The IT Imperative – It is often said that the only constant is change, and projects involving the business use of IT feel this most keenly. Not only is there the incessant undercurrent of shifts and advances in the technology itself, but there are also internal and external pressures causing business and process change across the organisation. Companies alter their focus, build partnerships, merge and spin off new structures in the face of changing economic circumstances, new legislation and competitive threats.
Sometimes planned, occasionally anticipated but rarely easy, change can catch the most adaptable individual off guard. The reaction to imposed, unexpected or substantial change follows a predictable path, which without impetus can be slow, problematic and often destructive.
While it should be possible to drive changes through from within the organisation, it is generally difficult due to the subjective proximity to the circumstances. Also, resources will already be tight, expectations will be high and there will already be other day-to-day commitments.
External help can be vital, but crucially needs to be seen to advance, augment and support, not undermine, internal capabilities.
The key imperative for any organisation faced by change, whether derived from internal plans and strategy, or imposed by external events, is to ensure that the process moves rapidly through from resistance to positive action. This requires effective leadership and capable project management.
Project leadership is not the same as organizational leadership or the process for managing individuals through their working career. Although there are many overlapping skills, effective project leadership is often most extensively best employed in the earliest phases of projects, with an involvement that can diminish once traditional operational management take over. For this reason, most organisations would struggle to fully utilise this type of skillset on a permanent basis and thus find external support both welcome and cost effective.