PMP: Change – The Purpose for Projects
Instructor Steven Fullmer
Recent global project management discussions center on terminology like resilience, emotional intelligence, change quotients, the J-curve, the limbic system, the fight-or-flight response, and motivational leadership. We want to understand what makes us tick, or perhaps more importantly what makes our stakeholders (sponsors, customers, and team-members) tick. Change is challenging, controversial, rewarding, and poorly understood. Earning your credential won’t make you a great project manager, mentor, coach, or visionary. You need to understand why and how to lead change. Attendees will learn: Frameworks for understanding change. Research and theories associated with resistance to change (and the barriers to successful project management that they create). Systems and tools that will enhance your ability to guide positive change. Attendees will earn 1 PDU. Here are Steve Fullmer’s presentation files.
- Change Happens –Presentation Slides
- Great Quotes and Books
- Reporting your PDUs
Here is a step-by-step process for recording your PDU. Reporting your PDUs Please note; you will need to change the title of the webinar to: PMP: Change – The Purpose for Projects With the webinar date of Nov 4, 2014
I’m Steve Fullmer. I’m a PMP, I also have a MBA, a Microsoft certified trainer, a certified technical trainer from CompTIA and I’ve been blessed to be a staff instructor here at Interface Technical Training since about 2009. Prior to that I was in the IT Consulting and IT staff industries for about 30 years.
I started teaching project management here. I continue to do both mentoring and teaching for Interface Technical Training in the project management arena. Many of you ended up in IT careers or in project management careers, and got tapped on the shoulder, you’re project manager.
You may not know why. You may not know where you’re going to take it. It’s far more than just a job. It’s certainly a career that blessed me.
I talked in the classroom about bucket lists. Today’s presentation is here to really challenge you, to think about project management, and its purpose. I’m going to focus on that being change. I’m going to challenge you in this webinar. Many of you if I ask a show of hands remotely done this as a presentation have a CAPM or a PMP or you’re entrusted in the career of project management.
Somebody told you your project managers. Why did you stay in it? Is it because of the money? Somebody just tapped you on the shoulder and said, “You’re it. You’re the project manager. Figure out how to make this happen.” But we don’t really know why necessarily we’re in project management, even if we have a CAPM or a PMP. We’ve learned the tools to apply but we don’t necessarily know why we’re applying that. What is it that motivates us?
The purpose of this webinar today is to really challenge you to think about the purpose behind projects and the purpose behind your career, maybe to help you get some additional knowledge, some additional expertise and to nudge you forward to some other thought processes you might want to pursue or consider at least pursuing as you enhance your career in project management.
I’ve titled my presentation, Change, the purpose for projects; really that’s what it’s all about. It’s about evolution, but it’s difficult to describe or define. Sir Richard Branson, one of the most successful business leaders of our time ‑‑ if you’re not aware, he started over 300 businesses and businesses are affecting beneficial change that’ll cost benefit ratio concept. Even when he attempts to describe it, trying to find the right words become complicated and so I’ve minimized part of his quote just to highlight some of the key words or key concepts.
Management is maintaining processes, disciplines, and systems, sounds a lot like operations to me, but strong leaders or leadership have to have vision, creativity, the ability to influence others to follow which is what change is all about, moving an organization to an uncharted and often risky territory. There we have it, projects, planning, executing, monitoring, controlling, to get us to a better point, a better place, but it’s not easy to define.
For those of you who have look through or read the entire PMBOK, if you’ve gone back to versions three or four and I had the privilege to teach those working with my mentor at O’Conner, the word leadership appears a total of one time in the fourth edition of the Project Management Body of Knowledge.
When we moved to the fifth edition, PMI has properly incorporated the concept that a project manager is not just a manager, that’s a manager of tasks, completion of objectives. We’re also supposed to be mentors and coaches. That proverb about teaching a man to fish, feeds him for a lifetime and leaders, this concept of visionary, but we don’t necessarily understand as project managers why someone tapped us to be a leader rather than just getting the job done.
There are several different theories behind project management. The PMBOK’s not the only one. The PMBOK is about a collection of best practices. It’s likely to go through a revision to become the sixth edition within the next couple of years.
Prince methodology out of United Kingdom, now being incorporated in other European countries as well, is heavily used by the British government, the postal service, the health systems, and with permission from David Viney, he’s contributed the J‑curve. Now, there’s a lot of J‑curves out there, about change and the impact of change, emotionally, intellectually, etc.
The concept of loss and recovery from loss, but he’s done some studies and statistics that demonstrate the J‑curve as it relates to projects and if we were to take a look at this and we’ll just do some colors that match. Our current state is right here and our desired state or the state that’s desired by our customer or sponsor is up here and the typical desire from the customer of the sponsor is that we go in as direct align as we can.
They know there’s going to be work or effort so they identified the effort behind that as being a slow part of the curve to get to the desired state, but it’s actually never that easy. We know in order to be able to affect any kind of change, you have to have disruption. You have to tear things down. Now, this is true physiologically, organizationally, socially, materially.
If you want to exercise and build muscle mass. You literally have to shred existing muscle tissue to enable additional or stronger muscle fiber and tissue to be developed. The no pain no gain is literal. People say, “I want to find a better way.” You can’t. There will always be a period of disruption for any kind of change.
That’s why in the PMBOK, we talk about governance, being something that’s separate when we talk about organizational governance and project governance. Our change control board is supposed to be separate for project change oversight and either the acceptance or rejection versus the operational governance because operational governance is about, “Let’s keep it the same. Let’s not be disrupted to our systems. Let’s maintain what we have and continue to generate the revenue out of it.”
Projects again are different. They have this disruption. Why project managers? Why the PMBOK? We go back to the same model. The goal here is to try to minimize this period of disruption and that’s what tools allow us to do. A tool allows us to be somewhat more efficient.
Therefore, by using tools, we can minimize the disruption that actually occurs. If we take a look at this, there’s going to be a period of disruption for a project. We think about the triple constraint. We constrain that time to as tight a period as we can effectively to minimize disruption. It’s not just, “Hey, let’s see how fast we can go.” It’s “Let’s minimize this pain that’s associated with disruption to the business.”
What’s more importantly and what we discover here on this other curve, this blue line is the concept of impact on performance. This is really about perception. If you talk to almost anybody and you ask them what’s going on, what really happens is there’s this much deeper dip that’s related to perception. We’ll talk more about that as we go through the presentation.
I need to erase this. Let’s pull that out of your waist so you can see my next quote. There we go.
Effectively, the goal of a project manager is just not to run that course by themselves, but to get other people to go along with them, to lead.
There are different kinds of leadership. That’s why the tests don’t test about the specific styles other than motivational styles. You have to be a leader. You need to become a leader and you need to understand what that is. There’s an entire field that endeavor there. Jim Ron, Tony Robins; an entire concept that you need to go and identify how to become a better leader, mentor, coach as a part of that syllabus for yourself development as a project manager.
But we call project change by many, many different terms. Again, it’s that difficult concept. We try to do everything we can to try to look at the positive side of it and brush the negative side behind us.
Whether we talk about it as growth, or adaptation, or the origination, or change, or building, or exchanging, evolving, all of these are words associated with change. Then we get into the PMBOK, and we create our entirely own vocabulary.
The triple constraint is the sign of the confraternity of project management. We go forward and we join you into the fraternity. We reach out with our hand and we say, “Shake my hand.” The secret word that we share is progressive elaboration when I teach this in the classroom. Some of you are probably laughing. No one but project managers use this term.
We’re trying to relabel change in a way that makes it palpable and allows us to encourage people to, “Hey, follow me.” Progressive elaboration is exactly what the drawing suggests, it’s evolution. It’s’ adding details. It’s enhancing that which we have, to make it better. Bit by bit. Bite by bite.
That might be considering the theories of Denning, where we’ve got continuous process improvement plan due check act. It might be Joseph Juran, which has got breakthrough improvement.
By the way, if we go back a couple of slides, I like to remember Joseph Juran and the J‑curve because he’s talking about improvement not being, “Hey, a straight upward nice spiral, like smoke. It’s effort to get there. We got to work hard before we get to the breakthrough.”
There are lots of models that try to explain this but we don’t take our time as project managers all too often to try to figure out what our alternatives are and what our knowledge sets need to be able to motivate or guide people to do that.
Today, I’m just challenging you a little bit more. I believe, or state that the tools of project management are simply to help us organize the chaos of change. That perception, as well as the actual aspects of that.
It doesn’t matter which project’s life cycle we look at. The recent TMI, Global congress that were all kinds of sessions on agile project management. That’s an adaptive style. That’s because the pace of change is coming at us so fast. Technology comes at us so fast that we are almost gaining or doubling the recorded knowledge of man ‑‑ or at least the recorded perception of man depending on what sides you go to look to ‑‑ almost daily in terms of the amount of content that’s being created by technology.
Adaptive change is about agile processes to keep up with it. We can’t. What we need to do is be able to properly filter it and use that which is necessarily to guide people in a positive direction. Without it, there is confusion.
We started early with predictive change. An explorer crossing the ocean certainly had to plan carefully to get all of the resources into their little wooden ship before they pushed offshore. Because if they got part way away from shore, either they had to come back and re‑baseline, start all over, or you’ve got to find an island and re‑plan and figure out what resources you’ve got.
If the project was clearly large. It could be taken in stages. So we’re not crossing an ocean, maybe we’re crossing a land mass. Now we can do [inaudible 11:15] . That means that we can break it into stages or phases. It’s the same tools. What changes is the mindset. That’s really where we have to become better project managers is not just pick a tool set and apply it. Applying the right tool set and the right approach to the right change scenario.
We create lots of graphs and charts. There’s four typical chart sizes or shapes that I suggest people need to understand and how to interpret. We’ve got two of them. One is, across project time here, the cost of change over time in a project always increases.
Any change is going to cost us more if we wait. A stakeholder influence risk and uncertainty decline over time as the project progresses. Our other two curves are effectively the crash plot and the s curve that is the baseline for aggregate cost. There’s the four.
Do we know where these came from? Do we understand why things change so significantly outside the scope of our control early on? We take these and we say, “Let’s memorize how to interpret them,” but they’re actually derived from mathematical theory.
If you’re a great project manager, consider looking into some of the theory that’s behind this. Because if you understand it, you can try to get engagement by your stakeholders much, much earlier on.
Consider the stakeholder who you go to and say, “Hey. I want your input now, because the outcome’s going to be better if you participate now.” They’re still going to come to you a day later, a week later, or several weeks into the project “Well, I have another idea.”
They don’t have the time to generate creative ideas and work with you outside of the box today, and that were a lot of tools like that shared at the global congress as well. They’re happy to come to you to affect change later. Do they really understand that it truly is based on mathematical theory ‑‑ chaos theory, in fact?
If we take a look at chaos theory, chaos theory is not about “Gee, we can’t figure anything out.” It’s about if we understand the starting state, we can mathematically model what the outcome’s likely to be.
Think back, pop culture, “Jurassic Park,” Dr. Ian Malcolm, that’s Jeff Goldblum’s character immediately goes, “This is a problem. This is a problem.” He sees from the beginning, the starting state, what the likely outcome can be.
As a matter of fact, chaos theory suggests that if you understand the starting point, you can mathematically model what the possible, or probable, outcomes might be. This certainly is something we can use when we talk about risk inside of project management as well.
If we talk a look at this fractal. This is a fractal mathematically created using chaos theory, essentially reduplicating the little spirals as we get smaller and smaller in here.
How many of you, if you take a look at the drawing on the right, actually know what it is? It’s not a mathematical formula created by chaos theory. Take a look at it. What we’re really looking at here is a stop motion, or high‑speed photography of a moth, or a set of moths spinning or flying in lights.
As a matter of fact, you can predict what the spiral motions is, here if you take a look at it here [inaudible 14:34] the moth is, and potentially catch it. Nature mimics. Art mimics nature. The mathematics of chaos theory are designed to help us understand that.
It might just be an interesting look to go and read a book about chaos theory, so that you understand that really the power of taking the time to properly plan a project, can help us predict our outcomes. As an example of chaos theory, simple concepts. If we take, as example, the double pendulum.
The double pendulum…so I’ll drop this down in draw for you…is the concept of two simple bars. I anchor the top of my pendulum here. I have a pendulum. Then I have a hinge, and I have another bar hanging down from the hinge.
If I lift that to a particular position, and I know the relative position of the two arms, and then I drop it. Only by knowing the starting state can I predict what the actual drawing would be if I essentially put some kind of drawing or marker here at this tip and let it draw itself.
Chaos theory, the mathematics of chaos theory, can predict for us what the outcome would be. Although I’ve got this random motion, it’s knowing the starting point, and only knowing the starting point, that allows me to plot that.
Let’s take a little look at a video on the Internet as an example of essentially the dual rod pendulum. There’s the math behind it really quickly. We’re going to let it play for a second.
It drops the dual rod pendulum. There we see it swinging. Although the motion has got a curve to it. You can say “Well, it’s going to be bowl shaped because of the way that falls.” Oh, look. It passed above the rim. We’re just allowing the dual rod pendulum to move for a little while and there it’s spinning.
The dual rod pendulum’s apparent chaotic motion, but you can predict mathematically what the shape will look like if you know the starting position. That’s chaos theory. Why is that important? Why do we care as project managers about anything associated with chaos theory?
Remember where we start in our projects. What we want to know is the best starting state. The participation of our stakeholders. As we move through time, if we don’t pay attention to proper planning and effort up front, we won’t be able to properly predict what our total cost would be. Our stakeholder’s ability to affect the outcome change.
It looks like “Oh my goodness. Recreating dinosaurs might not be a great idea.”
I’m trying to challenge you here with this webinar to think about not just the PMBOK, but some of the other theories and concepts that you can do to enhance your career to truly become a great project manager.
Somebody asked, “How can change be managed based on the type of organization, functional versus project ties?” Then there were several other great questions about experience with large organizations, not necessarily understanding the psychology of change, or at least that’s the way I interpret the questions.
It’s true. If you go and read tribal leadership, you’ll understand that the best way to affect change is using this concept of triads. I know Matt. Matt knows me. I talked about that in the video. What you’re building is a common understanding, and a common trust.
One or two or three people at a time, and it starts to grow. Part of what you’re going to have to face as a project manager is the concept of the organizational structure, and what you were, and whether your personality matches that or not.
You have to be the motivated leader who picks yourself up and motivate yourself typically everyday as a project manager. I’m not claiming that change is going to be easy. As a matter of fact, change is a big purpose for projects. That’s why we are so challenged to not just, “Hey, I have a credential,” but to grow our skill sets so that we can try to assist different organizations.
We will find different levels of challenge based on the self‑actualization of yourself, the leaders in the organization you work with. The great thing is to find a organization or an industry that you love or a thrust that you like in project management, and throw your passion behind it.
As project managers, you clearly have the tool sets. It’s just a matter of trying to figure out how best to implement or apply them.
Steven M. Fullmer, PMP, MBA, MCT/CTT+, CDP Steven has a global reputation as a project manager, chief technology officer, and computer systems innovator. He has authored more than 100 articles and a dozen courses in the fields of project management, productivity, business analysis, and computer technology. He has more than thirty years of professional design and project management experience in finance and high technology firms. He is founder and president of Blue Sphere Solutions, a technology project consultancy as well as a staff instructor for Interface Technical Training.
Steven Fullmer Teaches