Industrial Psychology for Project Management
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Professor Tirado is a native New Yorker. He was one of five people who, when he began his career in this field, married to manage projects and industrial psychology.
Today’s Clubhouse room was a discussion about industrial psychology and its implications for project professionals.
What is industrial psychology?
Social organisational psychology (IO) or industrial organisational psychology is the study of human behavior in the workplace. This is the foundation of Bernardo’s ability to make large-scale changes.
Project management affects how people use technology. A person’s perception of PM is always affected. What are the changes you want to see in the behavior of the people affected by the project?
Most people who do change work focus on the behavior side, and then move into the human resources function. Bernado didn’t go that route. He examines, among other things, automation to streamline processes. He also looks at the adoption we are trying to implement in a project and what is the desired change. He takes a wider and more holistic view of human behavior at work.
He gave an example of switching from MS Word to Google Docs. It’s not a major change for the user, and it’s not difficult. The change management and training are not difficult. This is similar to switching from MS Word to a completely different system that no one has used before. The next step is to think about how to encourage users, manage comms properly, and figure out what will make them want to use it.
IO can help you understand how to communicate those messages and who can help create the right environment for change.
What does this have to do with change management?
Change management is a subset that of the work of looking at the interactions between humans and the workplace.
IO is more broad – how can you create a learning pathway for an organisation, e.g. In order to make a project transition from waterfall to agile, it is necessary to define new roles and responsibilities as well as new behavior patterns. Project outputs are not created in the same way anymore. How can you help stakeholders to understand the difference?
IO is your umbrella. It’s where you have a huge toolkit that you can use to select strategies and techniques that will work regardless of what kind of change you are trying to achieve.
What is your top tip for sharing this information with stakeholders?
Bernardo shared these tips:
Consider how you are introduced to a project at the start. As a project leader for an initiative, you may have never worked with a group or in a matrix structure.
It is important for them to believe in you and see you as a leader.
You can ask the project sponsor for a introduction to you to the team. Let them introduce you actively: “We have hired Bernardo, an expert on… to lead this …” etc.
This will create an environment where people who might not have believed in the project or wanted to be there are going to buy into it. Seniors will be singing your praises and will give you the opportunity to lead in a way they might not have considered before.
The rest is up to you.
Second, it is important to meet every member of the team after you have been introduced. Although it is labor intensive, it is essential. We are in the human business, which is the business of relationships. You should ask yourself what motivates and what you want out of this project.
The profile can be used to motivate and meet a specific need. What are you currently doing? Do you have competing priorities? Find out what they are working on.
We go into execution mode