The second chapter of our PM book had a significant section change management. I thought this was interesting because I don’t really think of project managers as being change agents. In both theatre and with the projects I manage (theatre scenery, museum exhibits, TV, and tradeshows) change happens frequently. Projects pop up, go away, get reinvented, change scope, etc. all of the time. Technology changes. What we can do changes as we continue to develop skills. So, it makes sense for PM’s to consider change management as part of a skill set that is necessary to develop.
While our PM book (Harold Kerzner's Project Management: A Systems Approach to Planning, Scheduling, and Controlling. 2009.) discusses the basics of change management (recognizing that change is hard because of fear of the unknown, loss and how to move change forward with enthusiasm, building comfort, finding positive opportunities and incentivizing change), my favorite book that talks about change is Hiefetz and Linsky’s Leadership on the Line. They talk a lot about change, but also about leadership dilemmas, of which I have occasionally found myself in.
The other topic in Chapter 2 (other than the history of project management which is interesting, but not relevant) that we don’t talk about in theatre management is risk management. I think that theatrically this doesn’t get thought about because in most cases the risks are low. There are automation and rigging risks, we have all certainly heard about industry accidents, but more often than not I think the most common risk in theatre is an ambitious design / construction plan that is unattainable. But these smaller risks should be considered. What happens if we can make a lift work the way the show wants it to work? What are the other options? As TD’s we solve problems, and risk is inherent in that process. Sometimes I think it is worth thinking about a little more actively instead of just proceeding full stream ahead.