Due to the rapid changes in the working world and the business environment, organizations have been forced to transform as a way of surviving in the ever-changing business environment. According to Gardiner (2005), most organizations Have adopted projects as their means of implementing change within the organization. The adoption of a project oriented a approach, with its associated management framework, is sufficient to ensure greater success in the implementation of change within an organization.
While use of best practices in project management may not guarantee success in the change of an organization, the presence of projects increases the opportunity for success. Studies have shown that, where a project manager is well equipped with the skills and knowledge of project management, projects work as the best tools for implementing change within the organization. The Concept on Project Management Project management refers to the discipline managing, planning and organizing resources to achieve successful completion of specific project objectives and goals.
A project is in nature a finite endeavor, that specifies the date as to when it should begin, and the time when it should end, this is done in order to create a unique service or product that brings about added value, or beneficial change in a company. The finite character of the project is different from operations or processes of an organization, some of which may be permanent or functional work, that are used to repeated operations, with the aim of producing similar goods or services.
Management of the two systems is always complex and difficult. There is therefore need to employ distinct technical skills and adopt separate philosophy of management, that would enable the implementation of the best project that can bring beneficial returns to the company. messages. Application of Project Management in Organizational Change According to Gray & Larson (2006), in the regime where implementation for change is the motto for most organizations, projects are the best vehicles for implementing change.
The aspect of project management has in fact become more significant than ever. In any company that needs to change its organizational structure so as to change with the improving technology, or in order to meet the needs and wants of the consumers, projects are used as the vehicles for implementing the required change, and managing the related change. It is however important to possess the ability to sustain and build project management in order to succeed in the implementation of change.
The importance of project management has been illustrated by the efforts of Swiss Re organization by using all its business operations to meet the requirements of e-business. Projects were used as the main vehicles for implementing this change. Great concern has however been expressed in the way most projects once began fail to deliver, or get stopped while they are underway. According to a research carried out by Levine (2005), most of the Information technology projects implemented were discouraging with 90% of the projects being late to deliver change in the organizations.
It has been shown that, 50% of the projects are never completed at the right time, while 30% of the projects began are stopped while still underway. Project management allows the implementation of change in an organization in a more organized manner likely to realize success. The major challenge of any form of project management is to attain the objectives and goals put in place, while at the same time adhering to project constraints which are usually in the form of time factor, budget and scope.
The more ambitious and secondary challenge is the optimization of integration and allocation of inputs that may be necessary to meet the goals and objectives. The success of a project management is associated with the nature the project itself. Projects involve most of the key players in an organization, both the managers and the workers at the lowest level. Projects also involve the entire organizational participation. For instance, it involves people, money, provisions, motivation, communication and space, in order to achieve the project objectives and goals.
With the contribution of all these elements, an organization is able to identify and make use of the best resources as a means of attaining the best results. Gray & Larson (2006), have emphasized that the managers can easily identify the talented workers and most potential factors in the organization, and allocate them where they can give a maximum contribution towards the achievement of the company. Management of a project is often the key responsibility and province of a specific individual project manager.
The manager however does not participate directly, but instead strives to maintain progress and motivate other factors involved in the process, so as to achieve the objectives. The aim of the project manager also involves striving to achieve productive mutual interaction of the active parties, in a way that the entire risk of failure is reduced. Studies have shown that, where a project manager is well equipped with the skills and knowledge of project management, projects work as the best tool for implementing change within the organization.
The project manager should be well equipped with the vision and mission of the organization, so as to direct the process of the project in the right direction, failure to which the project may fail to deliver, be late to achieve its goals, or get stopped while underway due to discouragements. The project manager represents the interests of clients and has to implement, as well as determine the specific needs and requirements of the clients, based on the understanding of the organization they are representing.
Gray & Larson (2006), have expressed that the capability to adopt the available internal systems of the contracting organization, and to establish close links among the nominated representatives, is an important step to ensure that the major issues of quality, time, and cost among others are attained with the main aim of client satisfaction. A successful and focused manager should be in a position to envision the whole project from the beginning to the end, and should have the skills and ability to ensure that the vision is realized in order to achieve successful change within an organization.
In order to attain successful change by use of a project, there is need for the project manager to consider the three key factors that include human resources, time and finance. If an organization is in need of achieving change in the shortest time possible, there is need to employ more people and resources towards the problem. Though this may increase the cost of the project, it may be the best way of achieving an organizational change in the shortest time possible.
Doing the task quicker in fact helps to reduce the cost of the project, the organization may end up spending the same amount it may have spent if it was to carry the same project in a prolonged period. Researchers have established that, there is no single way of implementing a project within an organization due to the fact that each each enterprise is unique, has different characteristics, and different financial capability. It is therefore important for the project managers to consider the features that are appropriate and important within any organization.
Consideration of the important factors guide the project managers to come up with appropriate and accurate projects that can easily realize the vision of a specific organization. Cultural Factors Considered in the Implementation of project Management According to Dye & Pennypacker (1999), some of the important cultural organizational factors considered while implementing a project include the history of the previous enterprise implementations, record of failures or success of the company is looked into, as this provides an insight into what should be done to achieve success in the project.
A consideration is also done on the types of operational work and projects to be managed, organizations that are able to clearly prioritize and identify their projects end up with rigorous features of a project from the initial stages to the end, unlike organizations that do not identify and prioritize their projects at the first stages of implementation. The number of departments involved within the organization are also considered.
This directs the planners to consider if the project is meant to satisfy a small number of users, or whether the project should expand in the process, if other departments will be incorporate as time goes by, or whether all the departments will be involved from the begging, thus requiring the project to satisfy a large number of users from the on-set stage. The expectation and support of the senior leadership is considered as a very important factor, because their involvement drive acceptance, and appropriate expectation.
This is important for the success and realization of the changes expected within the organization. The value to the end user and management is absolutely important to ensure that the change implemented through the use of the project satisfy the needs and expectations of all parties involved in the process. According to Levine (2005), organizations also consider the maturity of the desired project management discipline. The 2007 project server is often used as it contains important features for managing projects.
Where an organization is considering the application of project management for the first time, it is not easy to incorporate all the capabilities at the first instance. Studies have established that, staging the first features in project management implementation help to establish both the short term and long term changes effected in an organization. Any changes that are likely to take place are considered due to the fact that, if too much changes takes place, the chances of implementation reduce, with most of the people within the organization becoming resistant to the change.
Resistant to change is one of the human characteristics. Critique of Project Management Approach Researchers have however established that there still exist discomfort in the use of projects. While project management is preferred as the most efficient way of implementing change within an organization, use of too many projects may fail to deliver the desired results. Researchers have asserted that, most projects in organizations fail to deliver due to the use of poor project management practices, whose importance has been ignored by managers over a long period of time (Balogun, & Hailey, 2004).
Grundy, & Brown (2002), have argued that the approach of organizational management is not effective on its own in the field of information technology, because they assume that IT solutions are developed by a technical team. The potential solution for organizations dealing with IT has been stated to be misaligned with the important characteristics of an organization like incentives or culture. Combining the management of projects in IT and organizational change management as it has been argued, cannot produce the desired results for the organizational change.
Conclusion From the above analysis, studies have shown that, where a project manager is well equipped with the skills and knowledge of project management, projects work as the best tool for implementing change within the organization. Senior managers spend a lot of efforts and time promoting and formulating their strategy, but most of the time, they realize very little changes within the organization.
The strategy may not yield the results expected, somehow the original goals are dissipated in the process of moving the strategy to implement the change, and the initial momentum may be lost before the anticipated benefits are achieved. Failure to implement change occurs as a result of the senior management trying to make use of the the existing structures and systems within the organization, the status quo, to change the same status quo. The adoption of a project oriented a approach with its associated management framework, is sufficient to ensure greater success in the implementation of change within an organization.