Friday, January 21, 2011

Our iceberg is melting by John Kotter and Holger Rathgeber

Link to Amazon.Com

This book is about Change Management, not Project Management. But both are related, in fact my very first post on Ah-Ha-Moments was about Change Management.
This book is listed here for 3 reasons:
  1. It's a book about something that impacts Project Management
  2. It explains in a very simple way (using penguins) a process to deal with Change Management
  3. It's fun!

Did you ever learn about John Kotter's Eight Step Process for Change Management? This book explains Kotter's process using a fable. It tells the story of a penguin colony that is faced with a challenge that requires a profound change in the entire colony. The characters in this story are penguins and they map the attitudes usually found in people when facing such challenges. You will recognize immediately some of them, like the penguin No-No  - even his name maps his attitude.

This book is relevant for project management because it's about change management - and all projects make some kind of change. I have talked about it before on this post. And it's in the form of a fable which makes it a good book even to kids - no kidding.

The process described consists in 8 steps:
this picture is a link to Amazon.Co.Uk
  1. Create Urgency
  2. Form a Powerful Coalition
  3. Create a Vision for Change
  4. Communicate the Vision
  5. Remove Obstacles
  6. Create Short-term Wins
  7. Build on the Change
  8. Anchor the Changes in Corporate Culture

The book starts with a penguin named Fred discovering that the iceberg where his colony lives has a crack and is melting. A cracked iceberg could disappear in an instant, which would be devastating to the colony. From this point on, the colony goes through the process described above and the book describes it with some detail. It doesn’t take great effort to map these hypothetical situations to what you might face in real life scenarios. Including how they deal with No-No: they get a team of penguins whose job is to keep No-No too busy to interfere with their plans. I never had to put this in practice, but it sounds effective.
But I don’t intend to tell you the story here, spoiling all the fun.
What I do want to tell you is that this book should be read by any Project Manager.

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