Category: Best Practice

It’s the People, Stupid

In their book Change Management: The People Side of Change, Jeff Hiatt and Timothy J. Creasy reported the top five obstacles to implementing change were employee and staff resistance, middle-management resistance, poor executive sponsorship, limited resources, and corporate politics.

Four out of these five obstacles are about people, while only one refers to resources. Yet if people were not a problem, limited resources should not be a major “show-stopper” either, for any change project, and it should not be difficult at all to pool time, talent, and knowledge.

Given that people are usually the most common change obstacles, there are some approaches to manage the human factor of change management – based on the authors’ suggestions.

 On ExecutiveBrief: How to Deal with the People Factor of Change Management
Photo: Time for Change

What You Need to Know About Project Estimations

Whether you are a project manager planning for a smooth implementation of a plan or a project sponsor on whose decisions a project depends, you cannot escape from the fact that project estimation is essential to its success. In the first place, there are three basic requirements that a project must satisfy: schedule, budget, and quality. The need to work within these essential project boundaries poses a huge challenge to everyone in the central management team.

There are various aspects that affect project estimates, such as team skills and experience levels, available technology, use of full-time or part-time resources, quality management, risks, iteration, development environment, requirements, and most of all, the level of commitment of all project members.

Moreover, project estimations do not need to be too complicated. There are tools, methodologies, and best practices that can help project management teams, from sponsors to project managers, agree on estimates and push development efforts forward. Some of these include the following.

Don’t Let Them Touch Your Soul…or Your Earbuds

“When I talked to Phyllis, I mentioned that a good pair of noise-canceling headphones had proven essential to my son for shutting-out his loud college roommate last year. In addition, it reminded me of 1995 study (here is the reference and abstract) by Greg Oldham and his colleagues, an experiment conducted in an organization, where they gave a random sample of employees the opportunity to listen to headphones while they worked (people who held diverse jobs in retail organization) and then tracked their reactions for four weeks, and compared them to people in a control condition who weren’t offered the chance to use headphones. They found employees who used headphones “exhibited significant improvements in performance, turnover intentions, organization satisfaction, mood states, and other responses.” They also found that people in the most boring and simple jobs had the most positive reactions to wearing the headphones… so there is some decent, if not definitive, evidence to support the use of headphones.”

Bob Sutton, author of The No Asshole Rule, makes a good case for using headphones at work: people who use headphones to tune out workplace noise are actually more productive. Also read I Find You Annoying, but I Can Cope.

Image by Chris Reed for NY Times.

Want to be a leader in the tech field? Then read these books

Yes, would you like to buy a book? by Oolong

Do you want to be a leader in the tech industry? Then better read these books, according to Bob Rouse, head of Society for Information Management’s Regional Leadership Forum. Top of the book pile is Mortimer Adler’s How to Read a Book, while the more interesting entries, not because of the subjects discussed, but because the list is for future tech industry leaders, include Steinbeck’s The Pearl (read in college), Machiavelli’s The Prince (required in Social Science II – Political Theories or some such thing), and Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning.