“Developers are increasingly driving technology adoption within their development organizations, making choices that can shape technology skills, platforms, and strategies far down the road. … Empowering developers this way is proving to be good for developers and for the enterprise as a whole. IT leaders, however, should stay in touch with what decision their development teams are making.” — Information Week Nov 1,2010
This conclusion by Jonathan Erickson of Dr. Dobb’s (Forrester-Dr. Dobb’s Developer Technographics Survey) matches well with my own experience and research. I’ve touched on this notion of change management and productivity improvement projects over a few articles, so let me summarize some of the key thoughts here:
- Recognize that significant innovations are often driven by initiatives that start at the lowest level of the organization (at least in IT and software intensive industries).
- Find and nurture these budding efforts and not “squash” them with well meaning but heavy handed management of change and innovation.
- Encourage and support “unplanned” innovation as a method of meeting project goals.
- Manage innovation adoption smartly and avoid the typical reasons improvement projects don’t go well.
The project manager is often in the position to influence the project and how it impacts the organization. While we work under a set of requirements and objectives, how we go about finding solutions and bringing about the needed changes can make the difference between a hugely successful project and one that just barely achieves its promises.