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Managing Projects: A 3 Tier Approach to Achieve Better Results

Posted by Ellen McKewen

Manufacturing Staff Developing Project Management StrategyEvery year brings about new and more efficient processes that manufacturers can take advantage of in order to increase and enhance their upcoming projects. For example, a project management methodology might be used to implement a new software program or install new machinery. For your project to be successful, it has to include change management to ensure acceptance from the people using it. In addition, the project needs to support the corporate strategy. Managing projects can then be viewed as a three tier aproach that is selected and pioneered by a leader and implemented by employees through change management.

Tier 1: Leadership - Doing The Right Project

The decision to determine which project to implement should be decided by your leadership team. Getting the leadership team on the same page with respect to determing the right project to implement is crucial for optimal global results.

Once the leaders have come to a consensus on which project to implement, they will begin designing a project management methodology.

Tier 2: Project Management - Doing the Project Right

A suitable methodology includes both the management and the strategizing of a project. Communication is critical to each level of the project's hierarchy -- from the leader to the workers carrying out the project.

The goal of project management is to become more competitive and improve efficiency anywhere within your manufacturing organization for better global efficiency. In order for project management to be successful, the overall direction must be properly set and communicated (Tier 1 - Leadership). A well defined project management plan ensures on time completion of the project.  

Tier 3: Change Management - Doing the Implementation Right

While project management is the planning and strategizing of a new process, machinery, or software, change management is the implementation of it.

Change management focuses on the implementation of the project through the people who will be using it. The only way that a project will be successful is through the acceptance and adoption of it by its users. Therefore, the person (change agent) who carries out the change management of a project should look to encourage employee buy-in and foster acceptance from them.

The change agent should be able to recognize and be prepared to address some personnel factors that affect the speed of change, such as:

  • Speed of adoption - Improve how quickly people get on board with the change and address resistance through effective communication, sponsorship and coaching.
  • Use of a new system - Prevent people from “opting out” of the new system and reverting to the old system.
  • Proficiency - Increase likelihood that people maximize proficiency in the new system by proper training.

Successful change management helps employees overcome reluctance for new buy-ins resulting in meeting your project’s objective, being on schedule, staying on budget, increasing your ROI, reducing push back and enhancing proficiency when using systems.

Implementing change management improves the predictability of project success by addressing people issues up front. Often times, the buy-in of change by your organization's personnel can affect the speed of seeing the benefits promised by your project.

Working Together to Achieve the Best Results

Managing projects using a three tier approach will improve the results and success of your project. While each tier functionally operates on its own, optimal results happen when all three are integrated and infused into managing projects.

Remember that you must choose the right project and clearly communicate its overall direction. Once the project is identified, the project management methodology will need to be designed. Finally, change management is the implementation of the project to ensure there is internal buy-in from its users.

Content for this post was provided by:  Steve Buchwald, Project Management Consultant, CMTC

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Topics: Change Management, Project Management

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