The Right Change at the Right Time

Just because you are using all of the right project management tools and techniques doesn’t mean that you are a good project manager. A good project manager helps the right change be delivered at the right time.

The Right Change

As a project leader, your is not merely to make a change happen but to ensure that it is the right change. The way to guarantee that you are making the right change is to have the right people involved. The Standish Group notes in a 2008 chart that the top two factors that will help your project be a success are to have user involvement (number 1) and to have executive management support (number 2.) By involving the users in the change, you are making sure that you are doing the right thing. Executive management support means that the project contributes towards strategic objectives.

Sometimes it isn’t possible to give the users everything that they need. It might happen that a strategic objective changes operations. For example, changing a product line might not be desirable to the manufacturing team, but it is necessary for the future of the business. Even when users can’t influence the outcome of the change (e.g. manufacturing will change), you must include them as the change happens. Involving the user might be constant communication, asking for feedback on aspects that can be adjusted, and asking for alternative solutions to solve the same problem. In the end, walking through the change with the users, rather than surprising them with a sudden change will make your project much more successful.

At the Right Time

Deliver a project at the right time does not mean that it is delivered according to the schedule that you laid out on the first day of the project. When you release project results at the right time, you are providing them when they are needed most. “The right time” considers the budget, time-resources, and outside consultants that you need to have involved. Knowing the purpose of the change helps you see when the right time to release it is. Bringing a product to market six months after your competitor might be a project delivered at the wrong time if it is an innovation that you were going to release eight months earlier, but your project ran late. Bringing a product to market six months after your competitor might be a fantastic project success if you are able to be a fast follower for an innovation that your competitor made that you weren’t aware of.

Delivering a project at the right time involves much more than delivering a project by a due date. On-time means that it is delivered when it is needed most. Being on time means that you have executed a change at the moment that the change had to occur.

Be a good project manager helps deliver the right change at the right time.