Home » Change Management » Four Ways The Project Manager Helps Innovations To Succeed

Project Management Innovation Success“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:

  1. 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).
  2. Find and nurture these budding efforts and not “squash” them with well meaning but heavy handed management of change and innovation.
  3. Encourage and support “unplanned” innovation as a method of meeting project goals.
  4. 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.

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5 thoughts on “Four Ways The Project Manager Helps Innovations To Succeed

  1. nauman says:

    find out the relationship between project management and functional(line)management with the help of diagram?

  2. Mike Murphy says:

    Seems the hardest part is overcoming the reward system that got management to their current position.

    In a chaotic company, the hard working over achieving firefighter is rewarded for putting out the most fires. Eventually, the firefighter is promoted to manage other firefighters. Then, if that team puts out lots of fires, the manager is rewarded some more and promoted to being manager of managers. Etc, etc, etc.

    What person, rewarded and promoted for firefighting, will recognize they need to stop their firefighting ways?

    What person, after years of living thru firefighting, will understand there is any other way?

    That ‘blindness’ is the problem behind lack of change.

    ciao,
    mm.

  3. Brett,

    Yes, I find a wealth of companies don’t do this (which helps keep me busy). The good news is that some companies actually try and do these things and when they do them, they see fast and measurable improvements in innovations, productivity, and quality.

    – Bruce

  4. Ah, if only companies would adopt your four attributes. Unfortunately, in my 25 years of experience, I really haven’t seen one yet. I assume they are a rare breed indeed.

    In relation to a comment I made on one of your previous blogs, I think companies that soar above the competition likely do this, but most companies and colleagues just make do, which is fine with them.

    Actually, the above four attributes provide interesting interview questions for the prospective employer. However, I would ask for specific examples, because ALL companies will SAY they do this, but… 🙂

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