Tag Archives: agile project management

Why Change is Hard

Why Change is Hard

In 250 Words or Less

When we think about change, often we look at it as being done to us, not something that we are part of. Initiating change is a scary, overwhelming process that we often avoid because we lack the tools to accumulate buy-in and successfully plan and execute the change in the face of the following obstacles/barriers:

  1. psychological/political
  2. logistical
  3. financial
  4. external

This leads to inaction and preservation of the status quo until the pain becomes too much to bear, or the promise of the change becomes so enticing, that people are willing to drop their resistance and begin engaging in the activities necessary to realize the intended outcomes of the change.

Organizations must identify up-front not only why people may resist, but also who will likely resist. Some of the typical reasons why people will resist include:

  • loss of certainty (includes fear of job loss)
  • loss of purpose, direction, or status
  • loss of mastery (includes loss of expertise/recognition)
  • loss of control or ownership
  • loss of connection or attachment
  • lack of trust or clarity
  • fear of failure (feel unprepared)
  • seeing proposed change as irrelevant or a bad idea

Finally, change is hard because even if you idedntify and overcome the resistance/obstacles/barriers, hiding below the surface is the even more daunting prospect that according to a 2009 ProSci study, 73% of organizations are at or near change saturation — the point at which organizations are incapable of absorbing additional change.

(248 words)

SPECIAL BONUS

One tool I created for the Change Planning Toolkit™ that will assist you in creating a stronger change strategy and more targeted communications as you lower resistance and get people to choose change are the Eight Change Mindsets:

Eight Change Mindsets to Harness for Success

Obviously it is really hard to fit everything into 250 words so I had to leave some great other highlights of why change is hard, including this one:

In a 2008 global CEO study conducted by IBM on the enterprise of the future, the top challenges to successfully implementing strategic change were identified as:

  1. changing mindsets and attitudes (58 percent)
  2. corporate culture (49 percent)
  3. underestimating complexity (35 percent)
  4. shortage of resources (33 percent)
  5. lack of commitment from higher management (32 percent)
  6. lack of change know-how (20 percent)
  7. lack of motivation of employees involved (16 percent)

And here are some other challenges I would have included in the list:

  • lack of tools
  • lack of training
  • stakeholder misalignment
  • lack of buy in
  • change saturation
  • change fatigue
  • lack of change readiness
  • missing prerequisites
  • underestimating resistance
  • missing resources needed to succeed
  • underestimating risks and barriers
  • underestimating benefits of the status quo

To make change easier you’ll definitely want to transform how you plan and execute change into a more visual and collaborative approach, ideally suited for remote and hybrid interactions. It’s all laid out in my latest book Charting Change and supported by the Change Planning Toolkit™. A growing number of universities are picking up and teaching this new modern approach. Why not you?

Sources:

  1. Charting Change by Braden Kelley, Palgrave Macmillan, 2016
  2. Marsh survey on health, productivity and absenteeism—Prosci, 2009

Image Credit: Unsplash


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Remote Project Management – The Visual Project Charter™

Remote Project Management - The Visual Project Charter™

The truth is that for most of us project managers, whether we want to admit it or not, the process of creating a project charter is one that we often dread.

We sit there in front of a Microsoft Word template blinking at us on the screen and realize just how much missing or incomplete information we have when we begin typing into the one of the very first, and potentially most important artifacts for any project.

We know we face the sending of a series of emails, follow up emails, follow up to the follow up emails, and maybe even some escalation emails and phone calls just to get the information we need to create the first draft of a project charter. And that’s before we even begin trying to get alignment, buy-in, and sign-off on the document.

Now, add in the challenges of trying to create a project charter when everyone is working remotely and our sacred task of initiating a project doesn’t get any easier.

So, there has never been a better time to leverage the Visual Project Charter™.

The Visual Project Charter™

With online whiteboarding tools like Mural, Miro, LucidSpark and Microsoft Whiteboard you can easily download the Visual Project Charter™ for FREE as a JPEG and upload it as a background to place digital sticky notes on as you collaborate with cross-functional team virtually using Zoom, Cisco WebEx or Microsoft Teams.

Visual Project Charter™

Click here to access the PDF poster (35″x56″) and JPEG of the Visual Project Charter™

To help give you a better idea of how easy this is to do and what it might look like, I created the following short six-minute video introduction to the Visual Project Charter™ to show how easy it is to take the JPEG and upload it as a background into online whiteboarding tools like Mural, Miro, LucidSpark or Microsoft Whiteboard where you can place digital sticky notes instead of real ones as you collaborate with cross-functional team virtually using Zoom, Cisco WebEx or Microsoft Teams.

Click here to access the PDF poster (35″x56″) and JPEG of the Visual Project Charter™

Remote Project Management

Whether you download the Visual Project Charter™ PDF and print it as a poster (35″x56″) or use the JPEG in the digital world I’m sure you’ll agree that this a much more visual, collaborative, enjoyable and effective way to gather all of the information to populate your project charter and build the buy-in and alignment necessary to make your project a success!

Here is a step-by-step guide for how to use the Visual Project Charter™ with online whiteboarding tools like Miro, Mural, LucidSpark and Microsoft Whiteboard:

  1. Download the Visual Project Charter™ from this web site
  2. (both JPEG and PDF)

  3. Create a new workspace in your online whiteboarding tool (Miro, Mural, LucidSpark or Microsoft Whiteboard)
  4. Upload the JPEG version of the Visual Project Charter™ to your online whiteboarding tool
    • MIRO – ‘Upload->My Device’ (left side icons)
    • MURAL -‘Images->import images’ (left side icons)
    • LUCIDSPARK – ‘Insert->Images’ (under hamburger menu on the top)
    • WHITEBOARD – ‘Images->Library Image’ (bottom icons)

  5. Resize the JPEG image after it is added
  6. Lock the JPEG image down so people can’t move it around when placing their sticky notes
  7. Create work areas around the Visual Project Charter™ to give you larger, targeted areas to work (if desired)
  8. Plan and execute your cross-functional team meeting to populate the Visual Project Charter™ via Zoom or Cisco WebEx or Microsoft teams when the workspace is built
  9. Have fun!
  10. Use the results of your Visual Project Charter™ session to create a traditional project charter and route it for signatures

Charting ChangeI’m sure you’ll get a lot of value out of the Visual Project Charter™, especially when using it as part of your remote project management best practices.

And, if you like the Visual Project Charter™, you will LOVE the Change Planning Toolkit™ and should definitely pick up copies of my books:

  1. Charting Change
  2. Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire

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Empowering Every Resident with Tools for Change and Innovation

Empowering Every Resident with Tools for ChangeWhat if you could empower every citizen with tools that will help your city, state or country innovate and change faster than the competition for a penny a person?

Well, now it’s possible…

A revolution is beginning, and the smart cities, states, countries, and even organizations, are arming themselves with the tools they need to win…

The Change Planning Toolkit™ has been designed to create a more visual, collaborative and agile method for getting everyone literally all on the same page for change. The Change Planning Toolkit™’s collection of tools, frameworks, and worksheets and the approach outlined in the book Charting Change operate together in a spirit built upon the standards created by the Project Management Institute (PMI) and the Association of Change Management Professionals (ACMP) and the interactive approaches that the Lean Canvas and Business Model Canvas have made comfortable for people.

ACMP Standard Visualization

The Change Planning Toolkit™ is anchored in the best practices of organizational change and project management. At its center is the Change Planning Canvas™, a powerful tool that will help you beat the 70% change failure rate by enabling you to quickly visualize, plan, and execute projects and change initiatives alike. The more than fifty (50) tools in the Change Planning Toolkit™ will help you deliver projects and change efforts on time, while simultaneously accelerating implementation and adoption.

Change Planning Wall

If the benefits are not clear, be sure and get your 10 Free Change Planning Tools and you’ll get a better sense of the power of the Change Planning Toolkit™ (it is visual after all) and check out the additional benefits in the image below:

Change Planning Toolkit Benefits

The Change Planning Toolkit™ is breaking away from the business model where people traditionally license intellectual property in the innovation and management information space by the named user, where fees for example are:

1. Gartner — $20,000-30,000 per year for a single user
2. Forrester — ~$20,000 per year for a single user
3. BeingFirst — $975 per year for a single user
4. ProSci — $350-400 per download (for a single user) or $4,000+ per user for training
5. MarketingProfs.com — $279 per year for a single user
6. Skillsoft — $150 per year for business skills training for a single user

… or you can hire a top consultant to do some knowledge transfer to your organization for $400-$1,000 per hour (or more).

Change Planning Toolkit Valuable Tools

Now, what is Change Planning Toolkit™ offering that is different?

First, the Change Planning Toolkit™ provides an integrated system of tools far more powerful and far more capable of increasing organizational agility than any other.

Second, the Change Planning Toolkit™ is now available using two business model variations not usually offered in the intellectual property space, which include:

1. Access for Every Employee (aka the Site License option)

  • Access for EVERY employee in your organization, priced at a very affordable $2/yr per employee plus a $299.99 annual fee
  • Includes access to a QuickStart Guide to get you up and running quickly
  • Includes access to POSTER SIZE versions of key tools, including the Change Planning Canvas™ and Visual Project Charter™
  • SPECIAL OFFER – The next three (3) firms to purchase a full-day training session (which includes train-the-trainer) will receive a free* Change Planning Toolkit™ site license

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Book a Training Session and get a free* site license
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2. Access for Every Resident (aka the City/State/Country License option)

  • Access for EVERY resident of your city, state, or country. Priced at a very affordable $0.01/yr per resident ($1,000/yr minimum)
  • Yes, that is right. Cities, states and countries are all eligible for a license that makes these tools available to all residents for just a PENNY per year per resident!
  • SPECIAL OFFER #1 – Purchase a city, state, or country license worth more than $25,000 and get up to 50 people trained to use the toolkit and how to train others to use it (training fees waived for one session, expenses still to be reimbursed)
  • SPECIAL OFFER #2 – Purchase a city, state, or country license worth more than $100,000 and get up to 200 people trained to use the toolkit and how to train others to use it (training fees waived for four (4) sessions in up to two (2) locations with two adjacent days per location, expenses still to be reimbursed)
  • SPECIAL OFFER #3 – Purchase a city, state, or country license worth more than $1,000,000 and get up to 1,000 people trained to use the toolkit and how to train others to use it (training fees waived for twenty (20) sessions in up to ten (10) locations with two adjacent days per location, expenses still to be reimbursed)

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CONTACT ME to get access for all of your residents
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Some educational institutions may be able to apply for grants from the government to cover the cost of the license and training as part of their efforts to raise the skills of their local residents. Central Wyoming College is an example of an educational institution that won a Federal grant to do just that. It’s possible.

And these licenses are available for both the:

  1. Change Planning Toolkit™
  2. Human-Centered Innovation Toolkit™ (coming soon)

Become a Human-Centered Innovation Toolkit™ Patron

The Human-Centered Innovation Toolkit™ will be coming soon, and you can become a Patron by helping to fund its completion through a site license or a city/state/country license and as a reward get instant access to the POSTER SIZE version of The Experiment Canvas™ and the many other tools I’ve already completed. You’ll then of course get access to the rest of the toolkit as I complete it. You’ll get this instant access at a permanent 50% discount off the normal $2/yr per employee or $0.01/yr per resident, meaning your cost will be a paltry $1/yr per employee or $0.005/yr per resident for the lifetime of the license.

SPECIAL BUNDLE DISCOUNT:

— Get instant access for both the Change Planning Toolkit™ and the Human-Centered Innovation Toolkit™ (coming soon) for all of your residents for a low bundle price of $0.014/yr per resident ($1,000/yr minimum) – that’s less than a penny-and-a-half per resident (a full 60% discount off the second license).

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CONTACT ME to get a jump on the competition
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Empower Your Residents and Employees to Cope with the Accelerating Pace of Change

So don’t wait, act today and get access for all of your employees or all of your residents to these powerful, intuitive and beautifully visual and collaborative tools that will help increase the speed of innovation and change in your organizations to cope with the accelerating pace of change in the world all around us. Countries all around the world are fighting to be the destination of choice of aspiring entrepreneurs and bold innovators and to rise in comparative rankings like the:

World’s 50 Most Innovative Countries (license cost based on population)

  1. Switzerland ($84,541)
  2. Sweden ($99,206)
  3. Netherlands ($170,328)
  4. United States ($3,264,740)
  5. United Kingdom ($655,111)
  6. Denmark ($57,118)
  7. Singapore ($57,845)
  8. Finland ($55,413)
  9. Germany ($806,361)
  10. Ireland ($47,492)
  11. ————————————–
    State of California ($392,500)
    ————————————–

  12. South Korea ($507,050)
  13. Luxembourg ($5,841)
  14. Iceland ($3,343)
  15. Japan ($1,260,452)
  16. France ($649,387)
  17. Hong Kong ($74,019)
  18. Israel ($83,232)
  19. Canada ($366,261)
  20. Norway ($53,308)
  21. Austria ($85,924)
  22. ————————————–
    State of Texas ($278,625)
    ————————————–

  23. New Zealand ($46,049)
  24. China ($13,882,327)
  25. Australia ($246,417)
  26. Czech Republic ($105,551)
  27. Estonia ($13,058)
  28. Malta ($4,205)
  29. Belgium ($114,438)
  30. Spain ($460,701)
  31. Italy ($597,980)
  32. Cyprus ($11,876)
  33. ————————————–
    New York City ($85,504)
    ————————————–

  34. Portugal ($102,648)
  35. Slovenia ($20,713)
  36. Latvia ($19,446)
  37. Slovakia ($54,322)
  38. UAE ($93,976)
  39. Bulgaria ($70,453)
  40. Malaysia ($311,642)
  41. Poland ($385,636)
  42. Hungary ($97,879)
  43. Lithuania ($28,306)
  44. —————————————
    Chicago ($27,205)
    —————————————

  45. Croatia ($42,098)
  46. Romania ($192,375)
  47. Turkey ($804,175)
  48. Greece ($108,929)
  49. Russia ($1,433,750)
  50. Chile ($183,135)
  51. Vietnam ($954,146)
  52. Montenegro ($6,263)
  53. Qatar ($23,381)
  54. Ukraine ($444,051)

Are you happy with your country’s position on the World’s 50 Most Innovative Countries list?

Are you happy with your company’s level of organizational agility or level of innovation success?

Is your organization or country keeping up with the accelerating pace of change?

If not, then you need these tools. And if you are satisfied with your competitive position, then you need these tools to maintain your current position…

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CONTACT ME to get access for all of your residents or employees
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Join Me at the Virtual Change Management Summit 2017

Virtual Change Management Conference

On July 12, 2017 I will be speaking at Change Management Review’s Virtual Change Management Summit 2017™, a curated collection of brand new pre-recorded global webinars bringing thought leaders and senior practitioners in the change management profession together.

The purpose of the event is to help participants discover, learn, and reinforce how change management practices and principles are applied in today’s business world.

Click here for more information and to register for this outstanding event

Why is the Virtual Change Management Summit 2017™ important to change management professionals today?

Our profession is currently fragmented and formalizing at different rates across the globe resulting in confusion about how to take part in professional development for those who have just joined the profession and for those who are in the mid-range of their career as a change management practitioner. Aside from formal certification training, there really isn’t a tangible mode to learn more about what is going on and what works unless one attends a conference or an in-person seminar.

The Virtual Change Management Summit 2017™ is an inexpensive means for change management professionals to learn, grow, and understand the business world around them from the perspective of well known experts and senior change management practitioners.

(from the Change Management Review web site)

In addition to myself, the rest of the speaking lineup will include:

  • Theresa Moulton, Editor-in-Chief, Change Management Review™
  • Dr. Dean Ackerman and Dr. Linda Ackerman Anderson, Co-Founders, Being First Inc.
  • Tim Creasey, Chief Innovation Officer, Prosci
  • Jason Little, Agile Management Consultant, Coach and Trainer
  • Kimberlee Williams, President, Center for Strategy Realization
  • Linda Hoopes, President, Resilience Alliance

The title of my presentation will be:

The Future of Project Management is… Change!

… and I will be exploring the intersections and relationships between project management, innovation management, change management, lean, six sigma, agile, lean startup, and design thinking and how organizations can fundamentally transform how they plan and execute what matters most.

I hope you’ll join us on July 12th!
(or watch the sessions on demand after their scheduled times)

Click here for more information and to register for this outstanding event


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10 Free Change Planning Tools

Get Your 10 Free Change Planning ToolsHave you downloaded your ten free change planning tools?

NEWSFLASH: I’ve added sample QuickStart Guide content to the download package, so if you’ve already downloaded the 10 Free Change Planning Tools, you’ll want to download them again to get this bonus content.

Research shows that 70% of change efforts fail. There are many reasons why, including that many people find the planning of a change effort overwhelming and lack tools for making the process more visual, collaborative and human.

Following the successful launch of my latest book Charting Change and a suite of tools called the Change Planning Toolkit™, I have made several access levels available to spread the methodology and help get everyone literally on the same page for change:

Get 10 Free Downloads from the Change Planning Toolkit™I am making 10 free change planning tools from the toolkit available as 11″x17″ downloads along with JUST ADDED sample content from the QuickStart Guide,
Get 26 of the 50+ Change Planning Toolkit™ toolsbut book buyers will get access to the Change Planning Toolkit™ Basic License (26 of 50 tools) at 11″x17″ size — a $500 value,
Get all 50+ tools in the Change Planning Toolkit™and buyers of the Change Planning Toolkit™ Bronze License will get access to all 50+ tools for individual educational use at an 11″x17″ size — a $1,200 value.

Change Planning Toolkit Levels and Free Downloads

I am very excited to share with you the Change Planning Toolkit™, including the popular Visual Project Charter™, Change Planning Canvas™ and many other great tools for increasing your change success!

Increase your consulting revenue or your organizational agility and get a jump on your competition!

Click here to get your 10 Free Change Planning Tools

Site licenses are available for professional or commercial use starting at $2/yr per employee*, and include access to poster size versions of many of the tools (35″x56″).

*Bronze Site Licenses have a one-time setup fee of $299. Site License fee based on total number of employees in the organization.

Below you’ll find a downloadable presentation that gives you five reasons to invest in the Change Planning Toolkit™:


Click here to get your 10 Free Change Planning Tools
Sign up for the latest news and alerts


Click on the tool name to read the article about each of the 10 Free Change Planning Tools:

  1. Five Keys to Successful Change
  2. Architecting the Organization for Change
  3. Building a Global Sensing Network
  4. Visual Project Charter™
  5. Motivation Ability Worksheet
  6. PCC Change Readiness Framework
  7. Eight I’s of Infinite Innovation™
  8. ACMP Standard for Change Management® (Visualization)
  9. Organizational Agility Framework
  10. The Eleven Change Roles™


Accelerate your change and transformation success

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Increasing Organizational Agility

Increasing Organizational AgilityCompanies seeking to cope with the pace of accelerating change are looking for ways to go faster, and managers in non-technical disciplines have become increasingly infatuated with the Agile Software Development methodology and many are finding ways to adapt parts of it to create agile change or agile marketing or other such things. Sure agility sounds like a good thing and sure agile marketing sounds like it must be better than regular marketing, but is it?

What is agility really?

According to Dictionary.com, agility is:

“The power of moving quickly and easily; nimbleness”
OR
“The ability to think and draw conclusions quickly; intellectual acuity”

When it comes to a business context, I however prefer to define agility a bit more simply, a bit more concisely. Agility, or organizational agility in our case, is:

“How quickly an organization can change directions”

Many people, especially in an organizational or commercial context, get confused between agility and flexibility. They are NOT the same thing.

Agile vs. Flexible

Organizational agility is about how quickly an organization can change directions, while flexibility in an organization gives it the ability to do different things with the same resources, often by purchasing more flexible equipment (at a higher price) or by training people to do more than one thing (resulting in higher training costs) or by hiring people that are skilled at more than one thing (higher salary/benefit costs). Flexibility definitely has its benefits (being able to shift resources among purposes) but it also has costs like the ones mentioned above, and probably more importantly, flexibility usually decreases the efficiency of systems.

Fixedness on the other hand, reduces variability, allows you to focus on the things that do vary and get really good at executing all aspects of a system, including the acquisition of the very best tools and technology to perform each particular function. But, as you can imagine, fixedness has its downside too. If a human resource goes down due to illness or a piece of production equipment breaks, potentially, the whole system grinds to a halt.

So, as you can imagine, increased organizational agility is achieved by establishing the right balance between flexibility and fixedness.

The Organizational Agility Framework

I have captured this principle below in the Organizational Agility Framework:

Organizational Agility Framework


Click to access this framework as a scalable 11″x17″ PDF download
(Tooklit purchasers also get access to the Organizational Agility Worksheet)

The Organizational Agility Framework helps organizations:

  • Adapt to changing environmental conditions
  • Stretch existing resources and the organization itself to do new things in new ways
  • Enable faster change inside the organization and faster adoption by customers
  • Evolve profitable customer relationships to keep the organization strong and vibrant

The Organizational Agility Framework (and corresponding worksheet in the Change Planning Toolkit™) also helps you ask two key questions:

  1. Where can we stretch our existing resources and the organization itself to do new things in new ways?
  2. What should we keep the same to enable faster change inside the organization and faster adoption by customers?

Flexibility vs. Fixedness

Too much Flexibility and it will take too long to make decisions and changes.

Too much Fixedness and you will suffer from organizational rigidity.

Companies seeking increased organizational agility and an improved ability to cope with the accelerating pace of change and ever-evolving customer expectations must seek to strike that optimal balance between fixedness (so you can go fast) and flexibility (so you can quickly adapt to changing customer needs).

Can your organization find the right balance?

More on digital transformation and organizational agility soon, so stay tuned!

In the meantime, please get yourself a copy of Charting Change as a hardcover (or ebook) and get your free downloads from the Change Planning Toolkit™ (or go ahead and purchase a license now).

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Visualizing Project Planning Success

Visualizing Project Planning Success for 2016

The first three of ten free downloads from the Change Planning Toolkit™ were focused on innovation and change:

  1. Five Keys to Successful Change
  2. Architecting the Organization for Change
  3. Building a Global Sensing Network

The goal of these three frameworks was to get people visualizing more holistically how to build a strong foundation for a successful continuous change capability for the organization and a strong, vibrant innovation ecosystem. The next free download will tackle one of many project managers’ least favorite project planning activities – the creation of a project charter.

The Visual Project Charter™

The truth is that for most of us project managers, whether we want to admit it or not, the process of creating a project charter is one that we often dread. We sit there in front of a Microsoft Word template like the one in figure 1 blinking at us on the screen and realize just how much missing or incomplete information we have when we begin typing into the one of the very first, and potentially most important, project artifacts for any project. We know we face the sending of a series of emails, follow up emails, follow up to the follow up emails, and maybe even some escalation emails and phone calls just to get the information we need to create the first draft of a project charter. And that’s before we even begin trying to get alignment, buy-in, and sign-off on the document.

Project Charter Template

Figure 1

It doesn’t have to be this way!

Because every project ultimately changes something, as part of the Change Planning Toolkit™ I have designed a Visual Project Charter™ (see figure 2) to help project managers make the project planning process and the creation of the project charter a more visual, more collaborative, and more enjoyable process, providing an opportunity to improve the chances of project success by creating upfront improvements in a AAA project experience:

  1. Alignment
  2. Accountability
  3. Action

The Visual Project Charter™ helps organizations:

  • Move beyond the Microsoft Word document
  • Make the creation of Project Charters more fun!
  • Kickoff projects in a more collaborative, more visual way
  • Structure dialogue to capture the project overview, project scope, project conditions and project approach

Visual Project Charter

Figure 2

Get your sticky notes and pens ready and gather the people with the knowledge and information necessary to accurately shape the project!

The Visual Project Charter™ is designed to be used in place of, or in advance of populating your normal Project Charter template in Microsoft Word. It MUST be used in a cross-functional project team meeting before project kickoff to initiate the conversations necessary to surface the assumptions, issues, risks, constraints, and definitions of success. As you know, identifying the potential land mines before you even begin a project will both increase the chances of success and decrease the chances of schedule or cost overruns.

The canvas helps you ask, visualize and collaborate on some of the following questions:

  • What is the purpose of this project?
  • What is the key information to include in the Project Overview?
  • What is the Project Scope?
  • What are the Project Conditions we must consider?
  • What Project Approach are we going to use?

The goal is to capture all of your typical project charter information:

  1. Purpose of the Project
  2. Project Overview
    • Executive Summary
    • Business Needs
    • Business Justification
  3. Project Scope
    • Stakeholders
    • Objectives, Goals and Success Criteria
    • Deliverables
    • Deliverables Out of Scope
    • Estimated Budget and Costs
    • Organizational Impacts
    • Departmental SOW
    • Estimated Duration
  4. Project Conditions
    • Assumptions
    • Issues
    • Risks
    • Constraints
  5. Project Approach
    • Structure
    • Project Team Roles and Responsibilities

This is a lot more FUN and SUCCESSFUL approach to building a project charter. Most project managers who see benefit in this approach will probably choose to use the Visual Project Charter™ as a tool to gather the inputs necessary to populate the traditional project charter template on ProjectManagement.com or one that you’ve created yourself.

But, the advantage of potentially of using the Visual Project Charter™ in place of a traditional project charter document is that you can make large format prints of your drafts and post them in the halls of the involved workgroups for additional comments before creating a final draft that can then be signed off on by the project sponsor and other key accountable parties for all the world to see and to help drive a AAA project experience by maintaining:

  1. Alignment
  2. Accountability
  3. Action

I’m making a free download of the Visual Project Charter™ available to the readers of this article and purchasers of my new book Charting Change (Feb 2016) as an 11”x17” format PDF. A larger format (poster size – 35″x56″) version will be made available to individual licensees and site licensees of the Change Planning Toolkit™ (coming soon) or can be purchased separately at a nominal fee here (UPDATE: You can now access the poster size version for free too):

Click here to access the poster size version (35″x56″) of the Visual Project Charter™

Remote Project Management

UPDATE (October 9, 2021): A few months ago I created a video example of how to use the Visual Project Charter™ that you’ll see below in part to show how you can not only print the Visual Project Charter™ as a 35″x56″ poster BUT you can also use it a background in online whiteboarding tools like Miro, Mural, LucidSpark, and Microsoft Whiteboard and then have people place their virtual sticky notes on top of it.

So, what do you think?

Is the Visual Project Charter™ a potentially useful additional tool for your project planning process?

Do you plan on trying it?

Or do you perhaps already use something similar?

Is there anything conspicuously absent that threatens its effectiveness as an additional project planning tool?

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Click to access this framework as a scalable 11″x17″ PDF download

Click here to access the poster size version (35″x56″) of the Visual Project Charter™

Accelerate your change and transformation success

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Conference Wrapup – Change Management 2015

Change Management 2015

Recently I had the opportunity to attend the Association of Change Management Professionals’ (ACMP®) annual conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, titled appropriately Change Management 2015. The event represented a convening of nearly 1,000 change management professionals from around the globe, including countries as geographically dispersed as Qatar and Australia, but with the bulk of the attendees being from the United States, Canada, and Australia.

Nearly 1,000 attendees is a pretty decent size, much bigger than any innovation event that I’ve ever been to, but this larger number of attendees is quite small when you consider the number of people serving in official or unofficial change management roles around the world (either as employees or consultants), or when compared to the number of project managers (estimated at 16.5 million people around the world) and potentially as many as 1.5 million six sigma black belts and green belts sprinkled around the world.

Meanwhile, a couple of the leading training organizations in the change management space have trained just short of 100,000 people in the principles of change management.

If you agree that proactively managing change in organizations is at least as important as the practice of Six Sigma, and potentially as important as project management, that means that as the pace and importance of change continues to gather steam, there could be the need to train between 1.4 million and 16.4 million change management professionals in the next few years.

Professionalizing the Change Management Profession

One of the things that occured at the conference was the highlighting of the ACMP Standard for Change Management™ and the new ACMP Qualified Education Provider™ (QEP™) program. Both of these are steps along the way to building momentum for a change management certification that the ACMP® hopes will become the gold standard for people worldwide to highlight that they have the skills knoweldge, and experience to be recognized as a Certified Change Management Professional™ (CCMP™).

Kicking it off with Dan Pink

The opening keynote at the event was delivered by Dan Pink, author of ‘Drive’ and several other books. Much of his speech was about the societal impacts of the greater availability of information that we enjoy today, and how that will also affect our ability to sell, to influence, and to affect change. In sales, it used to be that the seller nearly always had more information than the buyer, that is rarely the case any more. Because of this shift in information availability, experts are being called on more to be a curator of information than as a way to access information. Dan highlighted how nearly everything that we do in business involves sales and change, yet business schools and MBA programs teach neither sales nor change (they might teach a course on leadership if you’re lucky). And if the ABC’s of sales used to be “Always Be Closing” then the new ABC’s of sales are Attunement, Buoyancy and Clarity.

One interesting personal productivity insight that Dan shared was the idea that asking yourself questions before doing something is a better preparation method than positive self talk. Another was how by reducing your feelings of personal power before going into a conversation can actually increase your effectiveness at getting people to do something. And finally, consider these points related to change:

  • Context is more important than the individual
  • When engaging people for change, it’s very important to use the audience’s language not yours
  • Instead of focusing on changing people’s minds, focus on making it easy for people to do something
  • When information goes down easier it is more likely to stick (rhyming, distillation, etc.)

The IBM Research Perspective

There was a great quote from Hilary Bland of IBM at the conference that illustrates the necessary future direction and importance of change management:

“The ability to anticipate, manage and capitalize on pervasive change is often the difference between market leadership and extinction.”

Between IBM’s research study in 2008 and their followup study in 2014, they’ve seen a shift from organizations managing change on projects to organizations increasingly focusing on enterprise transformation. While the 2008 study examined how organizations manage change and gained practical knowledge, the 2014 study gained insights into the new environment of continuous transformation & the attributes of organizations that are highly successful in managing change.

One of the findings from IBM’s 2014 study was that 74% of respondents are concerned employees are not fully prepared to adapt to an increasingly digital work environment. This sentiment also manifests in the finding that only 20% of organizations successfully deliver on more than 75% of their projects.

And while the digital revolution provides new opportunities to lead change – bottom-up, top-down, sideways – the fact is that 87% of the IBM study respondents stated that not enough focus is currently placed on change management in critical projects and that only 44% of high performance change organizations understand change benefits – Scary!

On final interesting tidbit from the 2014 IBM Research findings – In 2008 only 20% of surveyed companies were using internal resources to manage change projects, but this number is 84% now – highlighting a perceived need for companies to build their own internal change management capability instead of relying on consultants.

Here is a link to the latest IBM study ‘Making Change Work 2014’ – https://ibm.biz/BdRV9y

Gearing Up for Change – A Case Study

Columbia Sportswear shared several learnings from the change management components of their SAP upgrade, including:

  • Success comes not from just saying things multiple times but doing things multiple times
  • We had to stress that company success is determined by the quality of and access to data
  • Initially we were given a tiny training budget, so we went out and got data to build support for an increase
  • We used learnings from a previous failure to build support for our new approach
  • Our first steps were to capture tribal knowledge, map processes, and write standard operating procedures (SOP’s)
  • We then trained execs in our change methodology and did monthly change surveys to
  • We won support from senior management to bring in long term temporary employees to free up our super users to participate in the project. This was a priority!
  • Focus was key! The company had to say “We’re going to do this upgrade, make/sell products, and nothing else!” – and then of course remind people…
  • We had to get creative in our communications, both in terms of building new communication channels and creative messaging, but also we had to work really hard not to talk about the system being changed, but instead focus on how this was a company evolution.

The Culture Question

There were several good culture questions and comments that came up from various sessions, including:

  • When it comes to culture change, you have to define which parts of the culture you’re going to retain too.
  • Findings from IBM’s study on making change work… 1. Lead at all levels 2. Make change matter 3. Build the muscle
  • People at IBM got social really fast around the topic of change because managers were looking at profiles and who was contributing
  • Engagement = Communication + Co-creation
  • Successful change efforts blend effective approaches to the task side and the people side
  • Pace of change is both a driver for change management and a resistor
  • Accountability key to embedding your change into normal operations
  • People hate being off plan. They will want to tell people about the green behind the red. Consider only allowing people time with the boss to discuss yellow/red projects and how the boss can help, instead of making people feel like they have to be green.
  • When change saturation exists, consider having cross-functional resource conversations to look for solutions.
  • “Change has to start by doing less” -Lisa Bodell
  • “Change Leaders should keep these three things in mind – Ask killer questions, Reverse assumptions, and Kill a stupid rule” – Lisa Bodell

Learning as it Relates to Change

There was a great session at the Conference with Christine Cox, PhD. looking at breakthroughs in organizational learning. Some of the key takeaways included:

  • People who multitask (or who sit next to multitaskers during lectures) exhibit lower comprehension
  • Memory can be improved by relating learning to yourself
  • To harness emotion for better learning you want to tap into people’s emotions without overactivating them
  • People strongly remember moments where they made connections and generated those connections or insight
  • Learning is also increased when the right social elements are added
  • Give people opportunity to share what they’ve learned and reflect on its self-relevance
  • Spacing is also important for learning. No cramming!
  • 12 hour learning spacing that includes a night’s sleep helps comprehension more than 12 hours of spacing during waking hours
  • Instructional design should perhaps shift from content delivery to creating the space for insight
  • Incorporating some forms of generation into the learning situation – like polls, guided reflection, writing answers, explaining to another, hearing from another – can increase retention

All Trains Change for Change

Carmen Bianco, the President of the Manhattan Transit Authority (MTA) discussed how our world is changing and how the MTA has to focus on technology, strategy and culture. One of the big questions the MTA is grapplin with is:

How can we get more technology underground so that we can get more train cars per hour moving through the system?

The MTA is ordering 1,000 new train cars and growth is causing them to explore how they can change their culture to be more customer-focused and how they can move more train cars per hour and how they can get more people into each train car. Carmen’s initial focus on culture change has been on top executives so that the middle of the organization knows they’re serious. For change to filter all of the way down, the alignment and commitment has to work its way down. Carmen feels that if he can get everyone on his team to be that good boss, that’s a home run because it effects countless numbers of people. Carmen has also instituted no meeting days at MTA where he requires managers to get out with their employees and then do a debrief with him at the end of the day.

Carmen spoke about the challenge they face with 44% of executives and 41% of operating supervisors becoming pension eligible soon. The potential retirement of 44% of managers next year is both a risk and an opportunity to culture change progress. He spoke about how just when it seemed like he wasn’t changing the culture, the super storm came and provided a galvanizing opportunity. He marveled as he watched the MTA perform with the customer in mind (even sacrificing sleep). He feels blessed to have a phenomenal group of employees who have come up with ideas like FastTrack, where we had 900 employees working in the same area. At first citizens and the media ridiculed the idea, but now people are asking ‘When are you bringing this to my neighborhood?’ The creation of FastTrack reminded me of that scene in the Apollo 13 movie. It’s a good idea to keep that Apollo 13 scene ‘What do you have?’ in mind for constraint-focused brainstorming.

A Whirlwind Tour of Change

The Nike and Peoplefirm session highlighted the importance of communication strategies and creativity in change. PG&E and BeingFirst highlighted how building a change capability within an organization takes time (within PG&E it has taken 2 1/2 years just to START). Year 1 at PG&E may have focused on a lot of change leadership training, but year 2 has to be more about demonstrating results. An internal change group can act as middleware translator between consultants and the organization on a range of projects. Change saturation was discussed many times at the conference, and PG&E talked about how they monitor it at a workgroup level, monitoring what initiatives are effecting different workgroups. In the Marriott session it was highlighted that the most used change tools at Marriott include change overview, stakeholder analysis and communication plan. Chris Churchill and Paul O’Keeffe of Accenture spoke about Agile Change Management and the importance of integrating your change process into your Aigle process, including your task wall or kanban wall process.

Finally, closing keynote speaker Lisa Bodell offered these Eight Statements for Change that she advises organizations work to answer in the affirmative:

  1. People in our organization actively think about pushing boundaries and use trends
  2. Our employees are comfortable asking provocative questions
  3. People think on their feet
  4. People see it through
  5. We are Looking forward 5-10 years
  6. We constantly push for continual improvement
  7. We purposefully hire diverse teams
  8. We look at adjacencies and distant companies and apply best practices

The conference definitely was a whirlwind, and I’d like to thank the Change Management 2015 conference organizers for inviting me to cover the event for the Innovation Excellence audience. Hopefully they’ll have me back as a speaker next year at Change Management 2016 in Grapevine, Texas.

In 2016 my new change management content site will be in full swing and my second book for Palgrave Macmillan (@PalgraveBiz) comes out in January 2016 to highlight the best practices and next practices of organizational change and introduces the new collaborative, visual change planning toolkit. I’ve got some great guest experts lined up as contributors and am finalizing the final few sponsors and contributors in the next couple of months (along with the manuscript), so stay tuned!


Accelerate your change and transformation success

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Agile Change Management is Coming

Agile Change Management

How fast is your organization capable of changing to continue to remain relevant and successful in the marketplace?

The world is changing at an accelerating pace as new technologies are discovered, developed, released and adopted by consumers faster than ever before. At the same time companies are rising to global scale faster and large, successful companies are disappearing faster too.

In this new reality that we all face, organizations of all types are going to need to:

  • Change how they change
  • Increase their organizational agility
  • Increase the flexibility of the organization
  • Become capable of continuous change
  • Inhibit the appearance and/or growth of change gaps that can doom your company

It is because of this tidal wave of change and a recognition that there is a need in the marketplace for more human change processes and tools that make change seem less overwhelming, that my next book for Palgrave Macmillan will focus on the best practices and next practices of organizational change (aka change management), and I’ve developed a new collaborative, visual change planning toolkit to go with it (but more about that later).

One way to do all of the items in the bulleted list above is to take more of an agile approach to change, to adopt some of the values and principles of the Agile Software Development methodology and use those to create a set of what could be described as Agile behaviors within the organization. If you are not familiar with the Agile Software Development methodology, I have included below the Agile Software Development Manifesto from http://agilemanifesto.org that details the values and principles of Agile Software Development. As you read through the manifesto I hope you’ll see that the values and principles can easily be applied to other endeavors outside of software development, whether that might in the project management discipline of your organization, or within your larger change initiatives.

Manifesto for Agile Software Development

We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it.

Through this work we have come to value:

  1. Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  2. Working software over comprehensive documentation
  3. Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  4. Responding to change over following a plan

That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items in bold more.

Principles behind the Agile Manifesto

We follow these principles:

  • Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.
  • Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage.
  • Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.
  • Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.
  • Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.
  • The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.
  • Working software is the primary measure of progress.
  • Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
  • Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.
  • Simplicity–the art of maximizing the amount of work not done–is essential.
  • The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.
  • At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.

Agile and Constant Change

FIGURE 1

You will see in FIGURE 1 that constant change sits at the center, Agile Values providing the initial direction for an organization with a committed goal of becoming more agile. Radiating out from Agile Values as we pursue success in coping with constant change will be our Agile Principles. But, ultimately we can’t live our values or follow our principles if we don’t exhibit behaviors that personify those values and principles. Unless our organizations begin to behave in a more agile way then the potential of truly becoming more agile will remain just words, and go largely unfulfilled.

It is because of the challenge of behaving in a new way that I encourage all of your to make a move towards a formal pursuit of organizational agility. To help you in this pursuit, I will soon be releasing my brand new collaborative, visual change planning toolkit for companies to use on their own (with free training for a select few who agree to use it and document their experience for the book). In addition I will be launching separate training for consultants so they can use the tools with clients in their change management and project management practices. Please register your interest here.

Using this new set of change planning and execution tools and processes will not only make change seem less overwhelming, but it will also help you build alignment behind your effort, help you work through as a group how to LITERALLY all get on the same page for change, and create a more agile organization as adoption of the tools spreads.

Stay tuned for more great change content coming soon!

In the meantime, check out the different ways to get involved.


Accelerate your change and transformation success


SPECIAL BONUS: You can now access my latest webinar ‘Innovation is All About Change’ compliments of CoDev with passcode 1515 (link expired)


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