Ensuring Projects Deliver Business Value

I recently spoke on this topic at the Australian Institute of Project Managers Conference in Queensland in a presentation that highlighted the importance of OCM to projects’ success and the need for Program and Project Managers to understand and apply OCM best practices in their projects.

As individuals we need to adapt to change constantly throughout our lives, from a new barista at our favourite coffee shop, a new tunnel, or a new government, indeed the ability to adapt to change highly regarded trait, demonstrating emotional intelligence. And in today’s fast paced, rapidly changing world so too must organisations develop the capability to successfully change if they are to survive and grow profitably. BUT,

It’s clear from the many studies on this topic that organisations are still struggling to successfully change, in 2008 IBM conducted a study involving 2500 CEOs from organisations worldwide. IBM reported that almost 60% of change management projects fail to achieve their business objectives.

The impact of failed projects is immense, from lost revenue, increased costs, lowered morale and reputational damage. Organisations that fail to change will ultimately fail in the market.

The same IBM study found that organisations that have adopted best practices in Organisational Change Management were up to 10x more successful in implementing change. The top organisations (change masters) had an 80% success rate while the bottom organisations (change novices) 8% success rate. why?

Organisation change is hard because organisations don’t change, people change, and without a compelling reason to change individuals are more likely to resist change than embrace it. Organisation Change Management (OCM), is fundamentally about people. it involves learning new behaviours, influencing people to change their mindset, and encouraging people to give up entrenched ways of working

All successful Project Managers have good people skills and the various PM methods do emphasise the need to manage people change, but they lack real guidance on the methods used to influence and motivate people to change. So, while we’ve become very good at managing the ‘hard’ side of change, using mature PM methodologies and highly skilled project managers, many technically successful projects still do not succeed in delivering the planned business value

We need to become better at managing the people side of change to ensure successful projects deliver of their promised business benefits.

In today’s complex, rapidly changing world simply managing successful programs and projects is no longer enough. The PM profession is at the heart of organisation change and needs to ensure every project is linked to business objectives and delivers the promised benefits. It’s clear that technical PM methods on their own aren’t sufficient to guarantee success and there is a significant body of research that illustrates the vital role of OCM in ensuring business value is realised.

Together OCM and PM are the keys to delivering real, sustainable business value for organisations.

This article is part of a series exploring the essential capabilities all CIOs and IT Organisations need to drive transformation and deliver enduring business value.Joan Dobbie is the Founder and Principal Consultant at Beyond Strategy Consulting. Her company offers a wide range of IT Strategy and Transformation services to IT Organisations of all sizes.