aspects of the project that can further their
own careers or expand their skill sets.
THE ISSUE: SEEMINGLY
RANDOM CHANGES IN
Team members have been putting
in the overtime, but they’re willing
to make the sacrifice because all that
hard work is about to pay off. Oh wait,
management has decided to go with a
new more cutting-edge initiative. It’s all
right there in the memo.
WHAT TO DO
Team members can—and should—be
able to deal with change, but it would be
nice if you offered some kind of explanation. Project managers can alleviate the
resentment, irritation and low morale that
can come with a sudden switch in project
priorities by listening and keeping the lines
of communication open.
We might dislike a
half-day staff meeting
but that isn’t because
of the long hours. It’s
usually that there’s a
the “power players”—
the project manager, the
boss and others—and
the team members.
—Yukio Kohara, PMP, Fujitsu Advanced Engineering
Ltd., Tokyo, Japan
“When we’re going in one direction
and we change mid-stride, and we don’t
understand why there are these changes
in scope, it makes people feel really
bad,” says Azwin Abdul Ghani, PMP,
customer project manager, Ericsson
Global Delivery Center, Selangor Darul
Often changes in project scope are
simply unavoidable. As special assessor
of strategic projects for the Brazilian
government, Jorge Ronaldo Moll,
Ph.D., PMP, must juggle months of
political maneuvering and public commentary against four-year budgets.
“Time and quality and scope are
pushed by political demands, then the
budget’s management is interfered
with,” he says. “You want people to deal
with it but it’s really difficult. You have
to be open with both the team and the
board of directors.”
And the closer a project is to completion, the more painful the transition.
“If the life cycle is beyond 50 percent, then it’s really difficult,” Mr.
Too often, he explains, project managers get bogged down with tasks and
may forget that team members have
invested time and emotion in the old
“The way to manage that is to give
the team an explanation: Why are we
changing? Is it a critical requirement?
Teams will go where you want if you
tell them upfront why these things are
The team met the deadline and
is feeling pretty good about
their accomplishment. Then, the client
comes in with a 12-point list of revisions.
And they’re going to need those by
tomorrow—end of day is fine.
WHAT TO DO
Don’t overextend your forces. Speak truth
to power, explaining cost overruns based