According to McKinsey, 70% of projects fail to deliver what was intended. It’s a figure we’re all too familiar with, but how do you define success?
Is your version of a successful project one that comes in on time, to budget, and has delivered the quality of operational improvement set out in the original business case and project plan? These are common measurements businesses make soon after implementation.
Despite this, a successful change management project will involve long term, sustainable business change—something which cannot be measured only immediately after implementation.
Success is often declared by a project management team too early.
When the system is implemented they claim project success. Then later down the line, the changes that were implemented have not stuck.
Many organizations consider change as merely technology or process implementation, for example those involving ERP systems or payroll—which are typically run as technology projects but not necessarily seen as business change.
However, it is the business which needs to define what constitutes a successful outcome, not IT. A project needs to consider a combination of people, process, and technology.
Maybe we should define project success by how lasting the changes have proven to be and how people have adopted the new technology or process. It is the adoption on the part of the end user that can indicate whether change will stick and meet business needs long after ‘go-live.’
For this type of success, you need to involve end users throughout the program. Sometimes, nobody actually thinks about the people who will be affected by business change and how they will go on to experience it and work within the new changes.
Prepare for business change by observing culture and working practices, provide thorough training, and engage with employees through communications. Then measure user data after the project ends.
This will all help make change stick long after implementation and contribute to a successful change program.
About the Author
Julia Shipperley is a digital marketing specialist for Afiniti, a business change consultancy. You can find her on Twitter, @juliashipperley.