Most leaders want to improve their workplace environment. Improve morale, improve productivity, improve profitability, and increase the general success of the organization. Implementing any improvement program requires that you first understand the current state, which in turn requires you to be able to measure the current state.
When helping a client establish formal project management procedures in their organization one of the first things I ask is “where are you at now” or more precisely “what is the current state”.
Many people find it difficult to exactly define the current state. While I see it in project management, this situation is common in any area when attempting to implement some type of improvement plan.
If I ask a client if most of their projects are generally successful I’ll usually get a yes response followed by a number of clarifying conditions. I’ll get a similar response from students when I ask that question regarding projects at their place of work.
My next question about the current state is “how do you know” meaning what things are you measuring that tell you that? The response is typically something that involves schedule or budget but usually contains nothing specific.
Before you can improve something you need to clearly define the current state. Defining the current state means developing good metrics that clearly define the current condition you are trying to understand. Specific metrics will be influenced by many things and will be different from organization to organization. What specific metrics you come up with is unimportant. What is important is that the metrics are meaningful to your organization and that they clearly describe the condition you are trying to define.
Once you have good metrics defined the next step is to determine what values will those metrics have if you’re successful. If you measure these things a year from now and you are successful what values will you see? Being able to quantitatively show progress is the key to long-term success in improving any area of an organization.
One last thought. Change of any kind is going to be resisted by some people in your organization. Overcoming resistance to change is a skill an Enlightened Project Manager should develop and is something that would be valuable to anyone in the workplace. Occasionally some of those resisting will be in influential positions. One of the best ways to overcome this resistance is to be able to quantitatively show improvements in areas that are considered important to the organization.
Take a moment and consider the following:
- Can you clearly define the current state in your area of responsibility in your organization?
- What would you measure to define the current state?
- What would the desired state look like?
Please take some time to consider and share your thoughts on the following:
- How specifically can someone initiate change in the workplace?
- What are some ways to overcome resistance to change?
©2017 Joseph T Drammissi