Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Isaac Newton's contribution to Project Management

Newton's laws, especially his first law of motion, should be as important to a Project Manager as it is to a Physicist. Read on for the explanation why?
Sir Isaac Newton

Organisation Change isn't easy

Project Management is typically all about introducing a change to an organisation. If the end deliverable of the project necessitates a change to human behaviours / business process or if the Project Manager needs to introduce a change to working practices within the Project team, then Newton's first law of motion should be considered.

Remember Humans are typically set in their ways

Humans are typically set in their ways and so will probably need some sort of force or other coercion to adopt the required behaviour or process. I have therefore adapted Newton's 1st law of motion as follows - People tend to continue travelling in the same direction.....unless acted on by an external force. This can be illustrated by this "flock of sheep" cartoon below:
Newton's First Law of Motion - Project Manager version
So give consideration to what the "force" is going to be within your project to achieve the desired behavioural change. A carrot and stick approach is often adopted. 
  1. Consider what Training is required.
  2. Consider giving incentives for examples of good behaviour - this can be as simple as praise or can involve financial rewards
  3. Consider what sticks will be applied if the wrong behaviour is seen, from "Naming and Shaming" through to a negative effect on an individual's performance within the business HR process
So thanks to Newton, we have a good prompt for how best to introduce change within an organisation.

2 comments:

Don't forget the 3rd law: for every force there is an equal and opposing force. This explains why "Big bang" projects tend to simply blow up in our faces. Small incremental changes, "nudges," if you will, mean the resistance is similarly minimal.

It additionally implies that you can assign which colleagues, group pioneers, or division supervisors have consent to get to specific parts of the venture. For instance, in the event that you can pick a right hand venture chief to have admittance to all segments of the task, and afterward separate consents by division, so one office doesn't cover another and get confounded by what the other group is doing.online project management web app

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