Managing Change At The Wrong Level (Part I)

Blogging for me is as much an exercise in developing content for the community as it is an aid for me to define and develop my own scattered thoughts.  For the next couple of posts, I plan to engage in what may be a somewhat self-indulgent exercise by departing from the traditional technical focus of this blog and expanding to the process and structure side of project portfolio management.

That may be a fascinating topic to some, and perhaps a dull topic to others.  So bear with me for a couple of days as I vent, and keep in mind that the normal technical articles will resume in due course.

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(Written a couple of weeks ago…)

As I sit here preparing to ‘get my PMO on’ at the upcoming symposium in Orlando, I realized that I probably needed to take some time and put some thoughts down on managing change, specifically what happens when change is managed at the wrong level.

You see, for years it’s been a basic tenet of my professional philosophy that change management occurs at all levels of the organization.  The structure is inherently the same at each level, but differs in the detail at which the change is detected and implemented.  That’s an observation I used to employ to some level of success when I was teaching both ITIL and PMP certification classes, where I developed a model of change management that allowed me to shepherd PMs through IT Ops training and IT Admins through PM training.

The basic concept is that at each level of the organization, be it strategic, programmatic, project, or even at the level of the individual IT application, change management takes on a common form.

First off, let’s define a couple of terms…

Change management is all about the problem identification process – as a change inherently is a concrete step taken to resolve a problem.  Now what’s a problem?  A problem is a discrepancy between how the world is, and what the world should be – or what you would like the world to be.

…which implies the existence of a values system.  As one of my former colleagues once told me, “In the absence of values, problems simply do not exist.”  If we do not know how the world should be, we do not know what problems we have.

Now personally, I am not beholden to a single values system – or at least I am not willing to admit it in the form of this blog post.  What I do say is that for an organization, it doesn’t matter what value system they want to use as long as they pick one.  Go down to your local vendor and pick a a three ring binder containing the latest theories on how the world should be.  Or go write your own.  Doesn’t matter to me.

At the end of the day, continuous improvement is dependent on actually having something to work towards, no?

Next up….exploring the implications of this…

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Managing Change At The Wrong Level (Part I)

2 thoughts on “Managing Change At The Wrong Level (Part I)

  1. […] Abstraction sets up a crude form of stochastic modeling.  In this day and age, where many organizations have not matured to the level of performing true stochastic modeling to identify target cost ranges, the budget provides an upper limit on how much may be spent in a specific category – while still allowing the project manager the ability to manage controlled fluctuations in project cost.  In essence, this allows us to manage financial change at the appropriate level. […]

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