Dealing With The Cultural Issues

Considerations about moving to an IT project development incentive program should include careful thought about the cultural issues involved in making the transition. Going to this new approach means change. Whenever change is introduced within an organization, it brings out issues that will have to be recognized and resolved. Many of the issues associated with a new compensation approach to the development of IT applications projects have been identified in this portfolio. That is not to imply that additional issues will not arise; every culture is different and each presents its set of unique concerns.

The salient concern, relative to the cultural changes involved, is to develop an awareness that they will create some level of discord and that as they arise, they need to be addressed. Those concerns that are raised should be given a fair hearing and carefully considered. Much of what is going to be done here will probably be new to the organization, and as such it should be recognized that it will require time and some adjustments to come to a sound approach.

One of the cultural issues certain to arise is that of the fairness of providing people working on IT development projects an opportunity to earn additional income. This is going to have to be explained within the context of why they are being given additional consideration for what might be considered "normal" work. One way to address this issue is to explain the benefits that are going to accrue to the organization if the plan is put in place and it succeeds. Another way to help this situation is to develop a process that will, if the plan proves workable and is adopted, allow others an opportunity to join projects in the future.

As has been indicated, an underlying issue with the plan is that the project team, in order to obtain the additional income, is going to have to put forth extra effort to meet its goals. As people come to understand that getting the additional payments requires extra effort — in some cases, considerable extra effort — some of them are going to lose interest in becoming involved.

There will be some element of inherent unfairness in moving to a compensation incentive program. However, if doing so makes good business sense, the plan should be put in place. The difficulties associated with some level of employee discontent at the onset are going to be more than overcome by the eventual success of the process.

An important key to dealing with the cultural issues is for management to be as candid and as fair about the process as possible. When disagreements arise, if the managers are willing to take people through the logic of the plan and answer any and all questions as fully as possible, they will have discharged their responsibility. At that point, the onus for accepting or rejecting the process resides with the employee.

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Project Management Made Easy

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