Managing for change
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Managing for Change. Simon Noble Oracle Primavera. Copernicus: A Renaissance Man and Founder of Modern Astronomy. Mathematician, astronomer, physician, quadrilingual , classical scholar, translator, artist, Catholic cleric, jurist, governor, military leader, diplomat and economist

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Managing for Change

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Managing for Change

Simon Noble

Oracle Primavera

Copernicus: A Renaissance Man and Founder of Modern Astronomy

  • Mathematician, astronomer, physician, quadrilingual, classical scholar, translator, artist, Catholic cleric, jurist, governor, military leader, diplomat and economist

  • Helocentric cosmology: Proved mathematically that the sun is the center of our solar system


<Insert Picture Here>

  • Rate of change

  • How PPM has responded to change

  • How people respond to change

  • Better ways to respond to change

  • Summary and Q&A

Increasingly Rapid Rate of ChangeInformation Expansion – Drowning in Information

  • Five megabytes can hold the text of the entire works of Shakespeare.

  • 50 gigabytes would contain the text of an entire library floor of books.

  • A terabyte is one thousand gigabytes of data. 10 terabytes would hold the text of the entire Library of Congress.

  • A petabyte is one million gigabytes of data. Two petabytes would contain the text of every academic research library in the U.S.

  • An exabyte is one million terabytes. Five exabytes would store all of the words ever spoken by human beings on this planet.

Increasingly Rapid Rate of ChangeTechnology Adoption

  • Telephone: 45 years to reach 50% adoption, 75 years to reach 90%

  • Color TV: 13 years to reach 50% adoption, 25 years to reach 90%

  • VCR: 5 years to reach 50% adoption, 25 years to reach 90%

  • Cell phone: 13 years to reach 50% adoption, 18 years to reach 90%

New York Times, 12 Feb. 2008

When will project management respond to rate of change and explosion of information?

Top Down

Central Control

Baseline Plans

Progress Measurement& Reporting

How does the real world accommodate change?

  • Avoid it

  • Deny it

  • Control it

  • Tolerate it

  • Encourage it

  • Embrace it

What are the human consequences of change?







Loss ofExperience

Talent Flight

So why do we as project managers resist change?


Reporting is impossible

Hard to control

Hard work to re-plan

Hard enough to build one baseline

Can’t measure performance







But isn’t dealing with change a good thing?

Modify plans to circumvent obstacles and delays


Re-assign individuals where they can be more productive


Bring in partners with experience


Modify scope to meet client needs


Use new technology that was unproven or unknown


Employ value engineering


Try a new approach to save time or money


But if change is good why do we resist it?

Loss of authority

Loss of control

Creates more work for us

Our tools don’t support change

Can’t keep all the possibilities in mind

Moving target is hard to hit







So maybe we need better “sights” on our PPM “weapons” to deliver

  • Tools that are built to handle collaboration

  • Tools that treat change as inevitable and desirable

  • Experienced people who can use the new tools well







So what’s wrong with today’s PPM tools?

How will we tell where to focus?

Assumption of a fixed plan.


Fixed plans are hard to modify.

How will we spot deviations?

What is the correct basis for comparison?

How will we know what is working?

How will we know who is not performing?

A New Proposition: Two Heads Are Better Than One

  • Collaboration is the keyto better results

  • We can have tools that help us collaborate not litigate

  • We can have tools that help us consider possibilities

  • We can have tools that triangulate schedule, cost and scope.

  • We can tolerate more input like our kids do

  • We can live in the moment and trust the outcome

A Case Study in Poor Scope and Quality: Scottish Parliament Building

  • £389 - 414 million spent on the construction

    • Original budget: £62 million

    • Scope expansion and fieldchanges: £327 - £352 million

  • Delivered 3 years late, due in part to building, logistical, security and contractual difficulties and principally evolving changes

Means and Methods

  • Tools that make it easy to access and multiply our intelligence

  • Tools that make change easy to accommodate

  • Analyses that compare and contrast future possibilities and options

  • Ability to perform lots of what-if analyses with consequences to

  • Q x S = T x C

  • Documentation of what should have happened and what did happen

  • Version control to track and maintain multiple plans, forecasts and decisions

But Ultimately It Is About People

People need to embrace change

People need to seek candor (including bad news)

People need a way to collaborate quickly

People need to seek advice and opinions

Our Only Hope for the Future:Plan, Revise, Re-plan, Revise, Re-plan, Revise…

We don’t know yet what we don’t know

Need to evaluate scope changes relative to the quality of the desired result




But when we know we need to adjust






Need to adjust quickly

We need to solicit contrary opinions and advice

Project and Change Management Maturity

Enterprise PPM:

Enterprise Business Objectives are King and Change in Portfolio’s Project and Programme Mix is driven through continuous iterative review

Programme Management:

Programme OUTCOME is King and Project Level Change is Acceptable

Project Management:

Project is King and Change is Avoided and Minutely Documented

Zero Project Management:

Change Causes Reactive Project and Business Behaviour

PPM Maturity

Results of Project Management Embracing Change

  • Better projects

  • Higher client satisfaction with the outcome

  • Rapid response to changing circumstances

  • Greater success

  • Appreciation for project management for leading the future

  • Keeping to project commitments!

    • i.e. ‘Saving’ ~£350 million

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