex and uncertain dilemmas and increasingly vexing wicked problems, there appears to be a greater need to identify and follow strong and powerful leaders.

What worked before?

Great leadership is sometimes measured in terms of the followers that it engenders. This may well be a dangerous idea. Former US Speaker of the House, Ohio Congressman John Boehner asserted back in 2015 that ‘a leader without followers is simply a man taking a walk’. General George S. Patton had an even more direct approach in mind when he proclaimed ‘Lead me, follow me, or get out of my way.’

Ironically, despite the plethora of publications exploring effective leadership, relatively little has been written about the role of effective followership. In a private conversation with a leading architect and chief executive of the infrastructure and construction part of the London 2012 Olympic Games, he expressed an exasperation that we teach leadership and tell people what they ought to be doing, but we hardly ever “teach” followership as we implicitly assume that following is easy, or well understood. According to Robert Kelley (1992) only 20% of the success or organisations is traced to the leader, while in practice 80% of the credit should be going to followers.

Kellerman (2008; p. xix) defines followers as ‘subordinates who have less power, authority, and influence than do their superiors and who therefore usually, but not invariably, fall into line”. Yet, followers are neither homogenous nor uniform. Kellerman’s book (2008) offers a fluid typology, which can be positioned along a spectrum, indicating the rank or level of engagement by followers, encompassing five main types:

  • Isolates: utterly detached and disinterested individuals who keep a low profile, rarely respond to leaders, resent interferences from above, and reinforce the status quo by default
  • Bystanders: observers who follow passively and let events unfold with little participation, while accepting control from above
  • Participants: engaged individuals who typically care about their organisation and support their leader with their effort or time when they agree with their vision and views
  • Activists: eager, energetic and deeply engaged individuals working for the cause and the leader
  • Die-hards: individuals displaying the highest levels of engagement with the organisation or their cause; all-consuming supporters exhibiting total and absolute engagement

Good followers therefore actively support effective and ethical leaders. It is thus expected that ‘good followers’ would also respond appropriately to bad leaders in the interest of the greater cause and the wider organisation. Kellerman’s chief concern is about mindless, or unquestioning followers, and their impact. Based on historical events, die-hards may agitate and activists may follow blindly and encourage participants to take part, while bystanders may simply allow events, however painful or harrowing, to take place, whilst others choose to ignore the entire scene. Historical precedents offer some credibility to the notion of mapping the level of engagement and participation (Kellerman, 2004). They also seem to suggest that bystanders and other participants may tolerate, or even embrace harmful actions with little, if any, questioning (see for example, Dalcher 2016 for a summary, or Zimbardo, 2007, for more detail). The direct implication is that followership needs to be taken more seriously; it also needs to encompass some sober responsibilities.

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To read entire article, click here

 

Editor’s note: The PMWJ Advances in Project Management series includes articles by authors of program and project management books published by Gower and other publishers in the Routledge family.  Each month an introduction to the current article is provided by series editor Prof Darren Dalcher, who is also the editor of the Gower/Routledge Advances in Project Management series of books on new and emerging concepts in PM.  Prof Dalcher’s article is an introduction to the invited paper this month in the PMWJ. 

How to cite this paper: Dalcher, D. (2018). The leadership imperative and the essence of followership, PM World Journal, Volume VII, Issue X – October.  Available online at https://pmworldjournal.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/pmwj75-Oct2018-Dalcher-the-leadership-imperative.pdf

 



About the Author


Darren Dalcher, PhD

Author, Professor, Series Editor
Director, National Centre for Project Management
Lancaster University Management School, UK

 

 

 

Darren Dalcher, Ph.D. HonFAPM, FRSA, FBCS, CITP, FCMI SMIEEE SFHEA is Professor in Strategic Project Management at Lancaster University, and founder and Director of the National Centre for Project Management (NCPM) in the UK.  He has been named by the Association for Project Management (APM) as one of the top 10 “movers and shapers” in project management and was voted Project Magazine’s “Academic of the Year” for his contribution in “integrating and weaving academic work with practice”. Following industrial and consultancy experience in managing IT projects, Professor Dalcher gained his PhD in Software Engineering from King’s College, University of London.

Professor Dalcher has written over 200 papers and book chapters on project management and software engineering. He is Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Software: Evolution and Process, a leading international software engineering journal. He is the editor of the book series, Advances in Project Management, published by Routledge and of the companion series Fundamentals of Project Management.  Heavily involved in a variety of research projects and subjects, Professor Dalcher has built a reputation as leader and innovator in the areas of practice-based education and reflection in project management. He works with many major industrial and commercial organisations and government bodies.

Darren is an Honorary Fellow of the APM, a Chartered Fellow of the British Computer Society, a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute, and the Royal Society of Arts, A Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a Member of the Project Management Institute (PMI) and the British Academy of Management. He is a Chartered IT Practitioner. He sits on numerous senior research and professional boards, including The PMI Academic Member Advisory Group, the APM Research Advisory Group, the CMI Academic Council and the APM Group Ethics and Standards Governance Board.  He is the Academic Advisor and Consulting Editor for the next APM Body of Knowledge. Prof Dalcher is an academic advisor for the PM World Journal.  He is the academic advisor and consulting editor for the next edition of the APM Body of Knowledge. He can be contacted at [email protected].

To view other works by Prof Darren Dalcher, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/darren-dalcher/.

 

 

Leading Brainy Teams

 

Advances in Project Management Series

SERIES ARTICLE

By Peter Cook

United Kingdom

 



Imagine a world where we work 15 hours a week with greater access to leisure, pleasure, intellectual and social stimulation? We’ve been promised this for decades, but the advent of computers has hermetically attached us to our iPods, iPads and office pods. Artificial intelligence offers us a one-time opportunity to break free of our addiction to working on the chain gang, although it is as yet unclear as to whether our merger with artificial intelligence will lead to a “War of the Worlds” or a harmonious fusion of man, woman, project and machine.

Brain Based Enterprises” is a new book by Peter Cook that explores the role that innovation and creativity will play to help us survive and thrive in the 4th Industrial Revolution. This is not the stone age, the steam or the industrial age, but the information revolution, where value is created primarily through the intelligent combination of knowledge and wisdom. How shall we cope in a world where it has variously been predicted that up to 50% of our jobs will disappear in the next few decades? What does that mean for education, where the half-life of knowledge is in free-fall? What will become of money in such a world? How shall we fall in love? In a business sense, what will teams look like? How shall we project manage teams of diverse people? In this extract from the book, we begin by outlining the various scenarios that will inform our lives as we merge with machines and, later on, look at some implications for teams and teamwork.

Brain Based Enterprises

It’s 07.05 am on 05 January 2030 … The day begins for Julie:

Julie wakes up at exactly the optimum time to maximise her sleep, wellbeing and energy, to a vibration in her neck from her embedded wellbeing monitor. Some ambient music bathes the room, bathed in soft purple swirling lighting. The smell of freshly brewed coffee percolates upwards from the kitchen. These are things she chose in her psychological contract with Rover. In a few minutes, coffee, water and fruit slices are brought to her by Rover, her personal robotic assistant. It’s time for Julie’s early morning well-being session, led by her ever-faithful 24/7 digital guide, who has already ironed her underwear, run a bath, organised her bag for the day, checked her travel schedule, confirmed her appointments and so on.

Rover also monitored Julie’s vital signs and adjusted her personal exercise routine around her expected physical activity during the day, to maximise her balance of mind, body and soul. Rover is, of course, a robot and makes rational decisions based on an aggregation of big data about what’s best for Julie’s work, life and play. However, Rover has also integrated humanity by taking on board Julie’s own personal values within the decision-making algorithms that Rover uses …

We are seeing the earliest signs and signifiers of a world where man and machine have switched roles with driverless trains, 3D printing, self-service shops, smart cities, smart homes, smartphones and drones. We can already measure our vital signs to improve our vitality and receive live updates on life threatening conditions to help us live long and prosper. However, the transformation towards our love affair with machines is not exactly new. We perhaps began to notice the difference as long ago as 1822 with Charles Babbage’s invention of the difference engine. Since that time, we have had the enigma machine, The Casio FX77 and many more devices that have enabled us to do ever more complex things. Many more things are still to come in our enigmatic relationship with machines via The Internet of Things, which promises to have 50 billion devices connected to the internet by 2020. Innovation consultancy Arthur D. Little (2017) report that any technology innovations that enhance people’s time to spend on higher level Maslow needs and that reduce or remove the need to focus on the lower level needs is a good innovation. We will increasingly have the ability to separate the things that satisfy us from the things that we have to do. It is entirely feasible that we will have time to enjoy those things in life that we do purely for their intrinsic value such as arts and crafts.

Perhaps, like Julie’s example in 2030, we’ll use machines to clear the space and time for us to enjoy such things. From coal mining to data mining we can envisage four potential future scenarios in our love / indifference / hate affair with man, woman, machines, robotics, artificial intelligence and official stupidity as shown in Figure 1 and described below:

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Editor’s note: The Advances in Project Management series includes articles by authors of program and project management books published by Routledge worldwide. Information about Routledge project management books can be found here.

How to cite this paper: Cook, P. (2018). Leading Brainy Teams, PM World Journal, Volume VII, Issue IX – September. Available online at https://pmworldjournal.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/pmwj74-Sep2018-Cook-Leading-Brainy-Teams.pdf


 
About the Author


Peter Cook

United Kingdom

 

 

 

Peter Cook is a unique hybrid of scientist, business academic and musician, blending hard analytical thinking with a creative twist that comes from the arts in his work at Human Dynamics and The Academy of Rock. His books are acclaimed by Professor Charles Handy, Tom Peters and Harvey Goldsmith CBE and he writes for Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin group.  Peter was responsible for leading pharmaceutical innovation teams to bring the World’s first treatment for HIV / AIDS and human Insulin into being. He also performs with a variety of music legends including Meatloaf’s singer and Ozzy Osbourne’s guitarist, learning from the boardroom to the boardwalk. Peter brings MBA business thinking into intimate contact with parallel ideas from the worlds of music and science in his work.

For information about Peter Cook’s latest book, Brain Based Enterprises: Harmonising the Head, Heart and Soul of Business, published by Routledge, click here.

 

 

The wisdom of teams revisited

Teamwork, teaming and working for the common good

 

Advances in Project Management

SERIES ARTICLE

By Prof Darren Dalcher

Director, National Centre for Project Management
Lancaster University Management School

United Kingdom

 



One of the distinctions of project work is that it is done by dedicated teams of people, often acting outside the normal organizational structures associated with ‘regular’ work. Projects can thus be said to bring together collections of individuals who are focused on the achievement of specific objectives and targets. Teams can thus be viewed as the main way through which work gets done and value is delivered to organisations and societies. Such teams are often formed for the duration of the project and disbanded following the delivery of the objectives.

Yet, the terminology we use to describe such collections of individuals is frequently problematic and laden with different meanings: Indeed, the common interpretation of terms such as teams and groups can often be confusing.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines a team as ‘two or more people working together’. It further elaborates that to team up is to ‘come together as a team to achieve a common goal’. The Cambridge English Dictionary describes the verb team as ‘to act together to achieve something’. The definitions chime with the view of US industrialist, Henry Ford who asserted that ‘coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.’

In contrast, the Oxford English Dictionary views a group as ‘a number of people or things that are located, gathered or classed together’. The Cambridge English Dictionary views a group as ‘a number of people or things that are put together or considered as a unit’.  The Collins English Dictionary offers a much wider set of definitions, including: ‘a number of people or things which are together in one place at one time; a set of people who have the same interests or aims… who organize themselves to work or act together; or a set of people, organizations, or things which are considered together because they have something in common’. Confusingly, it also designates the verb form of grouping together as ‘a number of things or people… that are together in one place or within one organization or system’.

The Merriam-Webster English Dictionary offers a more comprehensive definition of a group encompassing: ‘two or more figures forming a complete unit of composition; a number of individuals assembled together or having some unifying relationship; an assemblage of related organisms—often used to avoid taxonomic connotation when the kind of degree of relationship is not clearly defined.

The terms team and group are often used interchangeably. So, are the terms really exchangeable or is there a fundamental distinction between them?

The difference between groups and teams

In reality there are some subtle, as well as many clear distinctions. In a nutshell, individuals in groups work independently addressing their own agenda and priorities, whilst teams tend to collaborate on a single purpose or overarching goal. Groups may coordinate the individual efforts, whilst teams collaborate on achieving their common purpose often displaying mutual commitment. Teams bring together a range of expertise and capabilities needed to combine and deliver meaningful results and often extend beyond organisational silos or functional structures. Teams are also more likely to be employed on temporary endeavours, providing a focused and cross-functional orientation supplemented by closer relationships and a sense of community. The result can be viewed as the ability to emphasise communal performance rather than celebrate individual achievements (Dalcher, 2016a; p. 2).

Teams often develop a collective identity and a greater responsibility for one another whilst supporting the wider group. Members are interdependent acting out of collective interest and maximising the greater good by focusing on the main goal and key objectives. Team members develop a deeper mutual understanding that enables them to maximise the interest of the collective, with high performing teams benefitting from the synergistic impacts of the assembled team.

Scottish-American philanthropist and industrialist, Andrew Carnegie determined that ‘Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.’

More…

To read entire article, click here

 

Editor’s note: The PMWJ Advances in Project Management series includes articles by authors of program and project management books published by Gower and other publishers in the Routledge family.  Each month an introduction to the current article is provided by series editor Prof Darren Dalcher, who is also the editor of the Gower/Routledge Advances in Project Management series of books on new and emerging concepts in PM.  Prof Dalcher’s article is an introduction to the invited paper this month in the PMWJ. 

How to cite this paper: Dalcher, D. (2018). The wisdom of teams revisited: Teamwork, teaming and working for the common good, PM World Journal, Volume VII, Issue IX – September. Available online at https://pmworldjournal.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/pmwj74-Sep2018-Dalcher-the-wisdom-of-teams-revisited.pdf

 


 
About the Author


Darren Dalcher, PhD

Author, Professor, Series Editor
Director, National Centre for Project Management
Lancaster University Management School, UK

 

 

 Darren Dalcher, Ph.D. HonFAPM, FRSA, FBCS, CITP, FCMI SMIEEE SFHEA is Professor in Strategic Project Management at Lancaster University, and founder and Director of the National Centre for Project Management (NCPM) in the UK.  He has been named by the Association for Project Management (APM) as one of the top 10 “movers and shapers” in project management and was voted Project Magazine’s “Academic of the Year” for his contribution in “integrating and weaving academic work with practice”. Following industrial and consultancy experience in managing IT projects, Professor Dalcher gained his PhD in Software Engineering from King’s College, University of London.

Professor Dalcher has written over 200 papers and book chapters on project management and software engineering. He is Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Software: Evolution and Process, a leading international software engineering journal. He is the editor of the book series, Advances in Project Management, published by Routledge and of the companion series Fundamentals of Project Management.  Heavily involved in a variety of research projects and subjects, Professor Dalcher has built a reputation as leader and innovator in the areas of practice-based education and reflection in project management. He works with many major industrial and commercial organisations and government bodies.

Darren is an Honorary Fellow of the APM, a Chartered Fellow of the British Computer Society, a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute, and the Royal Society of Arts, A Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a Member of the Project Management Institute (PMI) and the British Academy of Management. He is a Chartered IT Practitioner. He sits on numerous senior research and professional boards, including The PMI Academic Member Advisory Group, the APM Research Advisory Group, the CMI Academic Council and the APM Group Ethics and Standards Governance Board.  He is the Academic Advisor and Consulting Editor for the next APM Body of Knowledge. Prof Dalcher is an academic advisor for the PM World Journal.  He is the academic advisor and consulting editor for the next edition of the APM Body of Knowledge. He can be contacted at [email protected].

To view other works by Prof Darren Dalcher, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/darren-dalcher/.

 

 

Communicating Project Management

A Participatory Rhetoric for Development Teams

Excerpt of Chapter 4: On site with The Gardener and The Chef: Project Leadership and Communication

 

Advances in Project Management Series

SERIES ARTICLE

By Benjamin Lauren

Michigan, USA

 



There are two metaphors I’ve come across used to describe leadership philosophy at the project team level. The first, offered by Demacro and Lister (1999), suggests that teams can be grown, but not built. This leadership approach describes project managers who cultivate the conditions for teams to succeed as a member of a team. The second approach was described by Lammers and Tsvetkov (2008), and it positioned project managers as chefs because they must deliver successful project results consistently. The chef, they argue, uses “industry standard processes” to achieve these results. Chefs tend to have a more complicated power relationship with the team, as they are very clearly responsible for managing its processes and procedures. Leadership models in project management offer important insight into communication practices. This excerpt from Chapter 4 of my book Communicating Project Management: A Participatory Rhetoric for Development Teams explores leadership at the project level by embodying the two metaphors of gardening and cooking to understand how these leadership values influence the approach to communicating. Through a closer examination of two of the participants, this excerpt explains how leadership values influence communication at the project level, and to what extent they shape invitations to participate in project work.

To study the relationship between leadership and communication, the excerpt will lean heavily on examining the communication of two participants. The first participant I call “The Gardener” because she tends to communicate in ways that focus on growing and cultivating the growth of people to help a team succeed. Meanwhile, I refer to other participant as “The Chef” because he tends to focus on making and assembling, usually through industry standard practices, the kinds of resources and people needed to successfully complete a project. As the excerpt will explain, their individual positionality on the team also influenced how they performed leadership. Given these metaphors, how each participant approaches communicating project management is very different, even though they work toward the same goals: to complete project work successfully and to make space for people to participate.

The excerpt begins by reviewing leadership in project management. Then, it introduces The Gardener and presents the data from our work together, which illustrates her approach to growing and contributing to project teams. After, The Chef is introduced and I explain how his approach to communicating focused on following proven recipes for success. Next, the excerpt explores how their leadership approaches are linked to specific ways of communicating; how they give presence to certain values. Finally, the article ends describing the role of leadership identity as a form of rhetorical performance.

Communicating Leadership, Positionality, and Identity

As a scholarly interest and workplace practice, leadership contains a broad range of topic areas. For example, there are a number of books that focus on how to best lead (such as, Asghar, 2014; Maxwell, 2007) or attempt to teach students to be effective leaders (Northouse, 2015; Kouzes and Posner, 2017). Often the published work in leadership traverses academic and practitioner spheres. Particularly useful is Higgs’ (2003) work, which assembled a trajectory of leadership research in a western tradition, including the trends and schools of thought emerging since the ancient Greeks. In his article, he argued that scholarship in leadership tends struggle with its paradigm, oscillating between a focus on personality or behavior (p. 274). A focus on leadership personality asserts, for example, the importance of an individual’s character and charisma; whereas a focus on behavior is concerned with how leadership can be developed as a skillset. Higgs explained, “A personality-based paradigm would argue for selection as being the main focus, whereas a behaviour-based one would argue for development. In essence this is the debate around whether leaders are born or made” (p. 274). This excerpt seeks to add to this conversation to argue that leadership at the project level is a kind of rhetorical performance that is based on a set of implicit values that shape communication activities.

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To read entire article, click here

 

Editor’s note: The Advances in Project Management series includes articles by authors of program and project management books published by Routledge worldwide. Information about Routledge project management books can be found here.

How to cite this paper: Lauren, B. (2018). Communicating Project Management: A Participatory Rhetoric for Development Teams – Excerpt of Chapter 4: On site with The Gardener and The Chef: Project Leadership and Communication, PM World Journal, Volume VII, Issue VIII – August. Available online at https://pmworldjournal.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/pmwj73-Aug2018-Lauren-communicating-project-management-series-article.pdf

 



About the Author


Benjamin Lauren

Michigan, USA

 

 

Benjamin Lauren is an Assistant Professor of Experience Architecture in the Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures at Michigan State University, where he serves as Assistant Director of the MA in Digital Rhetoric and Professional Writing and as a HUB for Innovation in Learning and Technology Fellow. His book, Communicating Project Management: A Participatory Rhetoric for Development Teams was published in the ATTW Series by Routledge. The book makes an argument that project managers must communicate to facilitate participation in project work, particularly in the context of networked organizations. Ben’s work has been published in journals such as Technical CommunicationTransactions on Professional Communication, and Computers and Composition.

For more about the book Communicating Project Management: A Participatory Rhetoric for Development Teams, click here.

 

 

The power of communication

and the challenge of hidden assumptions

 

Advances in Project Management

SERIES ARTICLE

By Prof Darren Dalcher

Director, National Centre for Project Management

United Kingdom

 



Communication is recognised as essential to successful projects (Dalcher, 2012), and indeed for almost any human endeavour. Moreover, one of the most commonly recorded complaints about the performance of organisations and teams relates to their inability to communicate, or to the lack of knowledge regarding the intentions of the executive group. The 2013 Pulse of the Profession Report (PMI, 2013) contends that one in five projects is unsuccessful due to ineffective communication. The report further affirms that a typical project manager should be spending 90 per cent of their time communicating.

Given the critical role of communication in projects, is there anything new to say about communicating?

When describing communication there is a temptation to focus on the message being sent, the channel that is being utilised or the underpinning technology. The Merriam Webster Dictionary accordingly describes communication as ‘a process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs or behavior’.

However, communication entails a lot more. The Oxford Dictionary defines communication as: ‘the imparting or exchanging of information by speaking, writing or using some other medium’, including ‘a letter or message containing information or news; the successful conveying or sharing of ideas and feelings; and social contact’. The Oxford Dictionary traces the use of the phrase communication, to Late Middle English, with a derivation from Old French counicacion, and the Latin communicatio(n-), originating from the verb communicare, meaning ‘to share’.

The idea of sharing is more powerful than the single direction implied by imparting, or even the mutually bi-directional association enabled through exchanging. Indeed, the Cambridge Dictionary refers to communication as ‘the process of sharing information, especially when this increases understanding between people or groups’. The Collins Dictionary duly notes that communicating can extend beyond mere information to encompass ideas or feelings.

Conveying meaning, increasing understanding and sharing ideas and feelings extend beyond the typical core knowledge and skills taught to managers and leaders and should therefore merit further consideration regarding the potential, place and role of communication.

Exploring the context

Communication is not a smooth process that is constituted by recipient design and intention recognition, as is often implied by the different theories (Kecskes, 2010; p. 50). Firstly, there is a need to account for the internal representations of external things, whilst many of our thoughts are not represented in the external world (Rapaport, 2003; p. 401). Secondly, we do communicate with others (ibid.; p. 402)

‘When you and I speak or write to each other, the most we can hope for is a sort of incremental approach toward agreement, toward communication, toward common usage of terms.’ (Lenat et al., 1995; p. 45)

More…

To read entire article, click here

 

Editor’s note: The PMWJ Advances in Project Management series includes articles by authors of program and project management books published by Gower and other publishers in the Routledge family.  Each month an introduction to the current article is provided by series editor Prof Darren Dalcher, who is also the editor of the Gower/Routledge Advances in Project Management series of books on new and emerging concepts in PM.  Prof Dalcher’s article is an introduction to the invited paper this month in the PMWJ. 

How to cite this paper: Dalcher, D. (2018). The power of communication and the challenge of hidden assumptions, PM World Journal, Volume VII, Issue VIII – August.  Available online at https://pmworldjournal.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/pmwj73-Aug2018-Dalcher-the-power-of-communication-and-challenge-of-hidden-assumptions.pdf

 



About the Author


Darren Dalcher, PhD

Author, Professor, Series Editor
Director, National Centre for Project Management
United Kingdom

 

 

 

Darren Dalcher, Ph.D. HonFAPM, FRSA, FBCS, CITP, FCMI SMIEEE SFHEA is Professor of Project Management, and founder and Director of the National Centre for Project Management (NCPM) in the UK.  He has been named by the Association for Project Management (APM) as one of the top 10 “movers and shapers” in project management and was voted Project Magazine’s “Academic of the Year” for his contribution in “integrating and weaving academic work with practice”. Following industrial and consultancy experience in managing IT projects, Professor Dalcher gained his PhD in Software Engineering from King’s College, University of London.

Professor Dalcher has written over 200 papers and book chapters on project management and software engineering. He is Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Software: Evolution and Process, a leading international software engineering journal. He is the editor of the book series, Advances in Project Management, published by Routledge and of the companion series Fundamentals of Project Management.  Heavily involved in a variety of research projects and subjects, Professor Dalcher has built a reputation as leader and innovator in the areas of practice-based education and reflection in project management. He works with many major industrial and commercial organisations and government bodies.

Darren is an Honorary Fellow of the APM, a Chartered Fellow of the British Computer Society, a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute, and the Royal Society of Arts, A Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a Member of the Project Management Institute (PMI) and the British Academy of Management. He is a Chartered IT Practitioner. He sits on numerous senior research and professional boards, including The PMI Academic Member Advisory Group, the APM Research Advisory Group, the CMI Academic Council and the APM Group Ethics and Standards Governance Board.  He is the Academic Advisor and Consulting Editor for the next APM Body of Knowledge. Prof Dalcher is an academic advisor for the PM World Journal.  He can be contacted at [email protected].

To view other works by Prof Darren Dalcher, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/darren-dalcher/.

 

 

The Digital Social Workplace

People over Process

 

Advances in Project Management Series

SERIES ARTICLE

By Dale Roberts

United Kingdom

 



Workplace computing has, for the last three decades, been about automating process. The result is that we work together in ways that are stilted. In information science terms, they are nothing more than transactional. Digital social tools are changing the way we work, share and collaborate but surprisingly in a way that is more, not less natural. Paradoxically, technology is making organisations, teams and projects human again.

THE END OF ADVANTAGE THROUGH SCALABLE PROCESS

“I understand why you would think that” my executive contact acknowledged at a recent customer meeting, “that our competitors are businesses like ours, other [so-called] fast moving consumer goods businesses”. The threat to their €50B turnover, it would seem was clearly going to be less obvious than my earlier posseting of the name of their biggest competitor. He went on “Rather, it is the vast crowd of small, innovative brands that are no longer held back by barriers to scale, even globally”. No one competitor was going to bring this behemoth down, it would seem. Rather, it was vulnerable to a thousand cuts from the long tail of artisanal sourdough and locally made soaps.

In a digital economy, businesses are no longer secure by virtue of their size. Our high streets are slowly emptying of lumbering giants. A decade ago the financial services landscape was populated by a handful of titans whilst today, they are under threat from small, pioneering insurgents commonly referred to as ‘challenger banks’. One, unsurprising reaction, has been for incumbent businesses to buy-up and absorb the new players but they may be making a fundamental miscalculation. They are typically acquiring technology, customers or brand but overlooking the critical ingredient: Their agile ethos.

Today, competitive edge is more about how businesses organise, communicate and behave rather than their products, services or the technology they use. It is less about web sites and mobile apps and more about people.

ORGANISATIONAL INTERACTION HAS CHANGED

Human interaction has reached an electronic tipping point. It is digital, omnipresent, instant, permanent, analysable and searchable. It’s a shame that, existential issues of privacy aside, the most successful change agent and so-called social tool is Facebook because their usefulness is far broader. The Conversation Prism, an infographic co-authored by Brian Solis and now at version 5 (2013) lists hundreds of such tools supporting everyday human interactions from organising events to crowd funding. Whatever a group of people need to do, it can be done on-line or with the help of an app.

Business tools such as Slack have revolutionised the way we interact in the workplace as much as Facebook changed the way we maintain personal connections. Indeed, the term social is spectacularly misleading. It isn’t the adjective that describes the act of enjoying activities outside of work. It is attributive. It relates to society or organisations. A social group. Businesses and projects are social constructs. They are a group of people organising around a common purpose albeit an economic one.

Enterprise social tools are permitting new workplace norms. Communication doesn’t require being in the same room or even the same building. I consult often but today there is a reasonable chance that at least one person in my meeting will be in their pyjamas, providing it is a teleconference. Physical meetings are still important to forge closer working partnerships but they are only part of the mix. Indeed, on one recent occasion, I and a colleague travelled 140 miles for a meeting with a team of 7 to find that only one of them was physically present, the others joining virtually through a conference phone occupying a single spot in the centre of the table.

A decade ago, when managing projects, I would strongly recommend and sometimes insist on co-location and a project office. Today, the natural beat of project communication barely slows down when the team don’t even share a time zone.

More…

To read entire article, click here

 

Editor’s note: The Advances in Project Management series includes articles by authors of program and project management books published by Routledge worldwide. Information about Routledge project management books can be found here.

How to cite this paper: Roberts, D. (2018). The Digital Social Workplace, People over Process; PM World Journal, Volume VII, Issue VII – July. Available online at https://pmworldjournal.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/pmwj72-Jul2018-Roberts-digital-social-workplace-people-over-process.pdf



About the Author


Dale Roberts

United Kingdom

 

 

 

Dale Roberts is VP of Professional Services for Clarabridge, author, commentator, columnist, and speaker. As a professional services leader for Clarabridge in Europe, Roberts is advising some of the world’s largest companies on optimising the customer experience using social and digital insights. Prior to this he was part of the founding circle of Artesian Solutions, an innovator in social CRM and a Director of Services for business intelligence giant Cognos. Dale was identified a thought leader in big data and analytics by Analytics Week, is a contributor to business and technology publications including Wired and ClickZ and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. 

His first book, Decision Sourcing, Decision Making for the Agile Social Enterprise, is an inspiring commentary on the impact of social on corporate decision making. His latest, World of Workcraft, Rediscovering Motivation and Engagement in the Digital Workplace, is a timely piece on engagement, motivation and digital humanism in the workplace.

 

 

Connecting for corporate social innovation

 

Advances in Project Management

SERIES ARTICLE

By Prof Darren Dalcher

Director, National Centre for Project Management

United Kingdom

 



According to the Oxford Dictionary to connect is ‘to bring together or into contact so that a real or notional link is established’, or ‘to associate or relate something in some respect’. The derivation appears to be from Late Middle English in the sense of being united physically. The dictionary further adds that the etymological root is from the Latin connectere, in the form of con – which implies ‘together’, and nectere, to ‘bind’. The Cambridge English Dictionary simply explains to connect as ‘to join or be joined with something else’, while the Merriam Webster Dictionary offers the brief definition ‘to join (two or more things) together’.

Connecting can thus be defined as joining, linking or being joined. Over time the use of the term appears to have expanded from a physical sense of binding together to a more logical set of connections that are being made between objects, things and people. The Oxford English Dictionary thus defines a connection as a ‘relationship in which a person or thing is linked or associated with something else’, while the Cambridge Dictionary relates to ‘the state of being related to someone or something else’. The Oxford Dictionary also provides a somewhat more contemporary definition of connections, as ‘people with whom one has social or professional contact or to whom one is related, especially those with influence and able to offer one help’.

The transformation of connecting from a physical-material point of view towards a more social sphere appears to be in train. In the age of social media, connecting can enable new forms of arranging, organising, and engaging for novel types of action and improvement. Ultimately, connecting can enable radical and beneficial transformation that empowers change subjects to engage, influence and shape whilst ensuring that communities buy into, co-create and make use of the budding change.

Projects for the community – The Eden Project

The Eden Project, located near St. Austell on a site of a former china clay mine is an extremely popular visitor attraction in Cornwall, England. The £141m project to reclaim and regenerate a neglected brownfield site, in Cornwall, which has the UK’s highest proportion of derelict mines, was the brainchild of Sir Tim Smit. Sir Tim previously restored the Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall, neglected since the Second World War, which gave him the inspiration to create the regenerative concept of the Eden Project (Petherick, et al., 2004; Smit, 1999; 2016).

The Eden Project is a dramatic global garden housed in tropical biomes that nestle in a crater the size of 30 football pitches. The two enormous biomes consist of hundreds of hexagonal and pentagonal, inflated plastic cells, supported by a steel framework. The site, which was opened in March 2001, has welcomed its 20th millionth visitor in 2018. The Eden Project, often marketed as the eighth wonder of the world, affords a gateway to the relationship between people and plants, offering a fascinating insight into the story of mankind’s connection to and dependence on plant life (Eden, 2016).

The Eden Project is a new kind of visitor garden. The rainforest biome, the world’s largest greenhouse and indoor rainforest at 3.9 acres, enables visitors to experience the sights, smells and scale of the rainforests and to discover the tropical plants that are used to produce everyday products from fruiting banana, coffee and rubber plants to giant bamboo. The Mediterranean biome offers the chance to explore more temperate and arid climates, including lemon trees, olive groves and gnarled vines, while the 30-acre outdoor botanical garden offers the opportunity to see tea, lavender, hops, hemp, sunflower and other plants that will change our future, flourishing under the Cornish sun.

The Eden Project recognises, and shares, the importance of sustainability to local communities and takes into account the economic, environmental and social benefits to be considered when making decisions. It has improved the image of the local area and rapidly transformed a derelict former mine into one of the UK’s top tourist destinations, averaging well over a million visitors per year and contributing in excess of £2 billion to the Cornish economy. It employs over 700 local people, the majority of whom were previously unemployed, and uses over 2,500 local farmers and suppliers. Indeed, all food and drink is locally sourced from Cornwall and the South West. The project has transformed the local economy, decreased unemployment by 6 per cent and introduced a growing demand for holidays and accommodation, whilst also boosting attendance at the other local and regional attractions and resorts.

The Eden Project is fast emerging as a unique resource for education, knowledge and innovation towards a sustainable future. The latest addition to the site is the Core, a sustainable education centre built to educate future generations as well as businesses and entrepreneurs about the benefits of sustainable development.

More…

To read entire article, click here

 

Editor’s note: The PMWJ Advances in Project Management series includes articles by authors of program and project management books published by Gower and other publishers in the Routledge family.  Each month an introduction to the current article is provided by series editor Prof Darren Dalcher, who is also the editor of the Gower/Routledge Advances in Project Management series of books on new and emerging concepts in PM.  Prof Dalcher’s article is an introduction to the invited paper this month in the PMWJ. 

How to cite this paper: Dalcher, D. (2018). Connecting for corporate social innovation, PM World Journal, Volume VII, Issue VII – July.  Available online at https://pmworldjournal.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/pmwj72-Jul2018-Dalcher-connecting-for-corporate-social-innovation.pdf



About the Author

Darren Dalcher, PhD

Author, Professor, Series Editor
Director, National Centre for Project Management
United Kingdom

 

 

 

Darren Dalcher, Ph.D. HonFAPM, FRSA, FBCS, CITP, FCMI SMIEEE SFHEA is Professor of Project Management, and founder and Director of the National Centre for Project Management (NCPM) in the UK.  He has been named by the Association for Project Management (APM) as one of the top 10 “movers and shapers” in project management and was voted Project Magazine’s “Academic of the Year” for his contribution in “integrating and weaving academic work with practice”. Following industrial and consultancy experience in managing IT projects, Professor Dalcher gained his PhD in Software Engineering from King’s College, University of London.

Professor Dalcher has written over 200 papers and book chapters on project management and software engineering. He is Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Software: Evolution and Process, a leading international software engineering journal. He is the editor of the book series, Advances in Project Management, published by Routledge and of the companion series Fundamentals of Project Management.  Heavily involved in a variety of research projects and subjects, Professor Dalcher has built a reputation as leader and innovator in the areas of practice-based education and reflection in project management. He works with many major industrial and commercial organisations and government bodies.

Darren is an Honorary Fellow of the APM, a Chartered Fellow of the British Computer Society, a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute, and the Royal Society of Arts, A Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a Member of the Project Management Institute (PMI) and the British Academy of Management. He is a Chartered IT Practitioner. He sits on numerous senior research and professional boards, including The PMI Academic Member Advisory Group, the APM Research Advisory Group, the CMI Academic Council and the APM Group Ethics and Standards Governance Board.  He is the Academic Advisor and Consulting Editor for the next APM Body of Knowledge. Prof Dalcher is an academic advisor for the PM World Journal.  He can be contacted at [email protected].

To view other works by Prof Darren Dalcher, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/darren-dalcher/.

 

 

Benchmarking for a quick turnaround

The search for performance excellence

 

Advances in Project Management

SERIES ARTICLE

By Prof Darren Dalcher

Director, National Centre for Project Management

United Kingdom

 



According to the Oxford Dictionary the verb benchmark implies ‘evaluating something by comparison with a standard’. In practice, it often entails a direct assessment of business processes, procedures and performance metrics and outcomes against those applied by industry or sector leaders in order to understand why market leaders are successful, or against other organisations in a similar position or of a similar size and expertise, in order to provide a reading about the current performance level of the organisation.

Benchmarks emerge out of the pursuit of ‘best practice’ implying an intention to copy or replicate what is considered to be superior performance. Benchmarks provide a disciplined approach and a reference point for determining ones current position from which measurements could be made, or a basic standard and reference point against which others could be compared.

Reference points have long been used to determine position or encourage performance improvement. Land surveyors might be familiar with the idea of a benchmark, a distinctive mark made on a wall, rock or building which serves as a reference point in determining the current position and altitude in topographical surveys and tidal observations (Bogan & English, 1994, p. 3). Reference points are used elsewhere: Following the mass production and standardisation of rifles and cartridges in the mid-1800s, the marksman became the uncertain variable. Gun factories would therefore fix the rifle in a bench, making it possible to fire the rifle multiple times and determine the spread, introducing the idea of benchmarking weapons as used in both the gun factory and the ammunition factory to find the best combination of rifle, and ammunition, without necessarily accounting for the foibles of the rifleman.

McGrath and Bates suggest that Fredrick Taylor used the concept of a benchmark at the beginning of the Twentieth Century to identify excellent performers in the factory by putting a chalk mark on their benches (2017; p. 192). Taylor had utilised time and motion studies to identify good performers (Dalcher, 2017; p.3). The mark on the bench could thus indicate staff whose output or working practices should merit emulating, and McGrath & Bates (2017) propose that this rather crude method had evolved into rather more sophisticated benchmarking tools and procedures.

In the 1970s benchmarking became a widely accepted term. However, companies such as Xerox applied it in a narrow way that focused primarily on comparisons with one’s main competition to assess performance against the best in class, invoking the practice of competitive benchmarking (Camp, 1989). Competitive benchmarking entails comparison of company standards with those of leading rivals (Hindle, 2008; p. 15)

More…

To read entire article, click here

 

How to cite this article: Dalcher, D. (2018). Benchmarking for a quick turnaround: The search for performance excellence, PM World Journal, Volume VII, Issue VI – June. Retrieved from https://pmworldjournal.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/pmwj71-Jun2018-Dalcher-benchmarking-for-quick-turnaround-series-article.pdf

Editor’s note: The PMWJ Advances in Project Management series includes articles by authors of program and project management books published by Gower and other publishers in the Routledge family.  Each month an introduction to the current article is provided by series editor Prof Darren Dalcher, who is also the editor of the Routledge Advances in Project Management series of books on new and emerging concepts in PM.  Prof Dalcher’s article is an introduction to the invited paper this month in the PMWJ. 


 
About the Author


Darren Dalcher, PhD

Author, Professor, Series Editor
Director, National Centre for Project Management
United Kingdom

 

 

Darren Dalcher, Ph.D. HonFAPM, FRSA, FBCS, CITP, FCMI SMIEEE SFHEA is Professor of Project Management, and founder and Director of the National Centre for Project Management (NCPM) in the UK.  He has been named by the Association for Project Management (APM) as one of the top 10 “movers and shapers” in project management and was voted Project Magazine’s “Academic of the Year” for his contribution in “integrating and weaving academic work with practice”. Following industrial and consultancy experience in managing IT projects, Professor Dalcher gained his PhD in Software Engineering from King’s College, University of London.

Professor Dalcher has written over 200 papers and book chapters on project management and software engineering. He is Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Software: Evolution and Process, a leading international software engineering journal. He is the editor of the book series, Advances in Project Management, published by Routledge and of the companion series Fundamentals of Project Management.  Heavily involved in a variety of research projects and subjects, Professor Dalcher has built a reputation as leader and innovator in the areas of practice-based education and reflection in project management. He works with many major industrial and commercial organisations and government bodies.

Darren is an Honorary Fellow of the APM, a Chartered Fellow of the British Computer Society, a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute, and the Royal Society of Arts, A Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a Member of the Project Management Institute (PMI) and the British Academy of Management. He is a Chartered IT Practitioner. He sits on numerous senior research and professional boards, including The PMI Academic Member Advisory Group, the APM Research Advisory Group, the CMI Academic Council and the APM Group Ethics and Standards Governance Board.  He is the Academic Advisor and Consulting Editor for the next APM Body of Knowledge. Prof Dalcher is an academic advisor for the PM World Journal.  He can be contacted at [email protected].

To view other works by Prof Darren Dalcher, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/darren-dalcher/.

 

 

Lean Quality in Construction Project Delivery

A new model and principles

 

Advances in Project Management Series

SERIES ARTICLE

By John Oakland and Marton Marosszeky

UK and Australia

 



Construction Industry Challenges and Solutions

All industries are undergoing rapid change under the pressure of technological innovation and changing client needs. The construction sector is no exception, the past 10 years has seen accelerating globalisation, a demand for larger and more complex projects, and a requirement for them to be delivered in ever shorter timeframes. Meanwhile clients of the industry are increasingly concerned that this sector is not keeping pace with the rates of improvement seen in other sections of the economy. In addition, in this sector, the rate and cost of errors in quality and safety have been too slow to improve.

In today’s construction industry, many among clients, designers and contractors are seeing BIM (Building Information Modelling) as the silver bullet that will transform the industry. We are convinced that this position is misguided. BIM provides the basis for improved communications within the design team and with external stakeholders, and it provides support for solution optimisation in both the design and construction stages of projects. However, it is no more than a very powerful enabling technology. The authors contend that it is the philosophical foundations of lean quality that will underpin the coming transformation of this sector globally, significantly improving productivity and increasing the industry’s potential for value creation for its customers. This viewpoint provides a foundation for organisational excellence across entire supply chains, it offers a powerful new perspective for policy makers, and helps to create the organisational prerequisites necessary for the effective deployment of technologies such as BIM.

Lean quality a new model for improved outcomes in the construction sector

Pressure from clients and governments as well as commercial competitive pressures have continued to force leading organisations in the construction sector to differentiate themselves on the basis of customer focus, overall product & process quality, cost of products and services and value creation for clients.

In response to these pressures, senior management in leading design and construction organisations worldwide are embracing the philosophy and principles of what we have now called Lean Quality. Often approaching the overall task from different perspectives, some adopt frameworks of performance measurement and benchmarking, others use the goal of continuous improvement while others choose to follow the values and concepts of lean construction. We see these as different perspectives through different lenses of the same broad objective, improving performance in all the activities of a business.

Traditionally, in conversations about quality, the building and construction sector has had a natural orientation towards product quality. Given the complexity of its organisational relationships and traditional craft-based processes, most of the construction quality literature reflects this product focus; providing either a guide to compliance with the ISO9001 quality system standards or pragmatic advice on tools for the control of quality. However, lead organisations in every area of the building and construction industry have recognised that the broad focus that Lean Quality brings to all aspects of organising and managing is as relevant to building and construction as it is to the manufacturing and service sectors. Furthermore, teachers and researchers in building and construction have recognised that a traditional product centred paradigm does not provide a sufficiently broad and robust basis for performance improvement within the sector.

More…

To read entire article, click here

 

Editor’s note: The Advances in Project Management series includes articles by authors of program and project management books previously published by Gower in UK and now by Routledge worldwide. Information about Routledge project management books can be found here.

How to cite this article: Oakland, J. and Marosszeky, M. (2018). Lean Quality in Construction Project Delivery: A new model and principles, PM World Journal, Volume VII, Issue 6 – June.  Retrieved from https://pmworldjournal.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/pmwj71-Jun2018-Oakland-Marosszeky-lean-quality-in-construction-project-delivery.pdf


 
About the Authors


Professor John Oakland

Chairman, Oakland Group
Emeritus Professor, Leeds University Business School, UK

 

 

 

Professor John Oakland, PhD, CChem, MRSC, FCQI, FSS, MASQ is Chairman of the Oakland Group and Head of its Research and Education Division, The Oakland Institute. He is also Emeritus Professor of Business Excellence and Quality Management at Leeds University Business School.

For over thirty years he has taught all aspects of quality management, business excellence and performance improvement to literally thousands of organisations. He has directed several large research projects in Europe which have brought him into contact with a diverse range of organisations. His work on the quality management requirements of industry and commerce has been widely acknowledged and published.  Oakland Group is one of Europe’s leading organisations in helping clients to achieve performance improvement through excellence in planning and the management of people and processes, particularly in large complex organisations.

He is author of several books, including the best selling: Total Quality Management; TQM & Operational Excellence; Total Organisational Excellence, Oakland on Quality Management, Total Construction Management – lean quality in construction project delivery; Statistical Process Control and Production and Operations Management. He has written literally hundreds of papers, articles and reports on various topics in these fields.

Professor Oakland is a Fellow of the Chartered Quality Institute and an elected member of its Advisory Council. John is also a Member of the American Society of Quality, Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society and a Chartered Chemist / Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

 


Prof Martin Marosszeky

University of New South Wales (retired)
Sydney, Australia

 

 

 


Marton Marosszeky
is a civil engineer with early experience in road construction, contract supervision and structural design. He retired from the University of New South Wales where he was the Multiplex Professor of Construction Innovation in 2000 and has been working as a consultant in lean process improvement for the past 12 years. While he has been based in Australia, he has also worked in Canada, Russia, Singapore, Malaysia and the USA, helping major project teams and company executives to adopt lean thinking in building construction, infrastructure and the oil and gas sector.

Professors Oakland and Marosszeky are the authors of Total Construction Management: Lean Quality in Construction Project Delivery, published in 2017 by Routledge.  For information about the book, click here.

 

 

Strategy execution

Overcoming the alignment trap

 

Advances in Project Management

SERIES ARTICLE

By Prof Darren Dalcher

Director, National Centre for Project Management

United Kingdom

 


The success of a vision is only as enduring as its execution. There is perhaps nothing more frustrating than to observe a beautiful strategy conceived in response to a promising big opportunity or cutting edge innovation, which succumbs to the vagaries and twists of life during an attempt at executing it.

A brilliant strategy, blockbuster product, or breakthrough technology can put you on the competitive map, but only solid execution can keep you there. You have to be able to deliver on your intent. Unfortunately, the majority of companies aren’t very good at it, by their own admission.’ (Neilson, et al., 2008; 60)

Sir John Reginald Hartnell Bond who retired as Chairman of HSBC Holdings plc, after 45 years with the bank, famously remarked that ‘there are few original strategies in banking; there’s only execution’.

Indeed, strategy execution appears to be difficult to carry out successfully. Sull, Homkes and Sull (2015; p. 60) refer to a survey of more than 400 global CEOs that found that executional excellence is the leading challenge facing corporate leaders in Asia, Europe and the United States, topping a list of over 80 issues, including geopolitical instability, top-line growth and innovation. The authors further concede that multiple studies indicate that between two-thirds and three-quarters of large organisations struggle to implement their strategies. Similar figures are regularly quoted in most strategy textbooks.

If execution is so important, why is it so neglected? To be sure, people in business aren’t totally oblivious to it. But what they are mostly aware of is its absence. They know deep down that something is missing when decisions don’t get made or followed through or when commitments don’t get met. They search and struggle for answers, benchmarking companies that are known to deliver on their commitments, looking for the answers in the organizational structure or processes or culture. But they rarely apprehend the underlying lesson, because execution hasn’t yet been recognized or taught as a discipline. They literally don’t know what they are looking for.’ (Bossidy & Charan, 2002; p. 31)

The problem with execution

Beer and Eisenstat (2000) note that while successful companies comprehend that they need a good strategy before proceeding to appropriately realign structure, systems, leadership behaviour, human resource policies, culture, values and management processes, many obstacles lie between the ideal alignment and the reality of implementation.

For one thing, senior managers get lulled into believing that a well-conceived strategy communicated to the organization equals implementation. For another, they approach change in a narrow, non systemic and programmatic manner that does not address root causes.’ (ibid.; p. 29)

Beer and Eisenstat point out that doctors refer to high cholesterol as a ‘silent killer’ because it blocks arteries with no obvious outward symptoms. They contend that organisations similarly have their own silent killers operating below the surface (i.e. within the shadow side of the organisation). These mutually reinforcing barriers block strategy implementation and organisational learning required for successful innovation, development and growth.

Beer and Eisenstat’s research identifies the most often mentioned major barriers to strategy implementation observed within the organisations they studied. The six ‘silent killers’ (p. 32) are:

More…

To read entire article, click here

 

Editor’s note: The PMWJ Advances in Project Management series includes articles by authors of program and project management books published by Gower and other publishers in the Routledge family.  Each month an introduction to the current article is provided by series editor Prof Darren Dalcher, who is also the editor of the Gower/Routledge Advances in Project Management series of books on new and emerging concepts in PM.  Prof Dalcher’s article is an introduction to the invited paper this month in the PMWJ. 

How to cite this article:
Dalcher, D. (2018), Strategy execution: Overcoming the alignment trap, PM World Journal, Volume VII, Issue 5, May 2018. https://pmworldjournal.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/pmwj70-May2018-Dalcher-strategy-execution-overcoming-alignment-trap.pdf



About the Author


Darren Dalcher, PhD

Author, Professor, Series Editor
Director, National Centre for Project Management
United Kingdom

 

 
Darren Dalcher, Ph.D. HonFAPM, FRSA, FBCS, CITP, FCMI SMIEEE SFHEA is Professor of Project Management, and founder and Director of the National Centre for Project Management (NCPM) in the UK.  He has been named by the Association for Project Management (APM) as one of the top 10 “movers and shapers” in project management and was voted Project Magazine’s “Academic of the Year” for his contribution in “integrating and weaving academic work with practice”. Following industrial and consultancy experience in managing IT projects, Professor Dalcher gained his PhD in Software Engineering from King’s College, University of London.

Professor Dalcher has written over 200 papers and book chapters on project management and software engineering. He is Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Software: Evolution and Process, a leading international software engineering journal. He is the editor of the book series, Advances in Project Management, published by Routledge and of the companion series Fundamentals of Project Management.  Heavily involved in a variety of research projects and subjects, Professor Dalcher has built a reputation as leader and innovator in the areas of practice-based education and reflection in project management. He works with many major industrial and commercial organisations and government bodies.

Darren is an Honorary Fellow of the APM, a Chartered Fellow of the British Computer Society, a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute, and the Royal Society of Arts, A Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a Member of the Project Management Institute (PMI) and the British Academy of Management. He is a Chartered IT Practitioner. He sits on numerous senior research and professional boards, including The PMI Academic Member Advisory Group, the APM Research Advisory Group, the CMI Academic Council and the APM Group Ethics and Standards Governance Board.  He is the Academic Advisor and Consulting Editor for the next APM Body of Knowledge. Prof Dalcher is an academic advisor for the PM World Journal.  He can be contacted at [email protected].

To view other works by Prof Darren Dalcher, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/darren-dalcher/.

 

 

The challenges of implementing strategy

 

Advances in Project Management Series

SERIES ARTICLE

By Kurt Verweire, PhD

Belgium

 



Strategy implementation is a hot topic today. Managers spend billions of dollars on consulting and training in the hope to create brilliant strategies. But all too often brilliant strategies do not translate into brilliant performance. Strategy implementation ranks high on top managers’ agendas but is a topic that has not received sufficient attention in the academic world. It seems like academics assume that if a firm has a strategy, it gets implemented automatically. But talk with managers and most will admit that their organization is experiencing significant problems with translating their strategy into concrete activities and results.

Why do so many companies struggle with strategy implementation? And what can be done about it? In this article, I first present five root causes why strategy implementation is so hard. Some of these root causes deal with the quality of the strategy itself, the others deal with the topic of implementation. Then, I present a new model that tackles many of these issues. This model consists of three building blocks and is called the Strategy-Alignment-Commitment model. The article zooms in on each of the three building blocks and provides useful suggestions how to increase the success rate of your strategy implementation programs.

WHY DO STRATEGY IMPLEMENTATION INITIATIVES FAIL?

In my discussions with managers who struggle with strategy implementation, I have discovered that there are five root causes for an unsuccessful strategy implementation:

Too much focus on financials in strategy discussions. Strategy implementation only succeeds if a company has a well-formulated strategy in the first place. In reality, however, few companies have a genuine strategy. According to Michael Porter – one of the most influential writers in the field – managers often rely on a flawed definition of strategy.[1] For example, managers confuse strategy with aspiration. How many times have we heard or read: “Our strategy is to be #1 or #2 in that particular industry,” or “Our strategy is to grow shareholder value by 30% in the next three years.” But those statements are not strategies – they’re goals or aspirations. These statements say what the company wants to be or achieve, not how it will get there. Goals are important, but they do not substitute for strategy. Great strategies provide guidance and coherence to the organization, financial goals, unfortunately, do not!

Functional strategies are no substitute for a business strategy. One of the major reasons why it’s difficult to reach consensus on a clear business strategy is that the focus in many organizations is on the development of functional strategies. Companies have a strategy for operations, for sales, for marketing, for HR, and so on. But the more you break strategy up into various functional strategies, the less likely you will have a winning business strategy. There is a great risk for sub-optimization and conflicts among departments over resources and conflicting goals.

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Editor’s note: The Advances in Project Management series includes articles by authors of program and project management books previously published by Gower in UK and now by Routledge worldwide. Information about Routledge project management books can be found here.

How to cite this article:
Verweire, K. (2018). The challenges of implementing strategy, PM World Journal, Volume VII, Issue 5, May 2018. https://pmworldjournal.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/pmwj70-May2018-Verweire-challenges-of-implementing-strategy-series-article.pdf



About the Author


Kurt Verweire, PhD

Belgium




Professor Kurt Verweire
obtained his PhD at Erasmus University Rotterdam in 1999. He is Associate Professor Strategic Management and Partner at Vlerick Business School. He is also Programme Director of the MBA-FSI programme, a general management programme that is entirely focused on the financial services industry. His research interests include formulating and implementing winning business strategies, performance management and change management, and corporate strategy. Current research projects address how firms have to position themselves in the market, and how to create alignment and commitment within the organisation. Many of his research projects deal with financial services organisations.

Prof Verweire is the author of the book Strategy Implementation published by Routledge in 2014.

 

[1] [email protected] (2006) “Michael Porter Asks, and Answers: Why Good Managers Set Bad Strategies,” November 1, http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article.cfm?articleid=1594.

 

 

Working in the shadows

Exposing our inner demons

 

Advances in Project Management

SERIES ARTICLE

By Prof Darren Dalcher

Director, National Centre for Project Management

United Kingdom

 



Last month’s column focused on the complexity of the terrain and the difficulty in mapping and making sense of the full scale of reality. An earlier article focused on creation of a culture of cooperation between different disciplines. This article shifts attention to the complexity of individuals, and the cultures and organisations within which they operate. In particular, it highlights the role of light and shadows in determining what we can see and do.

Shadows may conjure up childhood images of playful finger and hand shapes of animals and magical creatures projected onto a wall in front of a torch, flashlight or fire, or perhaps invoke memories of elongated shapes manipulated at dusk, which lengthen as the twilight descends, until they are subsumed by the surrounding darkness when the sun is no longer visible.

The Oxford Dictionary offers two pertinent definitions: ‘a dark area or shape produced by a body coming between rays of light and a surface’, or, a term ‘used in reference to proximity, ominous oppressiveness, or sadness and gloom’. Upon reflection it thus becomes possible to focus on two main types of shadows:

  • The darkness that forms: the former description offered by the Oxford Dictionary refers to the shadow created when an opaque, or translucent, object casts a shadow, as it does not allow the light project projected from a source to pass straight through it.
  • The darkness that lurks: The latter definition acknowledges a more profound phenomena that could refer to a shadow of war impacting a country; a shadow of performance-enhancing drugs that blights a particular sport; a shadow cast by pests, vermin or disease, or some other threat; or even a more ominous shadow in the mind that encases the soul in darkness. Certain cultures, religions and mythologies also associate shadows with ghosts, demons or the underworld.

The common feature across both types of shadow is the absence of light, which manifests itself as a certain kind of emerging darkness.

Searching under the lamppost

Light seems to play an important part in driving local inquiry and emboldening the search for knowledge, while shadows and darkness, stifle the local search.

There is an old parable and joke about a police officer who observes a drunken man furiously searching under a streetlight. After a few minutes the police officer approaches to discover that the man had lost his house keys. The officer joins the search, as they both thoroughly and systematically comb the area underneath the streetlight. After repeating the search three or four times, the police officer asks the man if he is absolutely certain he lost the keys there, to which the man replies, ‘no, I lost them over there in the park’.

The officer proceeds to ask why he is searching in that particular spot, and the man replies that ‘this is where the light is

Searching under the lamppost is also known as ‘the streetlight effect’ or the drunkard’s search. It was popularised by Abraham Kaplan (1964), and has become an increasingly acknowledged and recognised observational bias where people search by looking in the easiest places. Farris (1969) observes that no matter where behavioural scientists have dropped their keys, they prefer to continue to search for them where it appears lighter, while Freedman maintains that ‘researchers tend to look for answers where the looking is good, rather than where the answers are likely to be hiding’ (2010).

The temptation to look under the light, where it is easier to organise a search, continues to appeal to many disciplines (see for example, Shanto & William, 1993; McKenna et al., 2008). Indeed, Noam Chomsky dryly reasons in a 1993 letter that ‘Science is a bit like the joke about the drunk who is looking under a lamppost for a key that he has lost on the other side of the street, because that’s where the light is. It has no other choice.’ (reported in, Barsky, 1998; p. 95)

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Editor’s note: The PMWJ Advances in Project Management series includes articles by authors of program and project management books published by Gower and other publishers in the Routledge family.  Each month an introduction to the current article is provided by series editor Prof Darren Dalcher, who is also the editor of the Gower/Routledge Advances in Project Management series of books on new and emerging concepts in PM.  Prof Dalcher’s article is an introduction to the invited paper this month in the PMWJ. 


 
About the Author


Darren Dalcher, PhD

Author, Professor, Series Editor
Director, National Centre for Project Management
United Kingdom

 


Darren Dalcher
, Ph.D. HonFAPM, FRSA, FBCS, CITP, FCMI SMIEEE SFHEA is Professor of Project Management, and founder and Director of the National Centre for Project Management (NCPM) in the UK.  He has been named by the Association for Project Management (APM) as one of the top 10 “movers and shapers” in project management and was voted Project Magazine’s “Academic of the Year” for his contribution in “integrating and weaving academic work with practice”. Following industrial and consultancy experience in managing IT projects, Professor Dalcher gained his PhD in Software Engineering from King’s College, University of London.

Professor Dalcher has written over 200 papers and book chapters on project management and software engineering. He is Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Software: Evolution and Process, a leading international software engineering journal. He is the editor of the book series, Advances in Project Management, published by Routledge and of the companion series Fundamentals of Project Management.  Heavily involved in a variety of research projects and subjects, Professor Dalcher has built a reputation as leader and innovator in the areas of practice-based education and reflection in project management. He works with many major industrial and commercial organisations and government bodies.

Darren is an Honorary Fellow of the APM, a Chartered Fellow of the British Computer Society, a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute, and the Royal Society of Arts, A Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a Member of the Project Management Institute (PMI) and the British Academy of Management. He is a Chartered IT Practitioner. He sits on numerous senior research and professional boards, including The PMI Academic Member Advisory Group, the APM Research Advisory Group, the CMI Academic Council and the APM Group Ethics and Standards Governance Board.  He is the Academic Advisor and Consulting Editor for the next APM Body of Knowledge. Prof Dalcher is an academic advisor for the PM World Journal.  He can be contacted at [email protected]

To view other works by Prof Darren Dalcher, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/darren-dalcher/.

 

 

Shadow Working in Project Management

Towards new levels of consciousness in groups

 

Advances in Project Management Series

SERIES ARTICLE

By Joana Bértholo, PhD

Portugal

 


                                                        

 ‘I have yet to meet the famous Rational Economic Man theorists describe. Real people have always done inexplicable things from time to time, and they show no sign of stopping.

— Charles Sanford Jr., US business executive, quoted in Ket De Vries, M. (2003; p. 1)

The book Shadow Working in Project Management (Bértholo, 2017) is the result of a research project undertaken from 2009 to 2014. It tells the story of an experiential autoethnography, the Learning Journey, which sought methods to address unconscious and subconscious traits as they manifest in groups/projects. After this Journey, the author was equipped to return to the literature in project management and explore the implications of the Shadow, to try to answer the main research question – What are the most prevailing Shadows in project management culture? For that, some auxiliary questions had to be addressed, namely

  • What is the Shadow and how does it play out in the life of projects?
  • To what extent and in what way is project management influenced by unconscious factors in its practice and culture?
  • To what extent is the manager’s role the fulfilment of a psychological projection or an archetype?
  • In what ways is the Shadow related to personal development and organizational change?

The varied answers draw a map of the dominant Shadow-issues in project management practice and culture.  In the forward to the book Resonant Leadership, Goleman (2005; p. x) writes that: ‘The first task in management has nothing to do with leading others; step one poses the challenge of knowing and managing oneself’.

Management is not limited to outer circumstances and resources. Fundamental processes are happening within. Through internal management, the experience of the manager is less an outcome and more a process. Any situation becomes: ‘an encounter with the grander, more complex system described by the new sciences and the organizational systems literature. It also demystifies the relationship to this vast unknown, depotentiates the need for willful control over the environment and over other people in other roles.’ (Jones, 2004). These quotes illustrate some guidelines to the research. In addition, important premises were:

–        The existence of an unconscious realm;

–        The project manager as someone who participates in a shared psychological structure wherein unconscious factors play a significant role;

–        Individuals deny traits that belong to them, but which stand as a threat to their sense of self or ego identity;

–        These denied traits appear projected in the external environment and create conflict and tension;

–        The collective in itself as a source of tension between individual and collective needs;

The consequences are manifold. The way a project manager handles a situation cannot be solely attributed to personality, nor is it merely a result of acquired competencies and learned conduct. These rational aspects, although they are ever present, are in fact in relation to a larger totality. The Shadow is a permanent part of that larger totality, and it comes up generally through conflict or emotionally charged situations; in lack of drive or motivation; addictive and compulsive behaviour occurs, sensations of strong instability; somatic bodily symptoms, diseases, nervous ticks, allergies, and all sorts of bodily manifestations, among other forms the Shadow has to show itself.

What is outside of awareness plays out in our everyday lives (see Freud, Jung, Wilber, Zweig). Projection and transference mechanisms are the central mechanisms by which the Shadow manifests. These terms have been retrieved from the somewhat obscure jargon of the analyst or the psychologist and are being integrated in popular discourse, as well as in PM theory. Bowles defined the Organization Shadow as the ‘facts which organizations wish to deny about themselves, due to the threat posed to self-image and self-understanding and, more generally, the need to be viewed in a favourable light by others.’ (Bowles, 1991; p. 387). It is a useful extrapolation of the definition of the individual Shadow. When we speak about the Shadow of a project we are speaking about the Shadow of that project’s active culture at play, in the sense of its values, norms, etc. Different projects carry different Shadows, and the quest for a Shadow-free project is fruitless, as is the quest for a Shadow-free human being.

We all carry Shadows, they change through time, but they are not something we can get rid off, they are something we can be aware of and that can lead us to a more mindful life. According to Jung (1966; pp. 284-5) ‘[The Shadow is] the thing a person has no wish to be. It is everything that the subject refuses to acknowledge about himself and yet is always thrusting itself upon him – for instance inferior traits of character and other incompatible tendencies.’ The Shadow is that about ourselves we find unpleasant or unbearable. It contains aspects that appear contrary to the ego ideal or to the ego identity. Therefore, it becomes a reservoir of untapped potential, rich in raw emotions and primal drives, the disavowed, poorly developed and undervalued contents of the individual psyche – but also our highest morality, creativity, and power (the Light Shadow). When the disliked qualities are removed from view (positive or negative traits) they are also removed from supervision. They do not stop existing. Instead, they play out in unpredictable ways, usually erupting unexpectedly, potentially in hurtful forms to self or others. Afterwards, a deep sense of humiliation, shame, or guilt can be experienced. These are clear Shadow-pointers. “Confrontation with the shadow produces at first a dead balance, a standstill that hampers moral decisions and makes convictions ineffective or even impossible. Everything becomes doubtful.” (Jung, 1963; para 708).

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Editor’s note: The Advances in Project Management series includes articles by authors of program and project management books previously published by Gower in UK and now by Routledge worldwide. Information about Routledge project management books can be found here.



About the Author


Joana Bértholo, PhD

Portugal

 

 

 

Joana Bértholo is a researcher, novelist and playwright. She first attended the Fine-Arts in Portugal, with a focus on Communication Design, and later obtained a PhD in Cultural Studies in Germany. Art processes are her preferred mode of research, using writing as a platform to investigate a wide scope of interests, such as technology, ecology, sustainability and the darker aspects of groups and communities.

Joana Bértholo is the author of Shadow Working in Project Management: Understanding and Addressing the Irrational and Unconscious in Groups, published by Routledge, ©2018

 

 

Choosing to Change

 

Advances in Project Management

SERIES ARTICLE

By David Bentley

United Kingdom

 



The profession of project management is in its widest sense that of facilitating change. Whatever the context, it is essentially a process of creating something new from an existing situation. How we should best manage the process of change and create the best possible outcome has exercised management thinking for many decades.

It is one of the eternal paradoxes of life, that through the ages we constantly seek the security of continuity, sticking to the status quo, whilst life, and the world that we live in, inevitably changes. Politicians and financiers call for stability in the economy, markets and international relations knowing full well that it can’t and does not happen. Harold MacMillan, UK Prime Minister 1957-63, is reputed to have answered the question put to him by a journalist ‘What is most likely to blow governments off course?’ saying ‘Events, dear boy, events’. The exact words spoken and indeed the attribution is questioned, but the observation is clear. The best formulated policies and detailed planning will always be victim to the unpredictable. The events that continually emerge creating unexpected change.

Over the course of the past half century I have witnessed a rapid and accelerating pace of change. In technology, the advent of the computer and the revolution in access to information through the internet. In transport, from the post war spread of the motor car replacing horse drawn transport to the prospect of driverless cars and in health, evidenced by the extension of life expectancy. In all areas of modern life, we are constantly experiencing change but still we tend to be taken by surprise when it happens and resist it happening.

My professional career has been spent managing many facets of change. As a construction project manager I was involved in the planning and creating of change. Whilst it was, on the face of it, the physical change of building roads, utility plants and buildings, it was in fact that, most of my time in that role, was spent dealing with the unexpected. However detailed the planning and scheduling of the works a three-dimensional structure is being created from a two-dimensional plan or nowadays perhaps a virtual image. The interpretation of the detail required will always mean that the building created is emergent from those plans and change will be an integral part of the process. The time spent on crafting contracts and resolving disputes arising from the changes that happen are testament to that. Working now in organisational change the same applies. We can plan the change in great detail and strive to make the communication of the change as clear and widespread as possible. We can follow the latest model for change management but the unexpected will always happen. People will react in unpredictable ways. Sometimes resisting change that would appear, on the face of it, to be of clear benefit to them. Other times changing in ways that they did not expect themselves and being highly successful.

Whilst pursuing my career in change management I have been challenged to radically change my views on the nature of organisations. To re-evaluate what I was doing when planning a construction project and how I understood the reactions of the people that I was working with and the cultural changes. By chance I happened to choose to do an MBA course at the University of Hertfordshire that included taking a view of management theory that was developing out of complexity theory. A view that accepts unpredictability, takes human interaction as the basis of organisation and pays attention to what is actually happening rather than creating a model of what we think should be happening. It is in taking this complexity-based view that provides us with an understanding of what motivates people to accept or reject change. Providing an approach to managing change that works with individuals to make the choice to change and determines the way that change happens.

The mainstream approach to contemporary management and organisational theory that has been developed over the course of the twentieth century is founded on the application of scientific research principles. That is, by conducting experiments, taking measurements and analysing data we can come to a theory of how something works and then use that knowledge to predict and influence what may happen in the future. The ultimate assumption of this way of thinking being that, given sufficient time and research effort we will eventually discover the ‘theory of everything’ that will enable us to control our destiny.

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Editor’s note: The Advances in Project Management series includes articles by authors of program and project management books previously published by Gower in UK and now by Routledge worldwide. Information about Routledge project management books can be found here.



About the Author


David Bentley

Author, Business Consultant
United Kingdom

 


David Bentley has many years of experience working in business planning and improvement through change management at the corporate level both in the private sector and embedded with public sector organisations, with a multi-national engineering consulting company and more recently in delivering organisational and cultural change programmes as an independent consultant.

As a Chartered Civil Engineer, his background is in construction planning and managing projects in the highways, water and power sectors. Working on the introduction of IT systems and quality management led to a career in business and change management and a Director level position with a major international engineering consultant, working on highways network management, in the UK and Australia.

Supported by an MBA and a PhD in Business David has strong leadership experience with teams of change agents and working to deliver significant benefits in business development and cultural improvement. Working in SHEQ management and business improvement for DownerMouchel in Perth, Western Australia, embedded in the state roads authority, Mainroads WA, involved bringing together a team from multiple ethnic backgrounds and melding the public and private sector ethos into an effective working team. David’s particular skills in training and coaching in management, systems development, process mapping and improvement, procedure development, audit and systems accreditation inform David’s approach to successful change delivery.

David’s work as an independent business consultant has involved a diverse range of organisations from providing business planning and support to local charity groups through small not-for-profit organisations to transformation projects for global companies and the provision of management training in the nuclear reclamation sector.

Recent project work brought together David’s range of skills. Providing management training, process improvement and procedure development and performance management was combined with his experience in culture change and mentoring to help in the delivery of significant financial returns, team working and individual performance. Most recent work has included advising on strategic direction, business development and implementing performance improvement strategies for a global support services business.

David is also the author of ‘Choosing to Change – an alternative understanding of Change Management’, published by Routledge, ISBN-10 1138237892 in 2018.

 

 

The map is not the territory

Musings on complexity, people and models

 

Advances in Project Management

SERIES ARTICLE

By Prof Darren Dalcher

Director, National Centre for Project Management

United Kingdom

 



In a recent article, we explored the potential use of a map in enabling decisions and facilitating forward movement and progress, even in a foggy or highly challenging contexts. The point made was that the process of mapping, as opposed to blindly following a map, enables reasoning and adjustments to emerge so that corrections can facilitate improved performance and a more purposeful journey.

Indeed, mapping and navigation provide the basis for a journey into less certain and less recognisable terrains, with a general goal or overarching purpose’ (Dalcher, 2018; p. 6).

This article explores the issues related to both maps and mapping in complex and unpredictable terrains.

So what is the problem with maps?

Maps have been in use for centuries. The Oxford Dictionary defines a map as a ‘diagrammatic representation of an area of land or sea showing physical features, cities, roads, etc.’, implying that they offer a depiction or a picture of the earth.

Maps are known to represent key facts, often extending beyond location information to feature temperature, rainfall, prosperity, education or any other pertinent facet or feature. Maps are thus utilised to emphasise particular relationships that the cartographers consider to be of interest. Consequently, it is important that the users recognise the intended purpose of a given map and select an appropriate type (e.g. physical, political, geological, climatic, relief, thematic, topographical, economic, resource, road, navigational chart), projection (cylindrical, pseudo-cylindrical, conic, azimuthal, gnomonic, etc.), and scale. In other words, the choice of a map needs to be fit for the observational or navigational purpose and the expected goal.

People utilise maps for many varied reasons, including (Hessler, 2015):

  • To find their way
  • To assert ownership
  • To record human activity
  • To establish control
  • To encourage settlement
  • To plan military campaigns
  • To demonstrate political power

While maps have enabled humans to comprehend their surrounding environment, they have also played a critical part in labelling, establishing and claiming power across neighbours, regions and resources. Hessler’s list of reasons seems to comprise only a single item focused on guiding the journey. Indeed, Rankin (2016) reasons that maps provide the means for governments to understand, manage and defend their territory, pointing out that during the two world wars maps were produced by the hundreds of millions. Barber and Harper (2010) note that maps use size and beauty to convey messages of status and power, while Monmonier (2010) observes that some maps control behaviour by providing the basis for regulating some activities and prohibiting others (for example, by designating residential zones and locating chemical plants outside cities).

Maps hold immense value, and are often taken to be a rational, unbiased and objective representation of reality. However, Wood (1992) asserts that maps, like photographs, represent a subjective point of view. King (1996) concludes that there can be no such thing as an objective map reproducing a pre-existing reality, as powerful choices will always have to be made about what to represent and how, and what to exclude. Black (2000) affirms that maps are coloured by the political purposes of their makers, therefore arguing that map-making and map-using cannot be divorced from aspects of the politics of representation. Monmonier (2014) maintains that maps lie, and the choices that mapmakers make – either consciously or unconsciously – mean that a map, far from being objective, can present only one version out of the range of possible stories about the places it depicts.

Why is Europe at the top half of maps and Africa at the bottom? Although we are accustomed to that convention, it is, in fact, a politically motivated, almost entirely subjective way of depicting a ball spinning in space. As The Power of Projections teaches us, maps do not portray reality, only interpretations of it. To begin with, they are two-dimensional projections of a three-dimensional, spherical Earth. Add to that the fact that every map is made for a purpose and its design tends to reflect that purpose. Finally, a map is often a psychological projection of the historical, political, and cultural values of the cartographer-or of the nation, person or organization for which the map was created.’ (Klinghoffer, 2006, back cover)

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Editor’s note: The PMWJ Advances in Project Management series includes articles by authors of program and project management books published by Routledge. Each month an introduction to the current article is provided by series editor Prof Darren Dalcher, who is also the editor of the Gower/Routledge Advances in Project Management series of books on new and emerging concepts in PM. Prof Dalcher’s article is an introduction to the invited paper this month in the PMWJ.



About the Author


Darren Dalcher, PhD

Author, Professor, Series Editor
Director, National Centre for Project Management
United Kingdom

 


Darren Dalcher
, Ph.D. HonFAPM, FRSA, FBCS, CITP, FCMI SMIEEE SFHEA is Professor of Project Management, and founder and Director of the National Centre for Project Management (NCPM) in the UK. He has been named by the Association for Project Management (APM) as one of the top 10 “movers and shapers” in project management and was voted Project Magazine’s “Academic of the Year” for his contribution in “integrating and weaving academic work with practice”. Following industrial and consultancy experience in managing IT projects, Professor Dalcher gained his PhD in Software Engineering from King’s College, University of London.

Professor Dalcher has written over 200 papers and book chapters on project management and software engineering. He is Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Software: Evolution and Process, a leading international software engineering journal. He is the editor of the book series, Advances in Project Management, published by Routledge and of the companion series Fundamentals of Project Management. Heavily involved in a variety of research projects and subjects, Professor Dalcher has built a reputation as leader and innovator in the areas of practice-based education and reflection in project management. He works with many major industrial and commercial organisations and government bodies.

Darren is an Honorary Fellow of the APM, a Chartered Fellow of the British Computer Society, a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute, and the Royal Society of Arts, A Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a Member of the Project Management Institute (PMI) and the British Academy of Management. He is a Chartered IT Practitioner. He sits on numerous senior research and professional boards, including The PMI Academic Member Advisory Group, the APM Research Advisory Group, the CMI Academic Council and the APM Group Ethics and Standards Governance Board. He is the Academic Advisor and Consulting Editor for the next APM Body of Knowledge. Prof Dalcher is an academic advisor for the PM World Journal. He can be contacted at [email protected].

To view other works by Prof Darren Dalcher, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/darren-dalcher/.

 

 

Strategy as learning to discover the way forward

Advances in Project Management

SERIES ARTICLE

By Prof Darren Dalcher, PhD

Director, National Centre for Project Management
University of Hertfordshire

United Kingdom

 



The term strategy appears to be amongst the 1,000 most commonly used words in the English language (EF, 2017), particularly in a business context; yet it can still have a multitude of alterative meanings. The Oxford English Dictionary defines strategy as: ‘a plan of action designed to achieve a long-term or overall aim’; whilst also offering an alternative definition as ‘the art of planning and directing overall military operations and movements in a war or battle’. The Cambridge English Dictionary meanwhile offers a single, more all-encompassing definition in the form of  ‘a detailed plan for achieving success in situations such as war, politics, business, industry, or sport, or the skill of planning for such situations.

The most common definitions of strategy found in the literature include the following:

The determination of the basic long-term goals and objectives of an enterprise, and the adoption of courses of action and the allocation of resources necessary for those goals.’ (Chandler, 1962; p. 13)

Essentially, developing a competitive strategy is developing a broad formula for how a business is going to compete, what its goals should be, and what policies will be needed to carry out those goals.’ (Porter, 1980; p. xvi)

The definitions above, while emerging almost two decades apart, point to a few essential themes:

  • Strategies focus on the (long term) future and the goals that can be reached as part of that future
  • Strategies determine the goals and objectives that will be pursued
  • The key concern is around the achievement of these goals
  • Resources are therefore allocated, and actions carried out, specifically in order to enable the actions required to facilitate the goals
  • Business environments are competitive, implying that some organisations will fare better while others may not succeed
  • Consequently, given the focus, long term impact and competitiveness, determining the strategies is a critically important and defining function of top management

The term strategy has been in use for centuries. Bracker (1980; p. 219) identifies the etymological origin of the word, from the Greek Strategos, “a general”, which in turn, comes from roots meaning “army” and “lead”, as befitting the second definition offered by the Oxford Dictionary.

The Greek verb stratego means to “plan the destruction of one’s enemies through effective use of resources”. The concept of strategy in a military or political context has remained prominent throughout history, and has been discussed by such major writers as Shakespeare, Montesquieu, Kant, Mill, Hegel, Calusewitz, Liddell Hart and Tolstoy.’ (ibid.)

Carter, Clegg and Kornberger (2010; p. 2) observe that the idea of strategy can be traced back to the early writings on military strategy by Sun Tzu, whose work, The art of war, is often said to mark the birth of the discipline. Other military tacticians expanded on the idea of the strategy of war.

Strategy is the employment of the battle to gain the end of the War; it must therefore give an aim to the whole military action; in other words, Strategy forms the plan of the War, and to this end it links together the series of acts which are to lead to the final decision, that, is to say, it makes the plans for the separate campaigns and regulates the combats to be fought in each.’ (Von Clausewitz, 1940; p. 79)

Given the competitive nature of the business environment and the need to succeed in the long term, business schools appear to have extended the war analogy and adopted the notion of competitive strategy, replacing the adversarial enemy, with the seemingly less sinister, yet equally cunning, cold and calculating entity known as business competition.

More…

To read entire article, click here

 

Editor’s note: The PMWJ Advances in Project Management series includes articles by authors of program and project management books published by Gower and other publishers in the Routledge family.  Each month an introduction to the current article is provided by series editor Prof Darren Dalcher, who is also the editor of the Gower/Routledge Advances in Project Management series of books on new and emerging concepts in PM.  Prof Dalcher’s article is an introduction to the invited paper this month in the PMWJ. 



About the Author


Darren Dalcher, PhD

Series Editor
Director, National Centre for Project Management
University of Hertfordshire, UK

 

 

Darren Dalcher, Ph.D. HonFAPM, FRSA, FBCS, CITP, FCMI, SMIEEE, SFHEA is Professor of Project Management at the University of Hertfordshire, and founder and Director of the National Centre for Project Management (NCPM) in the UK.  He has been named by the Association for Project Management (APM) as one of the top 10 “movers and shapers” in project management in 2008 and was voted Project Magazine’s “Academic of the Year” for his contribution in “integrating and weaving academic work with practice”. In October 2011 he was awarded a prestigious lifetime Honorary Fellowship from the Association for Project Management for outstanding contribution to the discipline of project management. Following industrial and consultancy experience in managing IT projects, Professor Dalcher gained his PhD in Software Engineering from King’s College, University of London.

Professor Dalcher has delivered lectures and courses in many leading institutions worldwide, and has won multiple awards and prizes. He has written over 200 papers and book chapters on project management and software engineering and published over 30 books. He is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Software: Evolution and Process published by John Wiley. He is the editor of the book series, Advances in Project Management, published by Routledge and of the companion series, Fundamentals of Project Management. Heavily involved in a variety of research projects and subjects, Professor Dalcher has built a reputation as leader and innovator in the areas of practice-based education and reflection in project management. He works with many major industrial and commercial organisations and government bodies in the UK and beyond.

Darren is an Honorary Fellow of the APM, a Chartered Fellow of the British Computer Society, a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute, and the Royal Society of Arts, a Senior Member of the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers, a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a Member of the Project Management Institute (PMI), the Academy of Management, and the British Academy of Management. He is a Chartered IT Practitioner. He is a Member of the PMI Advisory Board responsible for the prestigious David I. Cleland project management award and of the APM Professional Development Board.  Prof Dalcher is an academic advisor for the PM World Journal.  He can be contacted at [email protected].

To see other works by Prof Darren Dalcher, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/darren-dalcher/.

 

 

How strategy happens

Advances in Project Management Series

SERIES ARTICLE

David Booth

United Kingdom

 



An introductory tale

The pressure was on. A major new Division of a large international company had just been set up with great expectations, and as the new executive team got to work, the cry went up ‘we need a strategic plan!’.

External help was sought, and a parade of management consultancies presented their recommendations for how the new organisation should go about developing this within the tight timescale set out in the brief: there were detailed project plans specifying what had to be achieved by when, with week by week deliverables, critical deadlines, templates and outline document formats – all very logical and thorough, and appropriately ambitious, and a stack of impressively prepared proposal documents built up in the file.

But one consultant walked into the Boardroom with just a blank sheet of paper, sat down and asked ‘So what precisely do you want to achieve?’ Out of the ensuing discussion came the realisation that – despite the agreed formal brief – those in the room had widely differing views about the new organisation. More talking, and some listening.  Another blank piece of paper – this time flipchart-sized – and a marker pen. Discussion, clarification, different views. The 30 minutes ‘credentials and presentation’ slot became two hours of intense communication, at the end of which there was a simple sketched flipchart diagram mapping out how we were going to begin to address some of the issues. The organisation’s strategy journey had started, not as a result of some detailed project plan, but from people talking and – importantly – listening, to achieve a common understanding of the challenges and how they were going to work together to address them.

The traditional ‘textbook’ approach to strategic planning is a structured process of working methodically through stages of analysis, consideration of strategy options and consequent decisions, and then the equally crucial challenge of implementation, setting up a programme of strategic projects ranging in nature from IT to organisational change – a linear, logical sequence by which an organisation determines its direction and intended destination and marshals its resources to achieve this. Such formal strategic planning processes were adopted widely in the 1970s, with organisations following a series of neatly defined steps to produce a detailed ‘5 Year Plan’ which was then implemented through a structured project programme. But the world – industries, markets, businesses – has moved on since those days when relative stability meant that ambitions could be realised through sustained implementation projects delivered over extended periods; the increasing pace of change (a cliché perhaps, but its perceived veracity is sufficient to drive organisational attitudes) means that such a planned approach to developing and implementing strategies seems outmoded, a resource-intensive process whose determined outcomes are seldom delivered successfully before being overtaken by events.

The emphasis on rapid change has led to the adoption of a more dynamic approach to the development and implementation of strategy, with an emphasis on adaptability and organisational agility to react rapidly to changing circumstances or emerging opportunitiesi.

Starting points and journeys

What prompts an organisation to develop a strategic plan? Every organisation’s circumstances and rationale will be different. However, it might be helpful to consider two questions: a) what has prompted the decision to embark on that particular strategy journey, and b) what is determining the principal approach that is driving this?

To illustrate this, consider four scenarios:

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Editor’s note: The Advances in Project Management series includes articles by authors of program and project management books previously published by Gower in UK and now by Routledge worldwide. Information about Routledge project management books can be found here.



About the Author


David Booth

United Kingdom

 

 

 

David Booth has over 20 years of business management experience working for companies such as United Biscuits, Grand Metropolitan and Smith & Nephew, in marketing and then HR and strategic development at the senior management level, followed by working for the past 16 years as an independent management consultant helping organisations with their ‘strategy journeys’: clients include a range of large and medium-sized organisations from international financial services companies to specialist NHS Foundation Trusts. These projects have involved working intensively with client organisations, guiding and complementing their internal knowledge and resources to help steer their strategic planning processes and develop effective strategic plans: there has been a strong emphasis on organisational learning, and clients have remarked on the continuing value and relevance of the work.

He is author of Strategy Journeys – a guide to effective strategic planning (Routledge, ©2017) which aims to demystify the concept of strategic planning by propounding a ‘first principles’ approach to help those leading organisations work out where to start and what approach to take to steer their own organisation’s ‘strategy journey’.

 

 

Why culture really matters

The hidden perils of acculturation

 

Advances in Project Management

SERIES ARTICLE

By Prof Darren Dalcher

Director, National Centre for Project Management

University of Hertfordshire

United Kingdom

 



According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, acculturation is defined as the cultural modification of an individual, group, or people by adapting to or borrowing traits from another culture. The phenomenon refers to the cultural change that stems from intentional blending between cultures, which aims to alter a pre-existing perspective, approach or way of thinking and replace it with a preferred, and more highly valued alternative response pattern.

A ‘giant’ new kid on the block

The 1984 breakup of AT&T in the US, resulted in the creation of seven independent telecoms companies that were formed from the original twenty-two AT&T controlled members of the Bell system. Pacific Bell, controlled by the holding group, Pacific Telesis Group, was considered by many to be the weakest of the emerging new organisations.

“Of all the Bell regional holding companies, Pacific Telephone holds the most risk for investors. The company’s record of poor earnings and its long-running feud with the California Public Utilities Commission make it a risky investment at best.” New York Times, 1985

Finding itself within the new and fiercely competitive Californian telecommunications marketplace, Bell Pacific had to reform itself into a savvy and successful organisation, much removed from its Bell origins. Bell Pacific launched aggressive marketing campaigns to capture a significant share of the burgeoning market. However, the company quickly found itself enmeshed in controversy for selling unneeded telephone services to non-English speaking customers who did not understand what they were buying. As tales of the dubious sales tactics of the company became public knowledge, morale within the organisation plummeted and its reputation, increasingly on par with that of a dubious used car dealership, also took a hit (Kirp, 1989).

Bell Pacific decided to turn its attention to transforming the organisation into a modern and efficient conglomerate. Modernising the company would require the shaking up of its massive workforce of 62,000 workers and drastically reshuffling the rigidly hierarchical structure, described as a steep pyramid with 14 very precisely delineated levels.

In search of a new culture

More crucially, management also targeted the total transformation of the culture within the organisation. They were worried that Pacific Bell did not have the right culture and competitive attitude and concerned that employees were not sufficiently entrepreneurial for the corporation to be able to succeed in its new environment.

Looking for direction, they turned to a well-known, local Californian recluse and organisational development consultant, Charles Krone. Years earlier, Krone made his fame as an internal specialist within the Proctor & Gamble soap division, for which he set up a liquid detergent plant in Lima, Ohio, that outperformed every other soap plant in the company (Rose, 1990). His counterpart, Herb Stokes, who had since become a corporate consultant and rancher in Abilene, Texas — led a similarly successful effort at a P&G paper products plant he organised in Albany, Georgia. Krone’s methodology was based on a mélange of systems theory, socio-tech thinking, sufi mysticism and the writing of 20th Century Armenian Mystic George I. Gurdieff who believed that most humans spent their days in ‘waking sleep’ and that is only by shedding ingrained habits of thinking that individuals could liberate their inner potential.

Krone’s work was supposed to teach people to think more precisely, but it was jargon-laden and off-putting (Rose, 1990). Pacific Bell contracted with two associates of Charles Krone for $40 million worth of leadership development and personal-growth training (Kirp, 1989), to acculturate the workforce and embed the new culture. Some reports suggest that the full figure was closer to $147 million…

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Editor’s note: The PMWJ Advances in Project Management series includes articles by authors of program and project management books published by Gower and other publishers in the Routledge family.  Each month an introduction to the current article is provided by series editor Prof Darren Dalcher, who is also the editor of the Gower/Routledge Advances in Project Management series of books on new and emerging concepts in PM.  Prof Dalcher’s article is an introduction to the invited paper this month in the PMWJ. 



About the Author


Darren Dalcher, PhD

Series Editor
Director, National Centre for Project Management
University of Hertfordshire, UK

 

 

Darren Dalcher, Ph.D. HonFAPM, FRSA, FBCS, CITP, FCMI, SMIEEE, SFHEA is Professor of Project Management at the University of Hertfordshire, and founder and Director of the National Centre for Project Management (NCPM) in the UK.  He has been named by the Association for Project Management (APM) as one of the top 10 “movers and shapers” in project management in 2008 and was voted Project Magazine’s “Academic of the Year” for his contribution in “integrating and weaving academic work with practice”. In October 2011 he was awarded a prestigious lifetime Honorary Fellowship from the Association for Project Management for outstanding contribution to the discipline of project management. Following industrial and consultancy experience in managing IT projects, Professor Dalcher gained his PhD in Software Engineering from King’s College, University of London.

Professor Dalcher has delivered lectures and courses in many leading institutions worldwide, and has won multiple awards and prizes. He has written over 200 papers and book chapters on project management and software engineering and published over 30 books. He is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Software: Evolution and Process published by John Wiley. He is the editor of the book series, Advances in Project Management, published by Routledge and of the companion series, Fundamentals of Project Management. Heavily involved in a variety of research projects and subjects, Professor Dalcher has built a reputation as leader and innovator in the areas of practice-based education and reflection in project management. He works with many major industrial and commercial organisations and government bodies in the UK and beyond.

Darren is an Honorary Fellow of the APM, a Chartered Fellow of the British Computer Society, a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute, and the Royal Society of Arts, a Senior Member of the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers, a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a Member of the Project Management Institute (PMI), the Academy of Management, and the British Academy of Management. He is a Chartered IT Practitioner. He is a Member of the PMI Advisory Board responsible for the prestigious David I. Cleland project management award and of the APM Professional Development Board.  Prof Dalcher is an academic advisor for the PM World Journal.  He can be contacted at [email protected].

To see other works by Prof Darren Dalcher, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/darren-dalcher/.

 

 

Creating a culture of partnership

between Project Management and Change Management

 

Advances in Project Management Series

SERIES ARTICLE

By Gabrielle O’Donovan

Dublin, Ireland

 



The dismal results achieved by organizational change initiatives over the past decades drive home the need for a step change in how we deliver projects. We can no longer be satisfied to hop along with a ‘one-legged approach’, where only Project Management methodologies are used or, alternatively, limp along with Project Management in the driving seat and Change Management playing second fiddle. Rather, a firm-footed ‘two-legged approach’ to project delivery, that employs both Project Management and Change Management methodologies and expertise, will enable projects to stride forward in confidence and derive business benefits. Achieving this requires the thoughtful integration of Project Management and Change Management methodologies throughout the end-to-end project lifecycle, and the cultivation of a culture of partnership between Project Managers and Change Managers – a twenty-first century solution to a twenty-first century problem.

The current disconnect between Project Management and Change Management feeds the well-documented projects failure rate (40–70 per cent), and the laying of many a dud egg.  While much work has been done in recent times to try to address this issue, cross-discipline integration efforts thus far have only touched the tip of the iceberg (policies, practices, and processes), ignoring that below-the-surface subterranean cultural component that can divide or unite project teams. An effective joint value proposition between Project Management and Change Management must incorporate both perspectives.  By way of an example, on any given project team shared assumptions drive the expression of shared attitudes and behaviours.  These in turn impact what gets done and what doesn’t, and cultural assumptions at play are reflected in project outcomes and results. For instance, if the project team holds a shared assumption that successful measurement of project delivery is simply ‘on time, on scope and on budget’, they will not appreciate the need to secure end-user adoption of new ways of working, and are likely to see the work of Change Managers early on in the project cycle as little more than interference and a distraction. They may rationalize this mind-set by saying, ‘If we don’t have a system, we won’t need users to be on board.’ Where this assumption is in action below the surface, strategies and plans that involve Project Managers’ cooperation with Change Managers early in the project cycle (e.g. to agree how the end user will be impacted) may prove very difficult to implement, and undermine business benefits realization.

Making Culture Explicit and Measureable

Because mapping any given culture could be a never-ending task, it is essential to define the parameters of such work. Context is one such parameter and the context here is ‘the integration of Project Management and Change Management methodologies for projects’. The other parameter I am employing is a three-part framework designed by Edgar Schein, Professor Emeritus, MIT, on those universal ‘problems’ or challenges that organizations face:

  1. Deepest assumptions about universal macro issues.
  2. The second part of the framework considers those challenges that the organization faces as it adapts to its external environment. My new additions supplementing Schein’s original list include getting consensus on the ‘shared approach to problem solving’, and ‘shared approach to risks and issues resolution’ – challenges that are in the forefront for project leaders and teams.
  3. The third part of the framework considers those universal problems that the organization faces in terms of internal integration. Newly identified challenges added to Schein’s original list include getting consensus on ‘maximizing problem solving capability’ and ‘openness to feedback’.

These problems are as relevant to change projects as they are to business-as-usual. The project is, after all, an organization, albeit a temporary one. While leaders may give considered thought to some or even all of the problems above when considering the larger organizational context, they rarely give these problems due attention in the temporary projects environment – and certainly not in terms of how they can define a network of cultural assumptions that will help resolve these issues. Therefore, these challenges are an excellent reference point for doing just that, as they add a structured level of detail to that higher-level parameter of ‘Change Management/Project Management integration’.

More…

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About the Author


Gabrielle O’Donovan

Dublin, Ireland

 

 


Gabrielle O’Donovan
has clocked up more than 30,000 hours over 20+ years working on change programmes that have covered the full spectrum. Clients have included Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Unilever, the London Metropolitian Police, Lloyds Banking Group, Friends Life Insurance, the Ministry of Justice UK, Invensys Plc, Dublin Airport Authority, Cathay Pacific Airways and HSBC Hong Kong. Projects have been global, regional and country-specific in scale.

Gabrielle O’Donovan has some significant achievements under her belt: her culture transformation programme for HSBC Hong Kong plus five subsidiary companies embedded a customer-centric culture and won an ASTD Excellence in Practice Award (USA, 2005); at Dublin Airport Authority, Ireland, her work as Stakeholder Management Lead for the building of Terminal 2 was instrumental to securing capital expenditure; Gabrielle’s first book ‘The Corporate Culture Handbook’1 was rated “In the top 1% of best business books for 2005” by USA reviewer Business Book Review; in 2010, Edgar Schein, Professor Emeritus of Sloan School of Management, MIT and founding father of organisational culture, referenced Gabrielle and her HSBC culture change programme in his 4th Edition of ‘Organisational Culture and Leadership (Jossey-Bass, 2010). Schein also shared Gabrielle’s ‘Characteristics of a Healthy Culture’ typology in his book, referring to her 23 new culture dimensions as “noteable”.

Gabrielle O’Donovan is the author of Making Organizational Change Stick: How to create a culture of partnership between project and change management, published by Abingdon: Routledge in 2018.