Adjusting Your Sails
Our Thoughts: The ability to adapt to change within a project is vital to success. Regardless of how great your project plan is there will always be some factors that you cannot control. The good news is that you can always control your reaction to those factors. The sample mindset document we provided earlier addressed the need for a project manager to adapt a flexible point of view, but to truly be ready for change, you must also think about the structure of change.If change is just allowed to happen in a project without structure there will be chaos. Change rarely impacts just one area of a project, but instead has a ripple effect. Something that seems small and even insignificant can have a devastating impact to your project. When projects are moving along it's tempting to go with the flow and just adjust the sails to the change of the wind. The quote is a bit misleading, because what it doesn't disclose is the experience, knowledge, and education a sailor needs to have in order to adjust the sails. Adjusting the sails may become second nature to a sailor, but it doesn't start that way.
In project management, changes can be more difficult. You won't always have the depth of experience or knowledge that an expert sailor has to adjust the sails. This is why having structure around change is vital. How change needs to be handled should always, without exception, be defined in the guidelines of your project plan.
The guidelines should clearly spell out:
Examples of guidelines around change:
Question: How is change structured in your projects?