Many organisations try to ‘save’ money in their multi-million dollar projects by focusing on the technology and overlooking the effect of the change in technology on the people. The effect of the project on the people in human terms and their adoption of the project often gets overlooked and is usually managed by the change manager.
We have 3 distinct groups of people here – the executive sponsor, the lead of the project team and the employees/customers affected. So let’s see if we’re saving money by not engaging those who are the direct recipients of the change: the customers/employees and the first line managers who are tasked to deploy the change. Is the project saving money by not addressing the stakeholders just mentioned?
The sponsor, usually the one with the purse strings, easily sees the value of the project team easily. They often don’t have too much history in the change management team. In a recent project I was working on in Silicon Valley, of the 50 stakeholders interviewed, less than 1% of the individuals interviewed had ever worked with a change manager and I think only 1 Director knew what change management professionals do and why.
It’s rather to understand why this is the case. The project sponsors are often looking at the ‘big picture’ of the organisation as they need to make directions on how to steer the ship. They are often looking at the operational issues, specific HR issues, technology issues as it affects the customers and employees. The sponsors need data to make executive decisions (say resources, funding) and they need to take actions to support the project (by their messaging, by garnering support of their leadership, by being visible in the project).
Then we have the project sponsor and the project team. Usually this team is focused on the more detailed view of the project, meeting the deliverables, ensuring that everyone is on track, that the project is meeting running on time and on budget. It’s important for the project team to meet the project objectives that were negotiated with the sponsor at the start of the project. The project managers are looking at the ROI (return on investment) for the company and if the consultants are involved, they are also looking to make sure that the project is delivering good value for them as an organisation as well.
Then we have the employees and customers who are going to be impacted with the rollout of the project implementation. Usually there isn’t a group that represents all of these groups at the table.
Here is a short list of what change managers do and you can judge the extent of their work mitigates the risks.
Change Leads do the following in order to achieve objectives: