Change Implementation Techniques for Creating a Sense of Urgency

Technique 2.49 Some Project Management Techniques

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Introduction

. Many critical organisational issues, such as strategic alliances, mergers, acquisitions and restructures, now need a project management approach

. These techniques help you find the best sequence (and resources) in which to carry out all the individual activities to ensure all that the project is completed on time, within budget and to a specified standard

. Each project tends to go through a similar series of separate phases for the project cycle (SPEC cycle):

S = specifying the project

P = planning the project

E = executing the project

C = concluding the project

. Furthermore there are project parameters which are related to

- quality by specifications

- resources by budget

- time by schedule

There are 6 steps involved in the process of specifying a project

i) analyse the task or problem

ii) write the project definition

iii) write project objectives

iv) write the project outcomes

iv) consider options and alternatives

vi) consider other course of action or approach

Some techniques include

- activity charting

- GANTT charting

- PERT charting

- critical path analysis

- resource control

Activity charting

. This involves reducing the project to activities that have estimates for quality and allocation of resources and time.

. Planning for quality is a foundation of any project. This is done by writing a complete set of quality specifications for each activity on your activity chart, ie specify the nature and quality of the materials to be used and tests to be carried out to ensure project quality

. There are no fixed rules as to the number or size of activities to which a project can be reduced

. An example of an activity chart ‐ building a garage

Main activity

Sub-activity

Quality specifications

Sequence

Foundations

Excavate footings

To handle concrete pour specifications

1


Prepare Footings

To handle concrete pour specifications

2


Pour concrete

i) Pour concrete footings around the perimeter of the garage to a depth of 600 mm and width of 450 mm, reinforced with 15 mm diameter steel rods

ii) Pour 2 intersecting central beams to a depth of 450 mm and width of 450 mm, reinforced with 15 mm diameter steel rods

iii) Concrete to withstand 25 MPa after 28 days

3

Structural

Erect walls


4


Fix roof


5


Install external windows/doors


6

Interior

Erect internal walls


7


Carry out electrical work


8


Plaster walls/ceiling


9


Paint walls/ceilings


10


Fit fixtures


11

GANNT charting

. GANNT involves planning activity charts , then for each activity you calculate

- how long the activity will take to complete

- the earliest time it can be started

- latest time it must be started

. It is important to have a correct assessment of the time for each activity, as a minor variation in one activity can have a significant impact on the overall project

. GANNT charting involves a bar chart with a drawing horizontally across the page. Each activity in a project has a bar drawn across the page indicating when it starts and when it finishes. All this is drawn on a simple calendar showing dates. Taken together, all bars indicate which activities are overlapping and cannot be started until another has been completed. Furthermore, a second bar (using a different color or line size, such as a double line) can be added to the chart to show the actual time taken for each activity. This feature aims to track how the project is going and gives a progressive idea of whether the project is on schedule or not

organisational development change management

PERT (Program Evaluation and Review Technique) charting

. Sometimes activities are connected in a more complex way than the GANNT chart can allows to be shown, ie a preceding activity has to be completed to allow a subsequent one to start. On other hand, activities can be inter-dependent because they involve the same people or machine or something else

. A PERT chart allows for a more clear indication of what activities are connected to other activities. There are 2 components, ie states (shown by a circle) and activities (shown by an arrow time line). States are simply the start or finish of an activity

. It is best done by working back from the end

Critical Path Analysis

. Involves looking at a series of activities and asking the question: what has to be completed, and by when, to allow me to do this activity? You will then discover that some activities are more critical than others. Critical activities are those that take the longest to complete at any one time.

. This is useful to determine which activities you require more attention when implementing the project

. Delays in critical activities will cause delays in the overall project. On the other hand, delays in non-critical activities are easier to handle

. Linked with this is a control point chart that highlights the areas that are potential trouble-points

Resource Control

. Controlling resources means controlling the cost of your project. Planning the use of resources, in the same way as planning the quality and time control of the project, will help complete projects on time and within budget

. Each activity should have a cost estimate attached to it. Activities can be broken down into the following cost components

- labour

- materials

- equipment and plant

- project administration

- use of borrowed capital

- profit

. Then construct a matrix of these cost categories against every activity that is part of your project

. Finally, allocate responsibility for each activity to a particular person

Steps for planning projects and tasks

. Analyse the task or project

. Write the project definition

. Write the project objectives

. Write the project outcomes

. Consider all options and alternatives

. Select a course of action or approach (source: Harry Onsman, 2004d)


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