February 11, 2020
Objectives are unmet and milestones missed. The speed of adoption slows and projects start going over budget. Your utilization lowers and reworks are required. Employees become fatigued; your project fails to deliver. Morale decline and projects are abandoned. Your customers are impacted and employees leave. A legacy of failed change is left.
As organizations embark on projects to improve their businesses, many organizations forget that the introduction of any new or enhanced business capability presents a significant change to the organization. Employees may need to learn how to use a new tool, or perhaps their job role may change completely. So, before organizations undertake a new project, they should stop and consider the questions, how will this change my organization, and what do I need to do to ensure this change is successful?
This is where effective change management comes into play. Otherwise, companies will end up in potentially dire scenarios like those described above.
As described by Prosci, a leader in effective change management practices, change management is “the process, tools and techniques to manage the people side of change to achieve the required business results.” Prosci defines the following three elements as being crucial for any project’s success:
What is important to remember about change management is that in most cases, to improve your business results, the people side of the change must be successful as well. If the people are unable to carry out the change or do not support the change, the business results you hoped to achieve will not be realized. According to Prosci’s research (2018: Benchmarking Data), participants surveyed indicated that when their organizations deployed change management techniques, they were:
ADKAR is a methodology for managing individual change. Standing for Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability, and Reinforcement, organizations can use ADKAR to understand how to guide organizational change management plans, diagnose root causes of resistance, and develop corrective actions.
ADKAR is a series of building blocks, meaning that an individual must first obtain Awareness of the change, then Desire, then Knowledge, and so forth. If an individual does not adequately obtain one of the building blocks, this is their “barrier point” for successful change.
By evaluating where an individual’s “barrier point” is in ADKAR, an organization can help to develop corrective actions. For example, if an individual’s barrier point is Knowledge, perhaps they need additional training to better understand the change and what will be required of them.
Once a change has been effectively implemented (through the first four letters of the ADKAR methodology), it is important to remember to then reinforce the change (the R). This reinforcement ensures that the change continues to be adapted and sustained throughout the organization, and includes activities such as:
Throughout the change management process, it is important to consider how the effects of the change will be measured, including how successful the human side of the change was. A few example metrics that can be used to measure the human factors of change include:
Each of these factors will also impact the financial result of the change. Without change management, the likelihood of individuals progressing in each of these areas goes down.
These examples show how much the people side of change can matter when it comes to project outcomes. If change is not properly managed, people may decrease their productivity, there may be employee turnover, or customers can be negatively impacted. All of this directly affects the financial performance of a business, which is why creating an environment where effective change management is possible can be crucial for ensuring successful projects.
Melodi Reich is a Senior Consultant at Aspirant with a wide range of functional and technical skills. She is an experienced professional with the ability to work with others across various levels and disciplines, including executive, product, development, and QA teams. Melodi is an expert communicator and has proven success in customer relationship management. She is experienced in Agile software development methodologies and project management.
February 11, 2020
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