Facilitating Project Performance Improvement: A Practical Guide to Multi-Level Learning

By Jerry Julian | Go to book overview

1

THE NEED FOR
MULTI-LEVEL
LEARNING

Projects are the vehicle for transforming the modern global corporation. They are the means by which businesses achieve leaner cost structures, more effective operations, and better IT. They are the means by which companies develop new products and execute new business strategies. When projects succeed, they deliver revenue growth, improved productivity, lower costs, more efficient operations, and higher market valuations. When they fail, they drain critical investment dollars, waste valuable resources, and—directly or indirectly—limit a firm's ability to compete.

While projects are vital to organizational growth, renewal, and success, project work is fraught with uncertainty, risk, and ever-changing internal and external conditions. Every project and each phase of every project presents new problems and challenges that require managers and teams to plan, act, and adjust. Organizational priorities may change as new managers rotate into and out of roles. External economic conditions may change, making some projects more urgent and eliminating the need for others altogether. Requirements for new products or software applications may change in midstream as customers and stakeholders learn more about what they really need. Mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, joint ventures, and new strategic initiatives create discontinuities and place new demands on the organization and its top talent, drawing away resources at critical times (Dai, 2002).

In addition to navigating a changing social and political landscape, people at all levels must increasingly learn to work with new people, new technologies, and new business processes across different time zones, cul-

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