Change Management has been on a real journey in the last 20 years. It was always an add on, something thought about at the last minute when the project deliverables were done and dusted. But it is starting to become a business discipline in its own right – for the people in the know, it’s a strategic function that should be deployed at the outset, at the project design phase.
50% of change projects fail
Of course, that’s not always the case. Recent research has shown only 34% of change projects can be considered a success, with project failure standing at a whopping 50%. This hasn’t changed much since the 1990s, when researched showed 70% of projects failed. And evidence shows that many of these projects fail, or at least, don’t meet objectives, due to poorly executed or lack of change management.
The project failure rate – and the financial, operational and reputational downside that comes with that – means that organisations need to pay more than lip service to Change Management. Looking at the big trends that are coming down the line is a good place to start:
- Project design with Change Management in mind: Change Management is starting to be involved from the outset, at the project design phase. If you design well, you can minimise the impact on the people receiving the change and you can be smarter about creating a transferable skill set that can be used on other systems and prepare users for future change.
- Sponsorship coaching and power of having an advocate: you can’t put a price on garnering senior support for your project. It makes sense – having someone to communicate the vision, foster a spirit of collaboration and to rally the troops is essential.
- Stakeholder ownership: resistance to change is a big sticking point in the success of project adoption. Putting work in to identify and define all stakeholders and their specific issues and problems will help you develop your Change Management approach and tailor it accordingly.
- Gamification: gamified training tools are great for a large transformation project when thousands of employees need to be trained on a new application. But gamification can be used for small projects too! The budget doesn’t need to be huge – board games and role playing are really effective gamified approaches to training employees and helping them retain information.
There is still a way to go in terms of the perception of Change Management – old school thinking tends to pigeon hole it as a soft and fluffy discipline – but attitudes are changing. And organisations are more cognizant that it can spell the difference between project success or failure.
At P2 helping our clients to respond to and solve these challenges is what makes us tick. If your business is encountering similar challenges and you’d like to speak to us about how we can help, please get in touch.