Behavioral Aspects of Project Management
Project management is much more than creating a work breakdown structure and tracking a plan. The hardest part for many is the personal side of project management. In this paper, we will explore how the organizational culture of a company and basic human behavior influence the success or failure of projects. In conducting this exploration, we will envision ourselves in the following scenario, and address the issues presented.
"You have just been brought in on a project, as the previous project manager has left. The project is behind schedule and over budget, and several key team members have quit in disgust, plummeting the morale of the rest of the team, who fear they will have to do the
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Resistance to change not only causes projects to fail but will discourage innovative thinking, creative ideas and the loss of many of the company's best employees. However, all of these things can be combated and in many cases beaten if the project manager is properly equipped to deal with these disasters. When dealing with change a manager actually needs to manage transition, not change. Resistance to change is more deeply rooted in transition. Most resistance is merely the perception of the end of the project. Subconsciously the employees say to themselves "When this project is done, who will have to be let go?" For a project to be successful, it is critical to identify who is losing what, explicitly define what is over and what is not, mark endings and treat the past with respect. When employees know how a project will affect them, they are more likely to accept the transition. Without personal or professional malice, they move into the transition open-mindedly. When personal disputes, opinions or self-gratifying reasons, are the driving forces to projects, many times those involved become disheartened. The project manager can not meet his or her goals, because there is no real buy in for the project and in many cases, the project can and will run over budget and behind scheduled. When a major player in a project does not buy into the project (shows