Force Field Analysis

Project managers live in a dynamic environment of constant and rapid change. To operate effectively under these circumstances, the project manager must be able to diagnose the situation, design alternatives that will remedy it, provide the necessary leadership so that these changes can be implemented, and develop an atmosphere that helps the employees to adapt readily to these changes.

One of the early pioneers in developing theories for managing change was Kurt Lewin.2 Lewin believed that at any point during the life cycle of a project there will exist driving forces that will push the project toward success and restraining forces that may induce failure. In a steady-state environment, the driving and restraining forces are in balance. However, if the driving forces increase or the restraining forces decrease, whether they act independently or together, change is likely to take place. The formal analysis of these forces is commonly referred to as force field analysis. This type of analysis can be used to3:

• Monitor the project team and measure potential deficiencies

• Audit the project on an ongoing basis

• Involve project personnel, which can be conducive to team building

• Measure the sensitivity of proposed changes

Current studies in force field analysis have been conducted by Dugan et al.,4 whose research involved 125 project managers in approximately seventy different technology-oriented companies. The research study and questionnaire were personally explained to the participating project managers to minimize potential communications problems.

The researchers obtained information in several areas, including:

• Personal drive, motivation, and leadership

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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