What makes for a great change project?
What makes for a great change project? Given all the great books that have been written, the solid frameworks that have been developed- we should know what makes for a successful change project. We should know the component pieces and be able to successfully replicate them time after time after time. We’ve talked before about ADKAR, and about some great resources like Switch; these and others are really good methodologies and frameworks that provide great structure to changes, large and small.
Change projects that fail
And yet, we know, that there are still a staggering number of change projects that fail.
Consider these statistics:
AMR Research shows that “approximately 50% of Customer Relationship Management implementation initiatives had difficulty with end user adoption due to a failure to anticipate the impact of strategic changes on day to day operations. Unless CRM projects are planned and implemented so that end users derive benefits; corporate benefits will rarely materialize..”
Or this one from Gartner Research:
“….. more than 80% of failed technology implementations will be caused by people, processes and politics rather than poor technology implementation..”
So what makes for a successful change project?
Talking to a friend last night, about successful change projects I have been involved in – I spent some time talking about this project: The Attendance Project at Royal Mail; an ambitious project aimed at addressing the 350 million pounds that absenteeism was costing Royal Mail each year.
Despite strong resistance from many different stakeholders (including the press), and against the odds, the project was a success.
Yes we followed a change methodology. And yes, we knew the theory of what makes for a successful change project. Yes, we kept on keeping going, as we know that change is almost always about pushing through and being consistent.
But sometimes, successful change is more than the sum of those parts. Sometimes, it is a bit of the right people being in the right jobs at the right time in the right environment.
And a little bit of luck with those aspects can create a little bit of magic.
You won’t ever find that in the text books, but think about the times when you have been involved with a project that really worked. Think about what made it special. I can guarantee it wasn’t just about the process, or the tools or the systems (although they would, of course, have helped). It would have been about the people. The right people. At the right time. Doing the right things. In the right roles. With the right support and leadership.
It’s worth thinking about when you introduce your next change. Who are you relying on to lead it? Who is going to do the nuts and bolts implementation? Who is going to be the influencers throughout the organisation? Who will be the resistors (good and bad)? Are they the right people? And do they have the right support?