Design the project for impact
You need to build a bridge between deliverables and impact
We need to rethink project management: We have been expecting the deliverables to create the impact. A lot of people have experienced that in spite of good deliverables the impact was missing. Based on the blue picture the following adjustments are necessary:
- We can only achieve a long term business impact if executive leaders take responsibility for these impacts. The impact goal of the project needs to be part of the project owner’s management goal.
- It takes a lot of involvement to define and secure the desired impact as there is no consensus in the organisation. This means the that the project manager needs to develop leadership.
- The project’s aim is not “just” to deliver the deliverables but to create the competencies that employees need to apply the deliverables.
- The deliverables do not create the impact. The employees’ competencies and willingness to use the deliverables do. So it is crucial to define goals for the necessary behavioural changes and you need to involve the employees in this work in order to ensure that they wish to change their behaviour.
- The project can create the deliverables but the behavioural change in each individual employee happens in the day-to-day work. Therefore it is important to involve mid-level managers as early as possible and make them responsible for the behavioural changes.
- In order to ensure the realisation of the impact goals the project does not stop until the impact has been achieved.
This is a major expansion of the project leader’s job. Now it will not just be a technical management task of achieving the deliverables. The job will focus greatly on handling the stakeholders and leaders on various levels. You need to establish a common perception of the desired impact. You need to ensure backing from leaders in different departments and on various levels and the impact goals need to be pursued over a longer period.
”It is no use saying, we are doing our best. You have got to succeed in doing what is necessary” Winston Churchill