This is a guest post by Laura Copas and Steve Sewell at Change Troops.
At Change Troops we’ve noticed projects, programmes and change initiatives becoming increasingly complex, and the biggest threat to their success is methodologies.
Methodologies are everywhere. They bring with them the enticing promise of an easy way to make organisational or personal change, if only you follow the prescribed route.
Methodologies are the WMDs (Weapons of Mass Delusion) of our industry, enticing people into believing that change has a ‘Silver Bullet’, a secret that unlocks some magic.
What are Project Management Methodologies?
So, what are methodologies? They are like recipes, specific ingredients added together and cooked in a particular way using a range of tools and techniques.
However, cooking utensils and ingredients rarely have a view on how recipes should be done! As soon as the chef gets into the kitchen – even a very experienced chef – the human factor begins to change things. Humans have the ability to impact on the success of any initiative. Think about what happens to a soufflé if different people try to cook one using the same instructions!
The Trouble with Methodologies
The soufflé problem happens in exactly the same way on projects. When people get involved, stuff happens in a more unpredictable way.
Views and perspectives are important in anything involving people. And projects involve people. It’s people who do the tasks and make the decisions. Their skills, capabilities, likes, dislikes, habits, behaviours and many more factors all have the ability to change the direction or outcome of a project.
Changing Behaviours: The Hard Part of Projects
In our projects, programmes and change initiatives, the really ‘hard to do things’ are changing habits, behaviours and culture.
We know from collective experience that this is complex and needs energy and resilience to achieve.
So if a methodology isn’t the best way to get the behavioural or cultural change you want to see, what would be better?