One of my clients long ago attempted a large-scale change in their organization. Early in the project it didn’t go well because while they had reasonable sponsorship, and they hired me to help them manage the change, they had insufficient project leadership. This resulted in the project missing early deadlines. As a consultant focused on helping organizations drive successful change, I alerted the leadership to this gap in their project. Ultimately, they filled a key project leadership role, and the project was successful.

The symptoms I saw in this project, and are common to most projects where there is a lack of project management include:
1. Lack of an overall plan to execute the change, leading to a misunderstanding of requirements, dates, and expectations.
2. Inconsistent delivery. Lack of project standards cause various parts of the organization to implement the change differently, causing confusion among employees.
3. Lack structure. The lack of project standards also confounds accountability for the work that is required to affect the change. People don’t understand who is responsible for what.
4. Uncoordinated. Various parts of the project attempt to implement their changes but are met with resistance and confusion because those impacted are unclear on how it all fits together.

When the project leadership trifecta is complete with a solid project management approach, you’ll observe the following:
1. A clear and well communicated plan that helps the organization understand what will be completed by when, and their role in these changes.
2. Project risks and issues are well documented, and more importantly, well mitigated to better ensure success.
3. A scope change process that judiciously evaluates requested changes to the project, communicating the impact and ultimately adjusting plans when changes are approved.
4. An excellent working relationship between the sponsor and the project manager, where communications is open and accountability is clear.

For more information about how to run projects more effectively, I encourage you to review the Project Management Institute’s website.

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