Starting a project right – establishing guidelines for changes

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Change is inevitable in any project.

Changes can be due to unexpected external events such as a new government ruling that invalids your business case, or torrential rain that caused water to leak from the roof into the ceiling, and down into the room that houses computer servers – the ones you are in the midst of testing.

Changes can also be caused by internal factors such as movements that required a replacement of a key resource on the project, or simply when a key stakeholder changed their mind on a specific requirement. In a typical project, stakeholders contribute to majority of the changes. Keeping this in mind, the project manager should take necessary steps to prepare the stakeholders to address changes as they arise.

The best time to introduce change management is during the creation of the project charter. Although not required until later phases of a project, it is prudent for the project manager to outline the approach and steps for managing the various types of changes during various phases of the project.

Having change management guidelines established in the project charter gives the project manager the opportunity to educate and align expectations with sponsors before the start of the project. Getting agreement with the sponsors early in the project gives the project manager the “authority” to publish this to all stakeholders and enforce it when necessary.

Waiting until changes happen before working on the change management approach can be difficult, prone to disagreement, and open to criticism. Setting up “ground rules” early in the project will help the project manager remain impartial, and provides justification on why a project cannot be completed as planned (on target).

5 in-demand IT Jobs in Retail

Retail IT Jobs

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, IT jobs are expected to grow more than 20% by 2020. One of the key drivers is the future innovations required by the retail industry to remain competitive. With competitors like Amazon and Alibaba, retailers are now forced to innovate and adapt to a new style of buying behaviors. Implementations of solutions like "Buying Online and Picking Up In Stores" (BOPIS), accurate Final Mile Delivery, enablement of Augmented/Virtual Reality, and the ability to personalize shopping experiences are becoming prominent. As the industry matures to deliver the next generation of shopping experiences, retailers are now seeking out the skills below more than ever.

  • Retail Project Managers: Project Managers who have experience managing complex retail projects like Point of Sale (POS) implementations, eCommerce upgrade, implementation of Supply Chain Management Solutions, and other business systems.
  • Data & Business Intelligence Professionals: Responsible for analyzing and visualizing customer data, supply chain data, operations/manufacturing data to improve operational efficiencies and enable personalized shopping experiences. Typical roles in this category include Data Scientists, Business Intelligence Analysts, ETL Developers, Data Architects and others.
  • Developers/Programmers: As consumer buying behavior continues to grow toward BOPIS, online/mobile shopping, and personalized experiences, demand for retail mobile developers and retail experience managers are at an all-time high. Programmers with eCommerce, web, mobile, and AR/VR technologies are highly sought after.
  • Supply Chain Roles: In the world of speed, choice, price, and convenience - supply chain is a major disruptor for retailers. In the next few years, companies that thrive versus those that fail will be determined by the ones who adopt modern supply chain versus ones who don't. Some of the roles in supply chain include Supply Chain Business/System Analyst, Demand Planner, Supply Chain Managers and others.
  • Technology Leadership Roles: With emerging technologies in play, retailers will need to expand their IT departments to support existing and new ecosystems. A new breed of technology leaders will be needed to provide strategic guidance, manage inter-departmental collaboration and the expanded IT workforce. Some of these roles can range from C level executives to functional managers.

In conclusion, the demand for IT professionals in the retail industry is at an all-time high. However, with the low unemployment rate (4.1%), hiring managers are struggling to quickly fill these critical roles. More and more they are relying on staffing firms with industry specialization to find them the right people. Whether you are looking for talents or looking for job, read our next article to identify how the find a reliable staffing partner.