A Different Sort of Project?
Some times the effort involved in launching a product, particularly a major product or whole program, is such that you will find it desirable to make it into a project in its own right. True, the characteristics of this project will be different from what we are traditionally used to, i.e. the delivery of an enabler product. What we are used to is a project that produces a product that meets a real need. One that results in a solution that is carefully constructed as a response to clear objectives that have been determined, owned and established by the organization. If we chose, such a product could be developed, built or acquired from outside of the organization, i.e. outsourced, and certainly outside of the environment in which the product will be embedded.
Instead, the "project" that we are now speaking of is a project that is designed to achieve the transfer of the care, custody and control of a product to the users. The goal is to implant the new product in such a way that the planned benefits will actually be realized. We may describe this as a business change project.
A business change project is different because it takes place in the business operating environment, often involves new ways of working or a new business state, and often involves a serious change in business culture and attitudes. Changes in business culture and attitudes can be one of the most difficult challenges for the project manager. Nevertheless, the basic project management approaches are similar.
Distinguishing between enabler projects and business change projects helps you to:
- Highlight the importance of both, including the need to cost, budget and plan both
- Recognize that each will be funded and managed differently
- Ensure that business change is neither neglected nor squeezed, especially when budgets are tight or later reduced
Of course it is not unusual to find that a particular business change requires a series of enabler projects, In which case, that series of enabler projects should be managed as a program.