A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away … there lived a project manager who worked for the Empire. This project manager was in change of the project to build the Death Star but this project manager forgot the importance of change management.
Being a large, command and control organisation the Empire did PRINCE projects. They were big fans of controlled environments and the Empire appreciated the structure, formality and rigour of a PRINCE project approach. They would happily leave being agile to those cheeky rebels with their lack of respect for authority, scruffy clothes and long hair.
Like all big projects the Death Star project was running a bit behind on schedule and somewhat over budget. So along came some consultant chap called Darth Vader who was good mates with the CEO of the Empire (the Emperor) to sort things out.
Now being a consultant project manager with his consultant mind tricks Darth was able to work his magic on the project and get everything back on track. Well almost. You see the Death Star was completed on time and (we assume) on budget only in the rush to do this they ‘de-scoped’ some basic stuff. Darth also managed to upset a few of the project team so they no longer cared about health and safety matters, and to make matters worse he also upset the local residents with the somewhat careless blowing up of Alderaan.
What resulted is quite possibly the most predictable change management cock-up in the galaxy. Having felt the glory of a project completed Darth had totally overlooked the key change management features resulting in a perfect storm which very neatly came back to bite him.
- Change resistance from the wider population, not happy with the Empire’s scant economic resources being wasted on a big weapon when the Empire Health Service and Schools were short of funding were now even more unhappy over Alderaan-gate.
- A disgruntled whistle blower from the project team, working extra-long hours in a culture of fear, uses wooki-leaks to make the Death Star plans available to the Rebels. These plans help pinpoint a critical health and safety gap in the Death Star’s infrastructure.
- Change fatigue within the Death Star crew means that trained military pilots are too tired and/or demotivated to compete with the rag-tag Rebel forces whom they greatly outnumber. So when the tiny Rebel fleet attacks it holds its’ own against the mighty Empire fleet.
- A radicalised farm-worker (recently befriended/groomed by a hoodie wearing hermit and a criminal gambler-cum-occasional murderer) gets his first chance ever to fly a space ship and is quite bizarrely pretty good at it…The rest you probably know.
The moral of this little story is there is more to success than completion. If you want outcomes, not just outputs, then you need to look beyond project management. Try a little bit of change management: listen to your people, involve them in decisions, don’t annoy the locals and embrace the rebels (they are the ones who change the world).