Oh Crap, Change Management: The Executive’s Key to Success
Success in a changing climate
In today’s economic climate, change is constant. Executives who want to ensure the success of their organization need to be skilled with managing change. This means understanding the importance of change management, being involved in all phases of a project they are sponsoring, and communicating effectively with other stakeholders.
Change management is the process of helping people adapt to new ways of working. It includes identifying and addressing the challenges of change, as well as providing support to those who are affected by it. When change management is done effectively, it keeps projects on track and allows stakeholders to meet their objectives.
Lack of Support → Project Risk
The statistics about software & technology project failures are startling:
- The statistics about software & technology project failures are startling:
- 57% of projects fail because of communication breakdown¹
- 37% of projects fail because of a lack of clear goals²
- 44% of projects fail because of lack of alignment of project & business objectives³
- 41% of projects fail because of lack of sponsor support³
- 70% of projects fail because of inaccurate requirements, inaccurate estimates, shifting project objectives, and uninvolved project sponsors³
On the other hand, when executive stakeholders are involved from the beginning of a project, and the project includes change management, the project is:
- 7x more likely to meet objectives
- 5x more likely to stay on schedule
- 1.5x more likely to stay on budget
And can significantly increase your company’s overall performance.⁴
Executives’ Roles in Effective Change Management
At Uptima, we work with stakeholders in technology transformations ranging from a smaller business to an enterprise company. Regardless of the company size, any organizational change involved with a technological tool being implemented needs a company’s leadership to actively own and participate for a successful outcome.
- The CFO
While not a traditionally technical role, the CFO is tasked with controlling the expenses on any software implementation. Too often they, along with other key stakeholders, are not active participants in the planning, budgeting, or requirements project phases, and suffer from a lack of visibility. Instead of limiting Finance’s role to project budget, their skill sets should be prioritized to offer a strategic view for all stakeholders and sponsors. Additionally, Finance is adept at putting contingency plans in place as needed when a project starts to go off the rails.
- The CEO
Ensuring the project goals align with the company’s overarching goals is a key priority the CEO will confirm. The CEO can also provide much needed support to the project team. Leading by example and embracing the change with a positive perspective, sets the tone from the top down. This significantly reduces risk, company resistance to change, and means the project will be more likely to complete successfully, on time and within budget.
Leadership Buy-in is Essential to Prevent Project Failure
Here are some ideas to help your executive team embrace and support your projects:
- Ensure that any implementation projects include a component and budget for change management
- Ensure that you are included in all phases of the project from the budget to the implementation through completion
- Ensure that the purpose and expectations of the project are clearly communicated
- Ensure that your stakeholders are properly informed and trained throughout the project. Don’t wait until the end to decide how you will effectively manage the change.
- Ensure you are working with a consulting group that is skilled with change management
Today, the executive team has to take notice, become involved, and be active participants beyond the normal financial impacts of a project. A worthwhile project transforms existing processes, including innovation that doesn’t yet exist in your organization. Don’t wait for the end of a project to say, “Oh crap, now we have to teach everyone how to use this.”
If you are undergoing any significant changes in your organization and are looking for support in preparing for and navigating those changes, we would love to help. Change management is not a part to be overlooked, and by working with our Business Transformation team at Uptima, you can rest assured that you will be set up for success.
To learn more about Uptima’s Change Management resources, please visit our website, www.uptima.com
Written by Rita Hartman, Principal Consultant on the Business Transformation Team at Uptima