If your business runs slowly no matter how many changes and projects you throw at it, perhaps your employees are suffering from project fatigue. David Blumhorst, the Vice President of Solutions and Services at Daptiv, recently sat down with Cornelius Fichtner on the PM Podcast to chat about how to spot project fatigue and ways to prevent it.
Understanding what project fatigue is and where it stems from is the first step to prevention. At a basic level, project fatigue occurs when a company implements too many projects at once. However, it typically refers to projects that directly impact an employee’s usual workflow. A background interface project to speed up internet connection isn’t likely to meet resistance, but changing the way someone goes about their daily job will almost always illicit some level of opposition unless handled correctly. Companies suffering from project fatigue generally experience one or more of the following:
- Employees are unmotivated and choose to complete tasks with dated techniques.
- Business processes are slow and do not show improvement after project implementation.
- Even with new projects the business is not meeting its target goals.
The best way to combat project fatigue is to avoid it all together. Blumhorst recommends the following tips for implementing projects to evade the negative effects of project fatigue:
- Determine the amount of change your business can handle at once – Some companies and departments are able to handle multiple changes at once while others need to have projects broken down and implemented one at a time.
- Understand how your organization will approach change– Startups and smaller companies are better at picking up new processes without resistance, while larger more established companies with dated workflow techniques will need to coach and prepare employees more extensively before project implementation.
- Align projects with specific business targets that are backed by employees – Employees are more likely to accept and learn new processes if they understand how the changes further a business goal. Knowing why their workflow is being altered and how their adoption of the new system will ultimately meet a previously discussed business objective will create a project friendly environment.
- Communicate, communicate, communicate – Employees are emotional beings, therefore it’s important to give them the opportunity to voice concerns before and after project implementation to increase acceptance. Knowing how a project will change day-to-day activities before they are actually changed and then providing a forum to ask questions afterward creates a more comfortable and seamless transition.
- Use a PPM Tool for better planning – Having the ability to see how projects line up with each other is crucial to determining where issues will occur. If there are too many workflow altering projects back to back, spread them out and give employees time to adjust before throwing them another curveball. Just because the technology is ready doesn’t mean the people dealing with the changes will be.
- Understand that project implementation is only the beginning –The day a project goes live is only the beginning of ensuring smooth project implementation. Although project teams could have worked behind the scenes for months before a project goes live, this is the first time many of the end-users may have interacted with it.
Blumhorst reiterates Project Portfolio Management (PPM) leaders must also realize strategically planning for projects before, during, and after implementation increases the chance that their employees will accept and flourish in new work environments.
For more information on avoiding project fatigue, listen to the entire PM Podcast online. We would also like to hear about your projects. Have you or your business experienced project fatigue, and if so how did you reverse the negative effects? Feel free to post your thoughts in the comments section below, or reach out to us on Twitter at @Daptiv with the hashtag #TooManyProjects