Are your change projects really working?

The current economic climate means that there is pressure for changes to be delivered quickly. That system needs to be put in 2 months earlier. The training course needs bringing forward, get me that report 2 weeks quicker please….;key changes need to happen and a lot quicker…

But, how likely is it you will succeed in delivering your changes? Two contrasting articles suggest if you are involved in a change project you may well struggle. Leslie Allan suggests that change programmes fail for several reasons. These include:

 absence of a change champion or senior management support
 poor executive sponsorship or senior management support
 political infighting and turf wars

He goes onto suggest that “there is a need to recognise that bringing about meaningful change is fundamentally about changing people’s behaviour in certain desired ways. If people in the end do not behave and work differently, then the money and time spent in doing staff is wasted”

The article suggests a range of skills and ways of working are needed to ensure successful delivery of your change project. This includes stakeholder management, clear objectives, selecting the right people, training as well as having political savvy.

If you combine Leslie Allan’s article with research by Logica you may want to think carefully about your approach. They have produced an excellent White Paper called Securing the Value of Business Process Change. Logica point out that:

• Companies surveyed in the UK lose £1.7 billion a year from failed change initiatives
• One third of business process changes fall short of expected benefits
• One fifth of businesses do not measure change management performance

The report highlights successful do’s; here they are:

• dare to be ambitious; winners are more ambitious in their business process change than losers

• winners have more pro-active reasons to be change e.g. they do not wait for their customers to complain, they act positively

• make it a project; the number one observation was that business change has to be formalised into projects and carried out in a professional manner (see my article Are you cutting back on project management training?)

• know the critical skills for change – the white paper lists several skills business process management, project management, analysis etc as key to delivering the changes required

• ensure IT supports business process change. Winners recognise far more the importance of IT as an enabler for business change and, importantly, they also invest more in IT.

• involve external expertise on business process management. Winners do more business change with help from externals.

• define and measure success. It is essential to have systems and measurements in place to monitor progress and performance.

• begin with the end in mind. Business process change is not a goal in itself; it is a means to an end. The only reason we carry out business process change is to improve process performance and therewith corporate performance.

The key message is that many, many change initiatives fail to deliver the expected outputs. The two reports mentioned in this article indicate the waste of time, money and recourses in failed delivery. Let the lessons in these articles help redress some of the balance.

You can read Leslie Allan’s article here and download the Logica White Paper here

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One Response to Are your change projects really working?

  1. Stan Albright says:

    for the lighter side of bpm:

    Stan the BPM Consultant

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