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Failure Reasons in Change Management and How to Avoid Them_

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					?Failure reasons in change management are many and varied. But several things are
very clear:

Any organisational initiative that creates change - or has a significant change element
to it - has a 70% chance of not achieving what was originally envisaged.

There are 3 main reasons for failure:

 1. The gap between the strategic vision and a successful programme implementation
and the lack of a practical change management model and tools to bridge that gap.

  2. The "hidden and built in resistance to change" of organisational cultures, and the
lack of processes and change management methodologies to address this.

 3. Failure to take full account of the impact of the changes on those people who are
most affected by them i.e. the absence of good strategies for managing change.

It may occur at project level [at the execution "getting it all together" level] so that the
initiative doesn't get off the ground - or doesn't get completed.

This is where most people focus - on the "getting it done" bit.

But the bigger and more critical issue here is that even when the projects - the new
capabilities - are completed on time and in budget, a failure can still occur at
programme level - and from a statistical perspective it probably will!

A programme level [more accurately a "no programme" level!] failure occurs when
the envisaged benefits [the whole raison d'etre] of the initiative are not achieved.

The root cause of failure

The root cause of this failure is lack of clarity and lack of communication - and even
more fundamentally - the lack of a language and contextual framework to articulate
and manage the necessary processes of change.

This is what a Programme Management based approach to change is all about and
why it so important.

As with most specialist areas of knowledge, there is within this discipline a universal
or generic set of "truths" that transcend the boundaries of the formalised models and
tools of programme management, applies to all organisations experiencing step
change, and can be expressed in simpler language.

Just as an aside, I feel that whilst it is absolutely necessary for there to be experts and
centres of technical excellence - the very processes by which they function separates
them and the knowledge from the far wider audience who could benefit most from
that knowledge.

Time for some definitions:

Programme Management Is the holistic perspective - takes in the bigger picture. Is the
coordinated management of a Portfolio of Projects that change organisations to
achieve benefits that are of strategic importance. Is the understanding and
management of Benefits, Risks and Issues and the provision of an Organisation
Structure and Process Definition. Does not replace Project Management - it is a
supplementary frameworkDifferences Between Programmes and Projects A
Programme is all about delivering the overall business benefits in line with the
strategic vision and over a longer period of time than a project. Whereas a Project has
a definite start and finish point, with the aim of the delivery of an output that may be a
product, service or specific outcome. Programme management focuses on the
management of all key stakeholder relationships and the delivery of defined business
benefits and in addition to managing the project portfolio will also include the
management of any other activities that are necessary to ensure a complete delivery.
Whereas Project management has narrower terms of reference with clear, specific and
(relative to the overall Programme) limited scope of its deliverables.

And yet despite the fact that programme management as a discipline has been around
for over 10 years - the failures still keep mounting.

Men always dislike enterprises where the snags are evident..." [Machiavelli "The
Prince"]

The whole of my approach to change management and dealing with the "snags" such
as fear of change and resistance to change is based on this model of a programme
approach.

My preference for this is that it forces senior management (and their advisors) to take
a holistic and structured look at the wider factors that need to be addressed - and that
are often "mission critical".

 80% of companies [or rather 80% of directors] - haven't got a clue about programme
management

In my experience the size of a company is no indicator as to whether or not it employs
a programme management approach. I have sat across the table in meetings with
directors of UK based £1bn+ turnover corporates - household names in some cases -
who didn't have a clue about programme management.
I would go further and say that the vast majority of companies know little to nothing
about programme management.

A useful indicator is the number of online searches on Google Adwords for project
management and programme (or program) management

For the month of March 2009 there were 450,000 searches for project management
and 39,200 searches for programme (or program) management.

One reason why programme management has not yet permeated the business
"mainstream" is because - in my opinion - it appears to be complex and to address
dimensions that don't resonate or connect with mid range corporates and larger SMEs.

This is partly because corporates are more complex - but also because the talented and
experienced professionals who compile these things think that way!

However, it is my belief and experience that the broad principles of programme
management can be set out in a simple model and using simple language that can be
applied in any organisation of any size.

For more on this - see here: "Failure reasons in change management - and how to
avoid them "

				
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