The value of a well-crafted project plan is widely understood. Less-known, however, is the benefit of developing a comprehensive Implementation Plan that blends the human elements with the technical project plan. While many plans touch on such critical factors as sponsorship, communication, and readiness, few fully address these factors with a business-disciplined, repeatable framework. By combining the human side with the technical side into one integrated implementation plan, projects are much more likely to meet the success criteria of on time, on budget, with all technical, business, and human objectives met.
Sub-Optimized Results are Common
Despite widespread application of stellar technological tools and best practice project management processes, an estimated 70% of projects produce sub-optimized results. This is not because project management is ineffective; rather, it’s because PM efforts are narrowly scoped to be technically oriented and project centric. Most efforts are focused on the traditional phases of initiation, planning, design and development, execution, and close-out.
While these phases are essential, they are often developed in isolation of other critical variables that are taken into account in the AIM (Accelerating Implementation Methodology) such as the actual climate for implementation, past history, and the emotional readiness for accepting change. Typically, and unfortunately, far less attention is paid to the human side of project management.
This technically-biased approach is based on some faulty underlying assumptions, including:
- Projects can be managed in isolation
“We have no internal competition for finite resources, sponsors’ time and attention, or the hearts and minds of our stakeholders….”
- Projects are implemented in a linear world
“There are never unintended consequences; everything proceeds as planned in our organization….”
- Logic rules
“Our employees always act rationally; as long as we have a logical explanation for our actions, employees will willingly adopt the desired new behaviors….”
While you may say that you don’t hold these assumptions, if you are not purposefully incorporating tactics and strategies that surface, identify, and manage resistance; build and cascade active sponsorship; and overcome other identified barriers to implementation success; you hold the assumptions by default.
Only when the technical side and the human side are managed jointly, and purposefully blended from the start is the probability of success greatest.
Tips for Developing an Integrated Plan
Blended project plans are both a strategic imperative and a competitive advantage. While in the past, attempts were made to either “bolt on” a human “change management” plan at the end of the technical plan, or to run a human plan in parallel, the best approach is a blended plan.
At a minimum, the blended plan should include strategies and tactics for:
Defining the Change:
How will we develop a common definition of the change, and how will we identify the new behaviors in observable, measurable terms
How will we build active sponsorship down the organization that expresses, models, and reinforces the new behaviors
How will we identify, measure, and manage resistance in the targets—those people most affected by this change—even if this change is positive
Developing a Reinforcement Strategy:
How will we reinforce the new behaviors and extinguish the old behaviors
Building a Communication Plan:
How are we going to build a communication that emphasizes two-way communication and is focused on driving behavior change
Each of these important steps is addressed in the AIM Methodology. By following the principles of AIM in your next project plan, you can dramatically increase your probability of implementation success.
To learn more about how to integrate AIM in your project planning, contact Paula Alsher, Vice President, Client Solutions at 866-996-7788 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.