Confessions of a change director

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Posted by APM on 16th Dec 2013

Duncan Frazer, Change Director at Aviva delivered a very entertaining talk to the Norwich group on 10th December. Based on his 10 confessions Duncan took us through his take on a framework for successful change.

A keen film buff, each confession was illustrated by a film still and quote for the audience to identify, guaranteeing plenty of audience participation!

1)Lets Go to Work. Duncan confessed that he had moved his career from programming to Project Management in order to avoid IT call outs in the middle of the night!

2)Im gonna make him an offer he cant refuse aka how to manage your sponsor where the confession concerned smoozing your sponsor, an activity Duncan strongly recommended for all the right reasons of course!

3)You were only supposed to blow the bloody doors off. Lessons in planning and a confession that he always found out the sponsors drop dead date for any delivery and then told everyone else a date 2 weeks earlier a handy tip!

4)These men would never break, never lie down, never bend over for anyone. Anyone. Putting the right resources in place and helping people play nicely together, free from personal agendas. Stories here included a confession on how he was once believed by suspicious staff to be on a recce to sell a companys Koi Carp to raise money during a merger!

5)If you build it, they will come. Is the end to end target business model agreed and understood? Duncan confessed that one project he worked on snowballed into a massive expenditure that outweighed the benefits because the business model didnt stack up but wasnt re-evaluated and no one was brave enough to stop it! On this occasion, it was built, but no-one came!

6) Not even God himself could sink this ship. Does the solution design address the business, IT and services outcome? The ability to build repeatable models in the way that Google can gives consistency and re-usability but Duncan confessed to working on a project where they failed dismally to get even 2 identical servers built hampered by the techy guys keenness to tweak and improve. Consequently Duncan is convinced that all PMs are now at the mercy of the technical teams.

7)To infinity and beyond Are the requirements for people, process and technology understood? In the same way as Buzz wont let go of his catch phrase, sometimes projects wont move away from what they know, even if its not efficient. Duncan confessed that, following his experiences of one particular project, he now shudders at anything with the word Transformation in it!

8)I love the small of Napalm in the morning in the morning Are all the critical risks and issues identified and appropriate actions in place? This confession proved what some of us had long suspected Duncan simply loves the excitement and thrill of the battle! His advice dont go into big projects or programmes if you dont like the smell of Napalm. (how exactly does Duncan know what Napalm smells like?!)

9)Show me the money Does your business case make financial sense? Dont be afraid to challenge and scrutinise any business case that comes your way as Duncan confessed that sometimes the numbers are made up to justify a decision that had already been made (who would believe such a thing?!).

10)Follow the Yellow Brick Road. Understand your stakeholders. They all have different needs and Duncan confessed that some lack courage, some lack heart, some may even need to be challenged in their thinking whilst some simply want to go home to Kansas.

A thoroughly enjoyable and thought provoking evening and the perfect lead into Christmas.

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