Posts Tagged “project management communications”

Why Private Equity needs good change management support?

Undoubtedly strategic change management has a major role in corporate transactions and restructurings. Many deals are either unsuccessful or do not deliver the full value expected when people and organisational change impacts are ignored or poorly planned for. This directly results in loss of revenue and delays in realising the value of the deal or restructuring initiative.

There is a big focus on ‘cultural fit’ and all things related and nowadays Private Equity firms are investing considerable time and resources to better understand a target company’s organisational dynamics before concluding any deal. This could be a major factor in realising value from the deal down the line. An organisation’s culture could either make it or break it over the long term. Thus it becomes vital for senior leadership to define the culture required for success, or in the case of M&A’s, creating a vision for the future that will aim to bring the best of both organisational cultures together to deliver maximum value for all stakeholders.
Collective behavioural patterns determine how work gets done in an organisation and that in turn relates directly to performance, motivation and the ability to cope with internal and external change. Ignoring these important factors is a major strategic risk for PE firms and can ultimately affect the realisation of value from any deal. Ignoring or poorly managing organisational change can easily result in:

  • Poor employee engagement, motivation and ultimately performance;
  • Serious resistance to change and low levels of morale across the organisation;
  • Ambiguity around the organisation’s value system and beliefs, which lead to disillusionment amongst stakeholders;
  • ‘Jumping ship’ and loss of key talent and senior leadership;
  • Poor business transformation and change planning resulting in the slow execution of the transaction or restructuring initiative.

Vital to countering these strategic risks is the effective visioning, planning and execution of business change. The process requires effective management of corporate messaging, people and cultural / behavioural change. It is most critical for the workforce to be aligned to the strategic objectives of the organisation and customer needs. Organisations that focus time and resources on doing this effectively have ultimately had higher levels of transaction success in the past.

In conclusion, the key areas that require the most attention during the transaction lifecycle (from a business change perspective), are:

  • Identifying the behaviour sets that will lead to a successful integration or restructuring exercise;
  • Determining the strategic drivers that will help to reinforce these behaviours in the future and implementing them successfully during the transition phase;
  • Understanding the organisational cultural differences and similarities and working with key parties to ensure these factors do not hinder the transaction process. Understanding this clearly will enable the creation of a shared / common vision for success;
  • Ensuring the change management strategy is being tracked and resulting issues being dealt with promptly via a well-defined change agent network.

Having structured change management plans in place will provide the levels of confidence in dealing with organisational change successfully and lead to a more successful transaction for investors in the medium to long term. It will provide the basis for realising deal value more quickly!

Vellendra Sannasy is an Organisational Change Professional with extensive experience in leading strategic and operational business change. Vellendra has worked with global organisations in the UK, US, Asia and South Africa, with a great appreciation for cultural diversity and different ways of working. He is also the Founder of StratChange Consulting, which is a niche consultancy, providing strategic and operational guidance to C Suite Executives and Senior Management teams undergoing complex organisational change.

When relationships fail – project management woes

Interesting topic, as relationships are the basis of life – whether it is partners, children, pets, colleagues, or suppliers to name a few. So how do we keep a relationship healthy and happy? A starting point has to be managing expectations, you commit to a certain level of engagement and this must be clear from the outset. Most of the time, with personal relationships this tends to be easier as you agree to call or do something and as long as you keep on top of your commitments then you have a healthy relationship. In work it can be difficult to juggle relationships especially when you are very busy and are constantly asking for parties to do something for you (usually because it is in the plan). So when things occasionally go sour or you inherit a bad relationship with a client or supplier, what should you do?

Come back

  • What went wrong – talk to all involved to get a greater understanding of when the relationship started to struggle.
  • Discuss feelings – all sounds very touchy feely I know but just listening to others and letting them vent their frustrations can relieve tension greatly.
  • Listen to all points of view – don’t just listen to those who shout loudest, take time to speak with those who seem to be happy (it is often these who are just “getting on with it” grumbling under their breath).
  • How can we put things right? Having taken in all views and opinions it is time to sit down and work out a strategy to improve the working environment moving forward. Take an inclusive approach, call a meeting with all involved and talk through your ideas and reassure everyone that you are acutely aware that things need to change and will.

I remember back when I first started managing my own projects, my programme director told me to refer to the plan with workstream leads who were not prioritising my projects. I did as I was told for a while but found that this corporate threat was damaging my relationships, I decided to take a different approach, bearing in mind I was working within a matrix environment so often had to go to their managers with the threats. I decided to spend some time with each workstream lead, visiting them in their work environments, having a coffee and chat about their workloads. I found that explaining the benefits to them completing their commitments to my projects and sympathising with their woes really started to build relationships to the point that they were very honest about statuses and pressures from others within the business. From this I met with other managers to discuss how we could all get what we needed. It wasn’t completely fool proof but certainly made for a more productive and happier work environment. Just remember that yes there is a plan but just because it is there doesn’t mean it will be followed without some intervention and management of expectations.

Advantages and Disadvantages of using a Free Project Management Software

Projects are a sequence of some planned activities which an organization undertakes for the attainment of some specific objectives. Accomplishment of a project will likely result in monetary, commercial, intellectual, organizational, social or other gains for the organization.

A project has to be researched and planned about before execution. In online project management important aspects like the team members, budgetary allocation, starting date, closing date, tasks, activities, responsibilities and duties have to be properly defined and documented. The sponsors, consumers and other stakeholders have to be determined and effective communication has to be maintained with them. Every minor detail which is going to play a significant part in a project’s execution is given due attention.PM Software

A project manager is appointed as the head of a project who is going to track, control and oversee the operations involved in a project. He is responsible for the conduct of the project and has to play an active role in coordinating and organizing men, resources and other processes involved in a project.

A project manager has to arrange meetings, read emails, inform members, review progress reports, meet and brief the sponsors and communicate with the customers. Managing these tasks manually can be cumbersome and can result in some serious flaws in communication and operations of a project.

Online Project Management Software are the tools of assistance which help a project manager in performing his duties diligently and with more control.  Project Management Softwares can perform a variety of tasks like documentation, communication, arranging tasks lists, sending email notifications, arrange to-dos and highlight milestones with the help of some useful features contained in them such as Calendars, Dashboards, Gantt charts, etc.

These Project Management Softwares are extremely useful tools in managing projects, but organizations have to shell out a huge sum of money for using them.

Providers of such software spend million of dollars in their research and try to recover the costs by offering them at a huge price.

Only the organizations which are financially well off can afford these.

The organizations which are new and are in not so good financial health cannot go for them due to their high price. But their projects are also too complex and in need of such highly priced software. But where is the solution.

Free Project Management Softwares have been specifically designed for these kind of organizations.

All they have to do is to visit the site of a free project management software provider, download it and install in their organizations and use them.

But these free software have their own share of problems and limitations.

A free project management software might be providing some very basic features which may not serve an organization well enough or they might be full of bugs which can put additional financial burden on the organization.

But at the same time, there are some very useful and unique free project management software which have some very useful features which cannot be matched by even paid software.

Another disadvantage of using these free software is that there is no provider support available when needed. An organization might come across situations when it needs provider support, especially when it faces some technical problems or if it needs to enhance the functionality of a free software. In these cases, there is no help available from the provider’s side. **This can result in a major problem at times when an organization has spent a considerable amount of time in using this and cannot shift to other software at a short notice.

Organizations can also switch to a free software on a trial basis. If an organization is thinking about using project management software for the first time, it is a nice idea to start with free software. Once they get the experience in using them, they can switch to paid software for better productivity in the long run.

It is a great practice to read a lot of reviews about the free software to choose any free software. By reading other users experience, you can make up your mind about choosing a particular software and how it can be of benefit to your organization.

Now the question arises why a company which is pumping million of dollars in research for inventing a new project management software is offering it free.

This might be a marketing strategy to popularize it. When a lot of organizations start using it, the providers can come up with a new and paid offer.

An organization wanting to go for a project management software has to analyze and study which software it should opt for paid or free. Only a truthful analysis can be a better guide for an organization in choosing the project management software that can prove productive for its working.

 

Sharon is a business manager of a ProofHub.com, a web based project management software that provides features like discussions, time tracking, file sharing, inbuilt browser chat and more. Her interest includes blogging, traveling and exploring new places.

Project Management Communications

Project management encompasses a large range of skills; leadership, planning, scheduling, communicating, decision making and being a visionary. Being able to identify these vital skills and fully develop your understanding of these abilities will ensure that you not only survive, but you excel within the field of project management.

Organisational skills

The role of a project manager takes on many forms, and due to this; organisation and planning skills are listed highly as required abilities. Of course there are very few professions that do not require extensive planning, but project management demands a highly skilled approach as a skilful execution equates to outstanding results.

Project management requires the preparation of project documentation, requirement information, memos, project reports, personnel reports, vendor quotes, contracts and the supervision of the entire processes involved. An essential part of daily working includes organising meetings, developing teams and also, in some cases, organising media relations such as press releases and conferences.

Methodologies such as the PRINCE 2 (an acronym for projects in controlled environments, version 2) enables project managers to organise and control the six major variable factors of any project, these factors are cited as:

  • Cost
  • Timescale
  • Quality
  • Scope
  • Risk
  • Benefits

Much of the benefit of the PRINCE 2 methodology is its transferable and highly scalable nature. PRINCE 2 can be utilised across any project, including highly specialised and industry specific models (engineering models or developmental lifecycles).

Comms

People management skills

Strong project managers should display excellent people management skills. The human dimension bears little relation to the technical ability of an individual, but closely relates to leadership, conflict resolution and ultimately communication. Author and expert within the area of project management Steven Flannes, actually cites that, 80% of project management success comes from people skills and 20% from technical expertise.

Why are people skills so vital?

  • The cyclical and stage nature of projects
  • Increase in complexity of client remits
  • Continual outsourcing of finite and cost effective resources
  • Increased movement toward client driven project management structure
  • Challenges of leading in matrix management structures
  • Increase of virtual team coordinated efforts

Communication skills

Often, problems that project managers are faced with are completely unrelated to their technical competence, but interestingly it is the lack of interpersonal communication skills that pose the largest threat. The latter of course is an essential facet, but is vitally a core skill of a project manager.

It is argued that project managers who demonstrate a high degree of technical expertise are actually hindered within their ability to negotiate. Often great project managers take a more generalist point of view. Generalists, typically, elicit a higher degree or resourcefulness and tend to lean toward being more open to suggestions and ideas. This in turn increases the momentum of a project due to the fact that compromises have a higher degree of continuity.

Adversely to this notion, experts within a particular field tend to display a narrower mind-set that may or not be conducive to the end result.

Financial skills

An exhaustive breakdown of project activities and associated costs enable the project manager to identify trends quickly and plan pro-actively. Although, no project manager is expected to be an accountant but a thorough understanding of the “estimated cost process” clearly would be listed as integral. Cost planning is not only vital for your reputation, but also for maintaining strong and healthy relationships with clients.

Estimated costs should take into consideration for the entire lifecycle of the project. A detailed cost breakdown of resources (labour and materials) along with any regulatory implications should be undertaken. The cost analysis process should also insure against other extraneous factors. An estimated cost analysis must include all factors fixed and variable; this will essentially ensure that the entire project runs efficiently, effectively and to budget.

James King is a construction industry expert who has 20 years’ experience in the field of core cutting project management. He writes for Corecut, the UK’s leading diamond drilling and controlled demolition company.