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Project Management 101 & Tools

How To Start And Finish A ‘no-fail’ Project. Part 1


Fighting Internal Resistance. Part 1


Suggestion #1: Don’t force the new system on anyone

Suggestion #2: Show the personal payback

Suggestion #3: Make it a habit for everyone


According to a major IT research institution, The Standish Group, only 16% of IT projects are completed on time and on budget. Standish estimates that 53% overrun their schedules and surpass their budgets while 31% are canceled. Gartner estimates that nearly 50% of all new software projects in the United States come will go over budget.

In other words, there is only one chance in six that your next project will succeed. These are fairly depressing odds. However, unlike Texas No-Limit Hold’em, your next IT project does not have to be a gamble. By knowing the most common causes of project failure, you and your the company can play your cards well and lay down a winning hand every time.

Recognized PM specialists all agree that the following are the primary factors that could ruin your project:

  1. Lack of objective project status reports;
  2. Poor communication within a team;
  3. Internal resistance to the project management tools and methodologies;
  4. Changing requirements during development;
  5. Inadequate initial project planning.

In this article, we will review one of these obstacles – Internal Resistance and show some effective ways how to fight it.

People do not like changes. Actually, people hate change. Especially when changes require added work: track time, fill out the exact steps to reproduce a defect, change task status, etc.

If you ask your team members what it will take to do this extra work, the most common answer will be: “Short of holding a gun to my head, nothing”. But there are some ways to get your team on board. Here are the top three suggestions for seasoned project managers.

Suggestion #1: Don’t force the new system on anyone

Never, ever just show up with a new tool and say: “OK boys, start using this software now.”

  • First, educate your team before introducing the new software or system. Hold a short meeting and provide a brief overview of the solution. Explain the tool’s importance to the company and why they are being asked to use it.
  • Next, set up a trial and ensure that as many of your team members are involved in the test run as possible.
  • Make sure that all users have some basic training before allowing them to use the application on their own.
  • During the trial period, meet with users and get their feedback. Some people will whine as a reflexive reaction. However, if anyone has a valid point or suggestion, adjust your plan whenever possible. Discuss all concerns and determine if the issues can be addressed.
  • If some users were unable to evaluate the tool properly in the time allotted, try to persuade your vendor to provide additional trial time.

Suggestion #2: Show the personal payback

You will need to demonstrate to people what is in it for them and how they will benefit personally from using the product.

For example A constant barrage of conflicting feature requests frustrates the developers in your organization. You will do them a great service by giving a straightforward set of development priorities. Then, since they will be informed of the project’s priorities, developers will know the problems that require fixing and the features upon which to work.

Do you hold long status meetings to stay on top of projects? Most developers hate these meetings. Try offering them this carrot: “If you use this project management software to track your progress, your presence won’t be required at the weekly status review meeting.”

Or, perhaps, you might say: “In order to prevent a repeat of last year’s fiasco in which Mary and Jim were fired for going over budget, we need to show our progress to the CIO. In this way, we can correct the trajectory before it’s too late. That’s what this system will do for us!”

Suggestion #3: Make it a habit for everyone

When you have resolved all the issues and fully implemented the system, indicate to everyone the type of metrics or data you want and make that input mandatory. You will need to check it regularly. If it is important enough to occupy your people’s time, it is important enough for your follow-up. Do not make exceptions for anybody. Do not accept excuses for failure to use the tool. Its use must become routine – a very useful habit.

  1. Do not force the new system on anyone
  2. Show the personal payback
  3. Make it a habit for everyone

After that, your team members will be enthusiastic and, probably, use the project management application in more ways than you can imagine.

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