The Responsibility of Managing the Effect of Change in a Project Environment during Strategic Transformation

Author: McPherson, Duvene
Supervisor: Professor Erik Schmikl
Date: March 2006

When major strategic changes such as the merger of business units within large institutions are carried out, these are driven through project and programme management. This situation creates its own unique problems as the responsibility of change then gets shifted from line to project managers and vice versa. The negative effects which this could have on the organisation’s’ performance during and immediately after the change can cascade throughout all levels of the organisation, and place tremendous pressure on management and leadership to correct and manage.

To ensure that project- and programme management are executed effectively and efficiently within a large business unit of a financial institution, the Project Office needs to be instituted according to the principles mentioned in the research of this study.

This would eliminate most of the problems experienced during this transformation, as authority and responsibility – and consequently accountability principles – would be clearly communicated from the outset. The programme- or project manager heading up the Project Office would have the authority to ensure that all role players are equipped, informed and focused on their objectives.

It is not so much the technicalities of the project methodologies that ensure the success of strategic transformation, but the overall sound management principles stemming from the “Management through Projects and Programmes” applied during such a transformation.

The selection of people to manage the projects and take part in the management of the change process should be based on their inborn talents and not merely on their experience and education. These talents can be measured by utilising instruments such ad the MBTI®  Step 2 (Form Q), and the Kolbe A ™ index to serve as indicators for more effective recruitment and selection processes.

It is clear that the problems experienced in the environment within which the study was carried out lay chiefly in poorly executed project- and programme management guiding principles, leading to the lack of accountability in managing the effects of change.

The researcher has highlighted the impact of the effects of change on people within the organisation and the errors leadership often make in trying to manage processes and procedures and neglecting the human factor.

Key to the entire process was the lack of efficient project experience by management and the ignorance of Kotter’s eight guiding principles of managing change which have proven to be useful in such projects

Recommendations, which can be adopted by leadership to ensure that strategic change is managed and lead more effectively and efficiently, are also discussed.