Don’t let bad change happen to good projects.
You are starting a project or program that will depend heavily on users and stakeholders to:
Adopt new tools and procedures.
Comply with new policies.
Learn new skills and behaviors.
Understand and support new processes.
Organizational change management has been a weakness for IT, which puts your current project(s) at significant risk of failure. IT project planning tends to fixate on technology and underestimates behavioral and cultural factors that inhibit change.
You need to institute organizational change management best practices to ensure projects aren’t merely completed, but that benefits are realized.
Completed projects aren’t necessarily successful projects. IT projects are justified because they will make money, save money, or make people happier, etc. Without managing organizational change, IT might get the project done, but fail to achieve the intended benefits.
“Change” is changing. Agility and continuous improvement are good, but can degenerate into volatility if change isn’t managed properly.
Organizational change must be planned in advance and managed through all project phases. Organizational change management must be embedded as a key aspect throughout the project, not merely a set of tactics added to execution.
Impact and Result
As project/program manager I worry about the “soft” factors of organizational change that increase the chances of project failure:
Users might refuse or fail to adopt new systems and policies.
Costs might rise due to post-implementation help desk volume, retraining, ongoing design, or functionality change requests (or worse, full roll-back).
Eventually, inability to effectively manage change will erode IT’s ability to work with the business.
Managing organizational change more effectively will help me build credibility to manage both business and IT projects.