How to handle resistance to change
April 7, 2011
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If you have read any of my posts you will realize I am a fan of PRINCE2 as a project management methodology. In most cases I consult the manual regarding process and required content for the various management documents. The other day I struck a situation and realized a key limitation of PRINCE2.
Our organisation has grown significantly, twofold over the last few years. More recently our client profile has changed from a lot of small clients and projects to fewer larger clients with bigger projects. This shift has necessitated more emphasis on process and governance.
To ensure quality delivery, I have been trying to implement standard processes throughout the organisation – combination of PRINCE2 and ITIL. At times it is a battle to introduce process where there had been none. There is also resistance to change from staff who are in a comfort zone and used to doing things in a certain way.
I thought I will consult my bible … the PRINCE2 manual to find a technique to handle this. Unfortunately there isn’t one. The only technique it really describes in detail is the quality review technique. I am not totally surprised, but somewhat disappointed. When you look at the definition of a project – temporary endeavor to achieve a change to realize business benefits – would indicate change is an obvious ingredient in projects. Surely this resistance is encountered more often than given credit for.
In the end I went for the no surprises approach down the chain, explaining the purpose of the process and their role in achieving a quality delivery. I believe I got some traction. This has happened more than once for me to realize that this is not necessarily trouble making. It is simple human reaction to change. I have now recommended to the company management that the entire teams get tailored introduction to PRINCE2 and ITIL.
It is not sufficient for your project management staff to know about process. Buy in is crucial for any methodology and needs to include the people that deliver the specialist products.