The key to effective implementation is sound planning. If this is not done before implementation starts, then the Project Manager may well find that instead of them managing the project, the momentum is underway and the project starts to manage them.
Even with effective planning, things will change and the situation will evolve. One of the difficulties of implementing change is that the project manager has to juggle a number of balls in particular the four balls depicted below:
Ball 1 - Maintaining the Support of "Others"
Keeping the sponsor and other key stakeholders informed of relevant progress and ensuring their continuing support.
Early in the project experienced Project Managers create a framework to ensure them access to key people. Using their stages plan as a basis, they book formal project review meetings with the sponsors well in advance – at least as "end-of-stage" reviews - and any formal updates and review sessions with other key stakeholders. It also provides the meetings with a focus and agenda.
Ball 2 - Progressing the Project
Keeping the project on track. In particular:
- Monitoring Progress - keeping in touch with progress on the individual activities and tasks – particularly those which could delay the project. Updating the planning to reflect any changes or delays.
- Get in touch regularly with the team and contributors to see whether things are going to plan and using that information to identify problem areas.
- Managing Risk - looking ahead for "Roadblocks", implementation issues which could affect the project and steps to resolve them.
- Perhaps may use formal approaches such as attitude surveys and awareness seminars to help them assess people's reactions and identify potential difficulties. Also often try to develop an informal "intelligence network" during a project.
Ball 3 - Keeping the "Team" Connected, Committed, and Energised.
Communicating to all contributing to the project, keeping them up to date with the relevant facts and maintaining their commitment to the project.
Have regular team meetings. Experienced Project Managers hold regular team progress meetings as a means of checking how individuals are progressing and also updating everyone on progress and possible problems. On large projects, this will be supplemented with a formal communications system.
Ball 4 - Managing Self.
The pressures and stresses of change can cloud one's judgement - in particular making rushed and hasty decisions - and also one's interpersonal relationships.
Be conscious of this and take steps to avoid it, perhaps by having someone act as a sounding board.