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Webinar Recap: Do You Know How to Recover a Project?

Please find below a transcription of the audio portion of Bill Dow’s session, Do You Know How to Recover a Project, being provided by MPUG for the convenience of our members. You may wish to use this transcript for the purposes of self-paced learning, searching for specific information, and/or performing a quick review of webinar content. There may be exclusions, such as those steps included in product demonstrations. You may watch the live recording of this webinar at your convenience.

Kyle: Hello everyone. And welcome to today’s MPUG webinar, the Project Recovery Process. Do how to recover a project? My name is Kyle and I’ll be the moderator today, and today’s session is eligible for 1PMI PDU in the technical category. The MPUG activity code for claiming the session is on the screen now. Like all MPUG webinars the recording of this session will be posted to mpug.com shortly after the live presentation ends, and all unplugged members can watch the recordings at any time and still be eligible to earn the PDU credit. All of the sessions you watch on demand can be submitted to your webinar history and the live sessions you attend are automatically submitted, and within your history, you could print or download your transcript and certificates of completion, including the one for today. And you can access that by logging into mpug.com, click the my account button, and then click on the transcript link.

Kyle: If you have any questions during today’s presentation, please send those over at any time using the chat question box on the go-to webinar control panel. We do plan to answer those for you at the end of the session. There’ll also be opportunities to participate, providing your thoughts and answering questions along the way, so be sure to submit those into the chat as well. All right. And we’ll go ahead and get started. So we’re very happy to welcome back Bill Dow today. Bill, I’d like to welcome you back, and I’ll go ahead and hand it over to you right away to get us started and introduce yourself to begin the session.

Bill Dow: Awesome. Thanks Kyle. Appreciate that. I’ll just show my screen here. Awesome. Well, welcome everyone, and thank you all for joining. I know everyone is super, super busy, and so I appreciate you taking this time today, and let me walk you through some of my thoughts, my background around how to recover a project. As Kyle said, we’re going to try to do it very interactive, so we’ll utilize that chat button, so we can make this an interaction. You can ask questions and we’ll really get you the information you need. All right. So let’s jump right into it, and again, thank you. This was a project recovery process. Let’s jump into it. So my name is bill Dow. So I have 30 plus years of hands-on experience. As a Kyle side, I’ve been here multiple times presenting. I’m the director of the PMO, University of Washington.

Bill Dow: I was at Microsoft for almost 14 years where I ran eight PMOs there. AT&T and Cingular during that timeframe, I worked and ran a couple of PMOs there, I’m Canadian so you may hear A quite a bit, worked at the city of Seattle, and really, really proud of this though. This year I was named one of the top 16 PMO leaders of the world, which is from the PMO Global Award, so was really exciting and hopefully you guys saw some of my presentations there.

Bill Dow: I’ve been a speaker and presenter, London, England, India, Las Vegas, Toronto, Indianapolis, so PMO rigorous speaker there. I’ve got a great YouTube channel. I’d love for you guys to check me out there down publishing YouTube. I go to what 90 videos. I’m always releasing new videos as well, and I’m a four-time author. So my latest book is the PMO lifecycle, building, running and shutting down, Project Communication tools is my latest communication book, the Tactical guide for building a PMO in way back, and that’s why it looks a little different, but way back in 2008, I published Project Management communication Bible. So that was through Wiley.

Bill Dow: So, very, very excited. Like I said, I know this area very, very well, very passionate about it as a PMO director for many, many years and a PMO manager. I’m actively and always getting in there and trying to understand what’s going on with our projects and then recovering those projects as well and helping to do that. So let’s jump into what we’re going to cover today.

Bill Dow: So I put together really six main topic areas. We’ll talk about the project assessment, really what went wrong, we’ll look at it from a project management perspective, project execution, methodology perspective, adoption and organizational change management, and then a recommendation, and then we’ll summarize. So lots and lots of topics here that we’re going to cover, but again, really, really passionate about this because so many project managers get themselves into this situation, and they really do need a plan. And so that’s what I’ve done is I’ve put together that process. Okay.

Bill Dow: So when you think about a project assessment, there’re really hundreds of things that could go wrong. Actually there’s probably thousands of things that could go wrong, from every possible imagination of where a project can go wrong, and so what I did is I put together a really a three-step process on how do I evaluate a project? And so how do we look at a project from three different areas, and then how do we put action plans and recommendations in place to be able to fix that and to be able to correct that project going forward? As I said, I’ve used this for years, I’ve used this process for years so much so I wrote a portion of this into my book, and I’ll show you that coming up, but again, really, really passionate about, but with all the problems and all the things that could go wrong, you needed the process and project managers need a process to figure out how to fix that.

Bill Dow: So that’s what I did. So basically what I did is I put together a three-step process. And so when you think about, how do you tackle this, the first thing you’re going to look at is from a project management perspective. What’s that DNA, how is the project being executed? The second thing you look at is how is the project being developed? And I see these as two different things, and we’ll talk about that, but from an agile, waterfall, lean, a safe, a construction, a manufacturing.

Bill Dow: Whatever the development of that methodology is, we’ll look at that. And then how has the adoption of the project really from an org change management? Has that been applied? Does it still need to be applied? And so these are the three areas that we’re going to tackle, but these are really the three areas as well that I strongly believe this is how you tackle figuring out what went wrong on a project.

Bill Dow: Now, one of the things that you want to consider is where are we at with the project? Are we in the middle of the project? Are we at the end of the project? So the timeframe of the project is going to is really going to drive a lot of this, but again, with hundreds or thousands of reasons why projects could go wrong, you need a process, you need a step-by-step process to follow, but just consider timing plays a role in this. Okay. And so I tried to make this as easy as possible to really help you drive through on how you can tackle recovering projects. Now, one of the really important questions, and I get this question a lot is how long is this going to take? And so when I think about this, I think about probably an eight to 10, maybe 10 to 15 day window. Okay.

Bill Dow: So max is going to be 15 days. And so let me walk you through that. Let me walk you through the logic. Day one, you start the recovery process, day two, day three, you start looking into the project management, day four and five, you look into the execution methodology, day six and seven, you go into the Org change management methodology, and day eight to 10, you write up your recommendations and you basically have a nice package of how you’re going to fix this project.

Bill Dow: So couple of things to consider, and obviously the eight to 10 days is going to vary on how many times you’ve been through this, it’s going to vary on the complexity of the project, it’s going to vary on a number of different factors, but here’s the key takeaway to this slide in this timing, because I do get asked this a lot. You don’t have all day. Okay. So think about what we’re saying. When someone brings you in to say, “Hey, I need you to fix this project, I need you to figure out what went wrong”, you don’t have months and months to months to figure that out. Now this timeframe is just to come up with the recommendations. This is not to fix the project. So I have to be clear. So in the very beginning, this path that we’re going to take you through is how to come up with the recommendations on the project, not to fix the project.

Bill Dow: And that’s a key component. So when I say eight to 10 days or eight to 15 days or two to three weeks, that feels reasonable on the average size project. Okay. More complexity, and again, depending on where you are, that can range, but I think you have to go into this with an understanding that you don’t have months and months and months to be able to come up with this recommendation. Something went wrong, someone’s asked you to come in, and of course they have to clear the plate and make everyone available, but they’ve asked you to come in and figure out how we can turn this project around. Make sense? Perfect. Okay.

Bill Dow: So let’s do that. So let’s jump in, and so let’s look at it from a project management perspective. So when I say a project management perspective, I’m really thinking about the hygiene, the DNA, the risks, the issues, the actions. How is the Project Manager running the end to end project? So there’s really forming things here, forming considerations. How is the hygiene of the project? The risk, the issues, the action, the schedule? Just how are they executing the project from an end to end perspective? Do they have a risk log? Do they have weekly staff meetings, communication plans? That type of thing. How well is the customer engaged in the project? Is the customer just someone you launch a status report to and you never talked to, or are they actually engaged in the project? Are you, are you getting them what they need? Are they get you what you need? Are they removing roadblocks for you? Do you have that great customer, that great stakeholder engagement, and where has that been through the life of the project?

Bill Dow: And again, we have to caveat this. We don’t know what stage of the projects it in that you need to recover, but this customer engagement we’ve seen for years, that’s a critical part of project success. So has that been a factor in why you need to recover the project, or change management? Has that started? And again, we’ll talk about that a whole section coming up, but the real question here is what does the project manager think? And has he or she incorporated or changed management in how he or she has executed that project? So project managers are slowly, slowly getting how important Org change management is, but not all of them, and therefore that could be a huge component of a project failure. “We just didn’t do this fast enough. We’ve got low adoption rates.”

Bill Dow: And so where’s the Project Manager and their mindset from an Org change management perspective, and then other areas. Do we have enough budget? Do we have enough resources? Just all the other factors around the pure DNA of a project. It makes sense? Yeah. So quick story. So basically this is what I do every time I take over a project. PMO, sorry. So when I go into a PMO, and I’ve ran 10 of them so far in my career, I go in and I work with the Project Managers and I say, “Where are your risks log? Where’re your issue logs? How are you executing this project?” Okay. And so, because of that, and because of that is just something that I’ve done for good projects, and if projects are going well and projects that are struggling, this becomes really easy to really understand very quickly how you can assess whether the Project Manager is got the DNA down. Okay. And really it’s got that solid risks and issues and actions and schedules and all that goodness of running a project.

Bill Dow: So, because I’ve done it so many times, I’ve actually written it in my book. I put it in chapter 17, the PMO life cycle, and obviously this is just a sample, but let’s just walk through this for a sec because it’s critical. So what you do is you have an audit spreadsheet. You literally say, “Do you have a charter? Do you have a project management plan?” And all you’re doing very, very quickly is yes or no, and you’re giving them a score. Do they have a communication plan? Do they have a template? Do they have a blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Now, obviously this will change for different types of projects. Not every project has to have a yes. Not every project has to have every deliverable, totally get that. But what this is going to do is this is going to give you a starting point, and this is going to give you an action plan. Meaning if you’re seeing some of the key components of a project that you know you need, you need a rest log, you need an issue log.

Bill Dow: Some of these core things, for one reason or another they’re missing, you got a starting point. And of course it’s across initiation, planning, executing, controlling, closing, the whole scenario, the whole process groups, you actually go in there and you do that quick audit. So the goodness to that is you get an action plan. The goodness to that is you have a starting point to go from project management perspective, I can quickly see where I can make some recommendations. So then based on that score, and based on that honest spreadsheet, you can start putting an action plan in place. And so I think that’s really critical.

Bill Dow: And again, not all areas and not all project management items have to be there. That’s up to the size, the complexity, the PMO, all sorts of reasons why they would have, but if you’re going to run a project, you know there’s some key things you have to have, and if they’re not there, they could be contributing factors. So again, it’s really around the complexity, performing that audit and then having that great starting point. And then again, add all recommendations to the project recovery recommendation document, and that too is around, not actually filling the points in, or not actually putting the action plan in places right now. You’re just putting a project recovery document in place, so therefore you can then turn around and recommend that to your executives on how you’re going to do that.

Bill Dow: So quick story, I’ve put these audit plans in place for years across my PMOs, and one of the things that you would think is you would think that the project managers would actually really not like this. They would struggle and they’d say, “You know what, actually this is not… I know what to do. I’m the greatest project manager in the world”, but actually they love it. They absolutely love it because it sets the expectations of exactly what they have to do. And so if you’re putting that on a spreadsheet out there, you put it into a standard project schedule from a project management perspective, they know exactly the tasks that they have to follow, and so they actually do love it. So a lot of project managers think, “Oh, we really don’t like this. This is something that we’re going to bark against, but actually they do like it because they like that expectations. Okay.

Bill Dow: All right. So why don’t I do this? I want to see the couple of questions for the end of the discussion. So the first question is how valuable do you think an audit spreadsheet like this would be? Do you guys think that would be really valuable? Do you think you should just wing it? What are some of your thoughts around having a spreadsheet like this, a starting point to then determine? And then what other areas of the project would you look for? What have you guys done in the past from an auditing or a recovery perspective? And then how hard do you think it will be to get this information in a short period of time? So again, what we’re assuming is that the Manager, Director, Vice president, whoever’s brought you in has actually cleared the path and said, “These folks will be able to give you the information you need to make the recommended.”

Bill Dow: But the question is, do you think the Project Manager will cooperate with you? You’re going to be a third-party person, you’re an outside person coming in going, “Let me investigate. What happened? What went wrong?” But that Project Manager who managed the project, do you think they’re going to cooperate with you? Great. So we actually got a question. So from David, is there a review, root cause analysis reasonable? Perhaps the project’s not going well because the original need is not understood. That’s a great point, David. Yes. So you could definitely do a root cause analysis. 100%. And so you can look at these three areas I’ve laid out and do root cause analysis on that as well. So I think that’s a great question or a great comment. And I strongly agree. Yes. You can certainly do a root cause analysis.

Bill Dow: A lot of times though, it is about getting in there, really understanding what happened. Hey, pick your best guy. If I have this situation then take it to my best PM, and then they go, “Hey Frank, or Bob or whatever, can you jump in here real quickly and start looking at what went on?” And so root cause analysis can take a little while, totally, but I think that’s a great point. Great point. Okay. All right. So that’s it from a project management perspective. We’ve gone in there, we’ve ticked the boxes, we understand what they’ve done and it’s not going to take that long. When you deep dive in and you understand what’s happening from a PM perspective, I think you’ll get a pretty good feel in a short period of time of what they have done and what they haven’t done.

Bill Dow: And does that solve everything? No, let’s be realistic. Just because you don’t have an action log or a decision log doesn’t mean the project’s going to go off rails, but it’s just part of that one story on what they’ve done that project from a PM perspective. Okay. So let’s now jump into the project execution methodology. So what do I mean by that? Waterfall, agile, safe, construction. Basically, how is the product being built? What’s being built? And in a lot of cases, a lot of us do IT type of projects, so what methodology, what development methodology and applicable across multiple different industries?

Bill Dow: Really, I think about these four areas here too. And so what methodology are they using, and is it working? Are all the players playing the parts? Is it defined? Is the team following each steps? Are there checkpoints in place to follow? And so we think about phase-gates. Often we have phase-gates that’s built into our methodology or development methodology. Sometimes we don’t. In some places I’ve gone to, they didn’t have a phase-gate. And so do we have those checkpoints? So how has that methodology? We hear about water-scrum and water agile when we see the merging of those two worlds all over the place, how is that working? And so when you’re starting this recovery process, you’re diving deep into that execution methodology. And so a racy. So one of the key components of this is, is everyone playing the part that they need to play.

Bill Dow: Do we have all the roles and responsibilities defined? Do we still need to hire someone? If we’ve got someone, are they pulling their weight? Are they not pulling their weight? And then, as I asked with the project management side, where’s the customer in this development methodology. So if we’re agile, for example, are they acting as a product owner? Do we actually have a customer acting as a product owner or in a lot of cases, do we have an IT person that’s speaking on behalf of the customer. And how has that impacted whether the project is suffering and needs recovering or not. And that could or could not be an issue, but it’s a question that you’re going to want to dive into. Okay. Team issues. What are the major problems occurring on the project? Have we captured the concerns of the team members? Are there common themes?

Bill Dow: Now, think about if you’ve got a team, you’re doing waterfall, for example, you’ve got a team of developers, you’ve got a Development Manager and you’ve got 10, 15 developers. Could you ask every developer? Probably not, but if you ask two or three or four of them and you get a theme, you probably get a sense of what’s going on from that perspective. Not trying to lose anyone out, but also what you’re trying to do is you’re trying to reframe that timeframe and keep that timeframe to not go months and months and months, but this would be the one time where your eight to 10 days could go to 15, could go a little bit longer, because you want to get enough people’s opinions in the development methodology that you can create a theme, once you have a theme, you can create an action plan.

Bill Dow: So we’re doing agile water gel, whatever you want to call it, and you know what, this just isn’t working or we’re finding we don’t do retrospectives, or we don’t do lessons learned or whatever the case may be. So you want to talk to enough of the team members that you get those common themes and therefore you create an action plan. And then what about the risks and the issues and the roadblocks, and what’s happening from their perspective? From a development, what kind of risks do we have from development? What kinds of issues? What’s the situation that’s causing the project to be recovered based on the development methodology? And is a perception really what’s going on?

Bill Dow: So a lot of times people are so deep into executing the project, they can’t really see what’s happening. So what third party person coming in actually has that view, and so can sometimes see things that the project team members can’t see. Brian’s is really valuable PM, as a team player, they will assess. Yeah. So definitely Brian. So again, project managers have to be as much of a team player as the team themselves, and it’s really going to make for a cohesive and a really strong performing team.

Bill Dow: So great point. So again, does that make sense? So we’re really trying to dive into the execution methodology. So as same thing I did in the project management, I wanted to put an example up here. Again, this is just a waterfall, what are the tasks, design development, test, whatever, does it exist? Give it a score. And I’m going to keep going back to that because you have to have a starting place. You can’t wing this. And the other thing is, is that you want the evidence. And when I sat through the project management side of things, this is what I came up with. When I sat through the development side of things, this is what I saw, this is what I didn’t see.

Bill Dow: And again, it’s going to require working with the developers, working with the designers and the testers and all the goodness around the people, I put Go live in there, because you don’t know where the project’s at. The project could be needed to be recovered after it already went, Go live from a low adoption perspective. So again, you just want to cover your basis, obviously you can have an agile version, you can have a construction, whatever the case may be, but you want to have this checklist or this auditing, because you want to have that action plan and that place to go back to.

Bill Dow: Yeah. That’s a great point. Mark says, how often do you find an organization that avoids good project management documentation? That is so true. Yeah. And that’s a really great point. So, sometimes and to Mark, I just want to address that. So Mark says, how often do companies avoid doing good project documentation? Frankly, a lot of that, Mark, is because Project Managers have five, six, seven projects. In one of those companies I worked for, I was working with the Project Manager, he had 15 projects. How can you possibly do all the goodness and all the documentation across 15 projects? You can’t. So if a project fails, he turned, and the dude’s running 15 projects. How is he bothered? So that’s just part of the way they do it, but that’s a great and funny quote. So thank you for that.

Bill Dow: All right. Let’s keep going. So from a recommendation perspective, every team operates differently. So clearly, and which is fine, and that’s totally fine that development teams operate differently. That’s, that’s fine. That’s all part of it, but did any of that lead to the failure of this project? Were there some of the things that were like, “Yeah, we don’t need to do lessons learned”, or “We don’t need to do this or that”, and actually, you know what, that became a failure point.

Bill Dow: A third-party person’s going to see that very quickly. Okay. Again, third-party person, you have a chance to hear directly from the team members what’s happening on the project. Don’t underestimate the power of that. Because they will give you all that good information, you’re not their project manager. You may not be their manager, so if you want to hear exactly what’s going on, go in there, investigate a project and say, “Hey, what has been the major problem point?” And then docent those. Look for themes, don’t look for, can people, just complaining and this issue or that issue, look for themes, but I think if you do this more and more and more, you’re going to very quickly get themes and figure out very quickly how to do this.

Bill Dow: So again, all your recommendations and findings at this project recovery recommendation document, 100%. You want to put all that in there, because what you’re going to do is you’re going to present back to your executives to say, “Here are my recommendations, and here are my action plans.” So 100%. So your background seems to be mainly software? Yes. I’ve worked in healthcare, I’ve worked in software, I’ve worked in construction, I worked in real estate. So I’ve worked in all over the place in multiple different industries, has your recovering projects, in both building construction and filling automation? No. I have not worked in construction.

Bill Dow: Bruce Taylor, that I wrote two of these books with, he is a 40, 50 year construction guy. He’s 83, so he’s got 50 years in construction. So no, I’ve not recovered a construction project. That would be absolutely amazing, and a part that I’d love to get to in my career, but I’ve worked in multiple other industries and I’ve applied these principles for sure. Thanks, Paul. Great question or great comment. Okay. So as we wrap up the execution methodology, it’s really around how the teams deliver.

Bill Dow: It’s what have they done and how have they incorporated that waterfall, agile, whatever the case may be, but how have they driven that methodology, and then you doing that audit and that checkpoint will give you that action plan. Okay. So a couple of questions seeding some thoughts from folks and thank you for the chats, they’ve been great. So do you think getting the information from the project team would be difficult, and have you guys experienced that before? So again, leadership has brought you in to get this information, but they may or may not be that open. I’m hoping that they would be, in most cases they are, because everyone wants to try to succeed, everyone wants to do the best possible. So you’re hoping that they’re going to expose the things that have gone on, so you can turn like quickly turn this around.

Bill Dow: But I wanted to see that question to get your thoughts around, “Hey, do you think this would be difficult?” Development methodologies can vary from company to company. So have we been really, really successful? Have you seen companies be successful with agile water jel or whatever we call it, water-scrum or just agile or just waterfall or just whatever the case may be. But again, have you seen companies struggle with that, or have you seen them really nail though that multiple methodology. And then how important do you guys think it is to talk to all the individuals, individually to get that theme in that messaging. Do you guys think that’s important? Do you think that’s a key component? What are some of your thoughts on that? Okay. All right.

Bill Dow: So, let’s jump into the last section and it’s around change management, and I’m telling you if I would’ve known this 30 years ago, I would’ve jumped into this change management, I absolutely love this change management, and I think as a Project Manager, we have to start embracing this. ProSci, Conner, Kotter, whatever the methodology, I’m a ProSci junkie. I love it, but I really strongly believe that while we have our low adoption rates and we need projects, recovery Org change management is a key component to being successful.

Bill Dow: And I’m just 28 years too late. I just wish I would have known this a lot earlier. So, because this is an area of such importance, again, I want to stop and just pause and go, “What do you look at?” So change methodology, did they utilize anything? And when did they start to utilize it in the project? Let’s just take waterfall, are they in tests then they go, “Oh, we now need to do change management.” What methodology are they using? Are they using ProSci, and they’re trying to learn it through YouTube? Are they using Kotter and reading a book? Are they using Connor? There’s a ton of different methodologies out there. Which one are they using? And/or are they using?

Bill Dow: Connected customers. When we think about low adoption rates, because often the customers don’t see the value in the product that they’re being asked to use. We’ve not brought them along during that change curve. Does the PM know the customer stage that they are? So when you think about Org change management, you think about the ad car model, you think about the different models.

Bill Dow: Customers are going to be in different journeys and different spaces in that model, so from a low adoption rate perspective, does the Project Manager know where the customers are, and have they brought them along and are they going too fast where they maybe need to slow down and bring them back? Is the product mandatory? Do we have to use this product? Is leadership saying, “Hey, you’re needing to use this new time sheet program, or you’re not going to get paid”, or is leadership saying, “Hey, use this product. Yes or no. It doesn’t really matter, I support it.” There’s a radical difference around acceptance and whether leadership is making this mandatory, or they’re making this optional.

Bill Dow: Great. If people aren’t going to get paid unless they use this new product, that’s going to drive adoption rates up. So it’s really around this mandatory or optional, and what has been the overall direction from the leadership, that’s going to help you decide where they’re at and what you’ve done from a change management strategy. And then other issues and roadblocks. Again, change management is critical around adoption, and recovering a project could just be around getting the adoption started again and getting that adoption. So where have we been from a adoption perspective around system, around perceptions, around people? So it’s really, really important to really understand where they’ve been from that. And like I said, this is something that I wish I would’ve learned 30 years ago because I just really find that this change management is changing the way we should be driving our projects, and when we see project failures, it often comes down to, “We’ve not brought the customer is along.”

Bill Dow: I think that’s just the key, so get out there and learn those methodologies, and again, when you do a ProSci, you do a Conner or a Kotter, they have a set of theories and a certain set of deliverables that you have to take them through. What’s the change strategy? Do you have a change management team? Do you have a sponsor model? Do you have a change management plan? There’s all that goodness in those different models that you need to want to check for. Did they do it? Did they not do it? When did they do it? Just obviously an example, but again, it really drives through the importance of that action plan.

Bill Dow: So all of these audit spreadsheets and all of these checkpoints have been, is it there or is it not there? That doesn’t solve everything, but it’s a starting point, and it’s really a point to go, “Yeah, they’ve really missed the boat on change management.” We have no change management plan. We have no sponsor model, whatever the case might be. But you’ve got to come back and it’s going to give you that plan and that action plan just based on the score. And again, it’s not black and white, it’s really around, “Did they put some of these components in place?” And if you have low adoption or the customers don’t understand what’s in it for them, they’re simply going to not adopt at the rate you want them to.

Bill Dow: I hope that makes sense. Can’t stress enough how much I love that ProSci. So adoption change management’s a key point to project failures. I see it over and over and over across my 30 years of doing this. None of Project Managers are recognizing that. So when I offer, “Hey, let’s go to ProSci training, they’re really, “I don’t really want to do that.” It’s like, come on, you guys, you got to really understand how important change management is. And so we really got to get Project Managers to start thinking this way, and really start, “Hey, how does change management affect how we drive our projects?” If change management is not executed from the beginning of the project, you’re going to see low adoption rates.

Bill Dow: You cannot get the test or UAT and say, “Oh, by the way, this is your new time sheet system. Oh, by the way, you got to start using this next week.” It’s never going to happen. If you don’t nail that, “What’s in it for me”, projects will continue to struggle. We see in all the time, we see it all the time, is if we don’t get the customers excited about what they’re going to get out of this, and they don’t personally see what’s in it for them, their adoption rates are going to stay very, very low. So again, add all your recommendations and all your findings into the recovery document.

Bill Dow: So you’ve been building this recommendation document the whole time. You’ve been building it up, building it up, adding both your recommendations, your action plans, and really building up. You have not started to implement any of this. So really, really important. You’ve not started implementing this, you’re just building the process, this is why it’s like an eight to 10 days, maybe 50.

Bill Dow: So question.Who’s using change management, and how is that going? And so if you guys seen again, we’ll come up to this coming up here pretty soon. But have you guys seen the value of change management on your projects, either being the change management lead or advocate yourself, or actually having a change manager on your project team? Do you believe a lack of change management leads to project failures? Do you think it actually leads to low adoption? I can tell you it does, but you got to really believe it, or you’re not going to make any changes. So it’s really about understanding and you believing and reading the data and understanding the data or you won’t put that and make that choice yourself and then start driving that in your projects.

Bill Dow: And then how important do you guys think the mandatory versus discretionary is? Do you think that’s a key component and why we have low adoption? And what does your management teams do about that? Did they say “You must use this new sheet or this new time sheeter. You must use this”, or there’s so many projects going on and you just don’t get that level of exposure from your management. Because I’ve seen both. I’ve seen both happen when you’ve got great management connection and they’re directly connected to it, and they’re part of the change management process, I’ve see much more success. Otherwise, if they’re not involved in it, we’ve seen those low acceptance rates as well. All right.

Bill Dow: So let’s jump into the last section that’s really around this recommendation document. So not a ton here. What we’ve done here is we’ve built along the way. Through this eight to 10, eight to 15 day process, we’ve been building, we’ve been building, but I can’t stress enough how important this presentation is, back to the leadership that has asked you to come in and recover this project. They’re going to want to see your findings. They’re going to want to talk to you about what went wrong. They’re going to want to hear the stories of what you’ve captured on their behalf, snd you’re going to put this into a nice clean recommendation document. All right. So here’s what it looks like. So your project management, your execution, your adoption, and then your final findings.

Bill Dow: In that is your action plans and your next step for LT approval. So you’ve built it along the way, you’ve started filling it in, you’ve got this great little template, here’s my recommendations, here’s my actual plans, here’s my recommendations action plans, and then you can turn around and present this, and really put this in front of them and say, “Okay, I’ve done what you’ve needed me to do. Now we have to implement this”, or “Now we take those action plans, and then we implement.” So, okay, we’re going to summarize here, coming up.

Bill Dow: So what I’ve tried to do is really make this a simple three-step process. Analyze what’s happening with the project, filling your spreadsheets across your different areas, document these in the recommendation document, and then put that plan and action plan in place for your LT approval. So really three steps, three simple steps, easy steps. They’re not simple, they’re not easy, but they’re consumable, and they’re ones that you can tackle and have a starting place. If someone tapped you on the shoulder and says, “Oh, Mary, you need to go recover this project”, you’d go, “Great. I know exactly where I need to start. I’m going to start going down the project management path, that development path, and then of course the change management path.”

Bill Dow: So as we summarize, most projects are broken down into these areas, execution methodology and change management, projects often need recovering for the simplest reasons, and sometimes the team members are so engaged in the project and so they saw deep into the details. They can’t go, “Whoa, we’ve missed this very simple thing that an outside person can see.” And so use this simple but effective process to review those steps, document your recommendations, document your action plans, and then figure out how to get this project turned around.

Bill Dow: Like I said, put everything in chapter 17 in my book, the PMO lifecycle, building, running and shutting down, here’s all my contact information. I’ve been presenting for years, I keep putting this up, and people don’t ever take me up on contacting me, so billdow@dowpublishingllc.com. If you’re interested in the slide, you’re interested in talking more or you’re wanting more detail, definitely contact me. There’s my information. I’m open to contacting, just send me that email or connect with me on LinkedIn. There’re my two books, and Kyle, I’m going to hand it back to you for questions. Sorry, I didn’t get all of those in the comments, but I tried.

Kyle: Thanks bill. No worries. We have quite a few comments and a few questions that have come in. I can read those out if you’d like.

Bill Dow: Yeah. If you wouldn’t mind. [crosstalk 00:42:14]

Kyle: So Brian mentioned, I think this might’ve been relating to those discussion items you had. He said, “My experience has been positive. I know that I would be open to the help personally.”

Bill Dow: Great. Yeah. And that takes a lot. It takes a lot for a project manager to go, “You know what, this didn’t go the way I needed it to go, let’s step back and let’s really understand what happened here and how can I fix it for the next time?”

Kyle: Right. Here’s a good comment from David. He said, “Talk to the closest to the work. They will tell you what’s wrong, if you have their confidence.”

Bill Dow: Yeah. And being a third party or an outside person, you’re going to have that ability to do that. So, because they don’t report to you, you’re not their Project Manager, often you get some really good insights that you can gather in those conversations. And those are exactly the people that I’m talking to talk to.

Kyle: Right. Carol had a question asking if you could recommend where to start for Project Managers who need to learn formal OCM.

Bill Dow: Yeah. I love ProSci. I love ProSci. I would literally go to YouTube and pump in ADKAR or pump in ProSci, and watch crazy amounts of videos there. They’ve got an amazing site. But it’s not the only methodology, but it is one of the easiest and one of the best. So YouTube, ProSci, ADKAR model and just consume like crazy because it’s awesome.

Kyle: Yeah. I actually do a back that up. David commented that his office uses ProSci tools. So when someone asks, we now have the information to offer in a structured way. He highly recommend it and ADKAR. “Use it and it will change your PM life.” He says.

Bill Dow: Yeah. It’s to die for. Absolutely love it.

Kyle: A comment from [Carey 00:44:14], excuse me. My organization evaluates projects at the start to determine if they need an OCM resource and how much organizational change will be required to seize impact.

Bill Dow: That’s great. Yeah. We need to get there. A lot of projects and a lot of companies don’t do that. I think that’s a great thing to do from the charter, from the intake process, we have to start changing that dial on Org change management. And so that’s a great point and a great starting point. Most companies should do that.

Kyle: Another comment here, Brian was working on an avionics project where change management was not understood and the project pushed and ultimately failed. So an example of it not working out when you don’t follow the process. Let’s see. I think we have a couple more questions here from Paul. I’m not sure I know what you mean by org change management? And he was curious if you could comment on product process and OCM.

Bill Dow: So, org change management is changing the hearts and the minds of the organization. So organizational change management again, go google it, go YouTube it, but really when we’re thinking about adopting a new product, you’ve got that person that you want to install on their desktop and start using. You’ve got to change their mind. They’ve got to really want to do it. So how do you change the hearts and minds of individuals to adopt the new project that you’re about to land on a new time sheet system, a new whatever?

Kyle: All right. And we have a one from Heather. At my organization, OCM is usually handled by the business side and they’re trying to get ITPMs involved in OCM. Any suggestions since PMI and PMBOK doesn’t seem to cover much of OCM?

Bill Dow: Yeah, yeah. Please. Don’t get me down the path of PMBOK. Actually. So, I think that’s great that the business is trying to drive that because of the business folks are generally the people that want to adopt it and have to adopt it, but the Project Manager has to, when they he or she is executing the project, they’ve got to approach this from the very beginning. So how do you do that? So I would take that up through your ranks. I’d take that to your Manager, to your Director and say, “Hey, listen, let’s look at some of the surveys. Let’s look at low adoption rates. What’s the number one reason why we have low adoption rates? Well it’s because customers don’t accept it. They don’t know what it’s in it for them. And then the fallback would be, well, we, as a business are starting to do that.

Bill Dow: That is great. And that’s exactly what you need to do, but the project team, and IT needs to support you during that process. Where you just can’t get to UAT and say, “Okay, business take over”, you don’t have to do the all the adoption. The adoption has to start from the very start of the project and bring people along. And the reason, and I touched it earlier is because customers go through that change journey in different timeframes. Some customers go through it very quick, “Give me the latest, give me the latest”, and some are like, “No way I’m not changing.” So you’re going to need the life of the project to change people’s minds, and it can’t just be done in the business. IT’s got to help you drive that along the way.

Kyle: Thanks Bill. Just a couple of clarifications. I actually received one for ProSci and ADKAR. So that’s P-R-O-S-C-I, ProSci and ADKAR A-D-K-A-R model. So, I think there was [crosstalk 00:48:18] a little confusing, so cool. Let’s see. Another question here, is process tailoring part of what you’re calling a OCM?

Bill Dow: No. No not at all. No process tailoring across development methodologies or project management methodology. No OCM, is organizational change management, and again, just think of that, of change in the hearts and minds of people. Changing people’s thoughts to understand what’s in it for me, and why do I have to adopt this? So process configuration or adoption or changing is really around, “You know what, we don’t have to do this component, let’s adopt this process or let’s figure out what we need to change and not change to execute a project, to develop a product, but change management is own world, and again, just get out there and really study and really understand that change management methodology. Either one, you love ProSci, but there’s a couple of different ones out there and you’ll really get it, and you’ll really understand the importance of it.

Kyle: Thanks Bill. Looks like we have one final question from Kurt. Should the PM ensure that the change management process is in place much like issue and risk registers?

Bill Dow: Yes. 100% from the very start of the project to the very end of the project. The Project Manager has to ensure that. They have to ensure that’s in place.

Kyle: Awesome. Well, thanks Bill, and thank you to everyone that commented or sent in a question. We really appreciate that. Anything else before we close out today, Bill?

Bill Dow: No, I think it’s great. Thank you all, I really appreciate it. Again, do contact me, go check out my YouTube site. Do contact me. I’m here to help you. I’m here to wherever you need and I really want to make you guys all successful, so hopefully this is just a starting point in that process.

Kyle: Awesome. Thanks Bill. And what would you be able to share your contact info again? Just to make sure nobody missed that.

Bill Dow: Yeah of course. Right there.

Kyle: Perfect. And there’s a screenshot button at the top of the viewer window. Anyone watching live, click that button, it’ll take a screenshot of what you see here, Bill’s contact info. All right. And, so once again, thank you so much Bill for your time today and sharing your knowledge and experience with the MPUG community. We really appreciate that. Thank you to everyone that joined us live and submitted questions. Everyone claiming the PDU credit for today. I will get that info back on the screen for you. Let’s see here.

Bill Dow: I’ll stop sharing now.

Kyle: There we go. Okay. So you should see that coming up, now. This webinar is eligible for one technical PMI PDU. And if you missed any of today’s session, I would like to go back and review anything that Bill shared. The recording will be posted to mpug.com in just a couple hours. And you’ll receive an email with a link to that. As IMPUG manager have access to our full PDU eligible library of on-demand webinar recordings and on mpug.com. But we also have some great sessions coming up on the calendar. This session closes out 2020 for presentations, but we have some scheduled for Q1 of 2021, starting with Nenad that session on how to manage projects using Microsoft lists, so a new Microsoft app available, as well as Dr. Lynette Reed will join us the following week for fixing the problem and how to make changes and how you deal with challenges.

Kyle: So those sessions are on the calendar, open for registration along with many others, and I’ll just chat over a link so you can get to those easily. Just take a look in the chat box there for that. All right. And that does it for today. So thanks again, Bill, thanks to everyone that joined us live, thanks everyone that’s watching on-demand. We hope you have a great rest of your day and we’ll see you back in a couple of weeks for our next live session.


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Written by Bill Dow

Bill Dow, PMP, is a published author and project management professional with more than two decades of experience in information technology, specializing in software development and project management. Bill has built and operated large project management offices (PMOs) and is the author of three project management books. The latest is Project Management Communication Tools, co-written with Bruce Taylor. Contact Bill at billdow@dowpublishingllc.com.

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