The power of organisational change management and the way in which it intersects with project outcomes is a typically underestimated component of driving sustainable investment. Too often, business cases are pushed through, and funds are secured, without factoring in effective investment of the crucial role that end-users and stakeholders play in advocating and sustaining successful change outcomes.
Our recent executive survey found that 56% of transformational PMOs have defined organisational change management processes and methodology, with roughly 80% of those deeming their practices as mature. That equates to a significant gap in terms of businesses not cultivating change-orientated opportunities to their full capacity and investment potential. Yet, those who truly mandate the importance of strategic change management, and who do so effectively, know all too well of its significant value.
From an implementation perspective, we have identified some off the critical success factors for a robust and sustainable change management roll-out:
Things to Consider For Change Implementation Readiness:
1. The sponsor and steering committee need to be fully aligned to enable an appropriate understanding around supporting an impending implementation; this involves positioning themselves as the champions and owners of the implementation
2. Per stakeholder group, it is also important to:
- Understand timing and approach. Is the project ‘big bang’ or staged? Is it a pilot? Why is it important that it be done this way?
- Understand the support model for the transition, contact points, escalation pathways
- Understand how issues and errors will be managed
- Clarity of team and individual roles, especially at implementation
- Understand what implementation success looks like – and therefore what will be communicated and reported
An example where these principles proved successful, was with a major project we were engaged in with a major financial institution. In this instance, we took an explicit approach to those items listed above, advocating a considered and holistic approach to the implementation of a $50m initiative. This approach supported a successful staged implementation across 400 branches, multiple brands, and multiple channels. The well-understood and supported nature of the solution resulted in a smoothly transitioned operational environment with very few issues – this is an extremely rare achievement for a large program of work, and one that can be largely accredited to a carefully documented and strategic implementation plan.
3. Transition to business as usual (BAU) readiness considerations:
- The sponsor and steering committee should maintain focus on bedding in the implementation all the way to the transition phase, including listening to stakeholder feedback, and cultivating overall readiness for the transition of the project to its operational owner and environment
- At transition, project outcomes around people and processes should be linked back to KPIs and budgets to ensure that the planned benefits of the project are realised
- Ensure a documentation on any remaining items including defects, issues, activities etc. is handed over with an action plan to support it
- Plan for subjective (surveys) and objective (quality control) change management measures – so that there are no surprises for the operational owner
At PM-Partners, we have worked with another major client whereby upon engagement it was evident that clear business ownership and business process documentation to support operational teams were near completely absent. The effort required to salvage this situation ‘after the fact’ took an additional six months on top of the original 18-month program duration; it also resulted in the need for extra vendor support than what was originally planned.
A transition is not just about closing the project. Again, people and process considerations are key. A project or program team better prepares for transition by ensuring people understand and are fully aligned and equipped to embrace future processes.
Our 20 years’ experience navigating the unique complexities that accompany change and transformation has shown us that no two environments are the same, and therefore the nuances and implications that shape and inhibit change outcomes should be approached with careful consideration.
For more information on successfully managing change and transformation, contact us today on +65 6818 5771.