Would you hire a project manager to plant a tree?

Many great ideas fall on deaf ears. So organisations bring in project managers to make sure we implement good ideas properly.

Good project managers define and clarify the idea, break the idea into features and then deploy the features into production. But quite often, people just don’t make use of the shiny new features they have been given.

Which is another way of saying that the great idea fell on deaf ears. So some organisations bring in change managers (and trainers and technical writers) to make sure people understand the new idea.

Good change managers make sure that the project is visible to stakeholders, supported by the important stakeholders and that the features being deployed are explained properly to the users. But quite often, the users go back to their old ways after a week, or they complain about the new features and the “stupid” projects that created them.

Which is another way of saying that the great idea fell on deaf ears.  So what goes wrong? Why do so many good ideas fail to get adopted?

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Using MoSCoW to prioritize ideas

I have been on a lot of projects in my time and I used to prioritise ideas or requirements as “high”, “medium” or “low” importance.

If people classified their requirement as low,however, we would record the requirement in a long list, thank them for their idea and then never talk about it again.  If they classified it as medium then we promised get to it in “phase 2”, which meant after we ran out of money.

People learned over time to classify all of their requirements as high priority so we started adding new classifications like critical or super ultra high, which didn’t help at all.

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