Monday, January 20, 2014

Your Master Plan Meets My Needs! Let me tell you how.

Master planning our change initiatives is not always our favorite part of a new project but today I am going to show you why it is crucial to success when people are involved. You can forget this blog if your project does not affect people... which is approximately nearly never.
So the master plan or project plan is simple a list of task that need to be done to complete the project and reach the goals identified at the times required. To the left I have shown a performance change curve that I plan to use to show you how important it is to have this master plan and keep it up to date with progress and completion information. If you want to learn more about the curve click here. The basics are as follows:
  1. Area I on the graphic is the area where people are excited about the "new" change and they typically produce a positive change in performance due to the Hawthorne Effect. Think of it as "What is important to my boss is important to me" so they get energized and do more. Those affected by this new change will need to know what the change is and how it is going to affect them. In this area the plan provides many of the answers around what this project is, what I need to do, and how it will affect me.  
  2. Area II is the region that is the least fun. It is a valley of frustration and can be characterized as overwhelming. At this point you are trying to create and do the new way while still working with and in the old system. Everyday below the curve represents lost return on investment opportunity but this phase is a necessary part of the change process. At this point the affected people need the project broken down into small bite sized steps that are less overwhelming. A good project plan provides these small task and the sequence to keep them moving forward. 
  3. Area III is where you return to the original level of performance but have not seen the real return on investment because of the time below the initial performance line.In this area the affected individual needs to be able to see concrete examples of their progress since the project is doubtfully generating large economic returns. Here we go back to our master plan and look at and celebrate all the small task that have been completed. The plan should have many completed items at this point and those become the results needed to drive the individual forward. 
  4. Area IV is the area where you meet your performance goals and the return on investment really begins to build. At this point the master plan becomes a trophy of sorts. It shows what we have accomplished and can be used to show others how to follow in your path. This meets the needs of a person in this phase of change.
  5. Area V is all about sustaining your progress and there the completed master plan highlights the areas that were big changes for the organization and need constant reinforcement through leadership and measurements. It also can be used by a person in this phase of the change to build an audit of sorts to sustain the change.
Five areas and Five ways to use the master plan to make your next project more successful. Good luck!

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