Erin Duggins replied to the topic If Project Management is Common Sense, Then Why Do 70% of Projects Fail? in the forum Program and Project Management 7 years, 7 months ago
Project implementation is just like communication. Communication is only as good as it is received by the intended recipient. In other words, if I’m talking to someone and they don’t understand a word that I’m saying, then my attempt at communication has failed. Project management is the same way. If you are managing a project and those that were suppose to benefit from the change don’t receive it, then the project has failed.
The problem with the project management discipline, as I see it, is that the current body of knowledge doesn’t account for stakeholders at all — it only discusses things related to the project bottom line (i.e., those processes necessary to keep a project on time and within budget). As such, the current PMBOK talks about processes such as schedule management, cost management, human resource management (i.e. ,project resources), risk management, etc. There is nothing in that body of knowledge that speaks to negotiating people’s reactions to change (i.e., reducing risk of negative reaction to change), or what I call stakeholder management. In my 13-yr career, in order to get project managers to even pay attention to managing stakeholders, I’ve had to couch it as risk management (i.e., managing people related risk), and managing those risks at the project level along with all of the other project risks. I have been on more system implementations than I care to admit, and that is what has worked best for me.
No — it isn’t about more rigorous processes or status. But in order for the project management staff to see organizational change as important, I had to MAKE it into something they understood, which is risk management. At the end of the day, a project manager can have perfect processes and implement them flawlessly, if we are talking just about the processes in the existing PMBOK. At the end of the day, if the end users reject the change, then your project has failed. So if you want to reduce the risk of failure, then increasing stakeholder management is the way to go. That’s not to say that rigorous PMBOK processes aren’t important. It is to say, however, that we need to get our heads out of the sand and stop undervaluing the people aspect of the projects that we manage, and that the two aspects of project implementation (project and stakeholder management) need to work together in order for everyone (project team and stakeholders) to be successful.
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