Tag Archives: People Change

Projects fail because the required People Change is not managed

The Standish Group was formed in 1985 and is based in Boston [MA].  The Standish Group is the recognised leader in analysing project and value performance.  Information on real-life IT [IS] failures is collated in order to assess a specific project against a database of cases and specific criteria (CHAOS 10 Success Factors).  The CHAOS Report monitors the % of projects that are:

  • Successful (completed On Time and On Budget with required Features and Functions),
  • Challenged (Late with Budget Overruns) and
  • Failed (Cancelled before Completion or Delivered and Never Used)

It is important to note that the Standish Group Methodology has been questioned of late.  There are concerns regarding the underlying data and measurement methods used as the basis of the study on IT project failures. The CHAOS data and methods of measurement are not available for verification. Without having the opportunity to examine the statistical aggregate data, we should acknowledge that the CHAOS report findings shown in the table below are their own independent benchmark:

These findings show that the percentage of Failed Projects is at the same level as 10 years ago.

In this period there has been significant investment in updating Programme and Project Management methods [Processes] and tools [Technology].

So why are projects still failing?

Projects fail because people aren’t bought in to the objectives and outcomes.

We communicate too many critical details verbally—Studies have shown that oral communication (speaking) is not only the most-often used form of communication, but it is also the least memorable. People remember only 10% of what they hear on average versus 20% of what they read and 80% of what they see.

How Much Do People Remember?

We only tell them “what they need to know” which often isn’t enough – Project Managers tell their team members only “what we think they need to know” but all too often we don’t know what they need to know.

We don’t properly explain the business objectives behind the projects – Team buy-in is important; if your team doesn’t understand how their work advances the business’ objectives then the chances that they might do something counter-productive increase.

So the main focus for this weeks posts are that you need to attend to People Matters if you want your project to be Successful.

Read on for insight and interventions that will help you to deliver Transformational Change.


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The Four Factors that determine the outcome of any People Change project

The Hard Side of Change Management by Sirkin, Keenan and Jackson.  HBR

Companies must pay as much attention to the hard side of change management as they do to the soft aspects. By rigorously focusing on four critical elements, they can stack the odds in favor of success.

D. The duration of time until the change program is completed if it has a short lifespan; if not short, the amount of time between reviews of milestones.
I. The project team’s performance integrity; that is, its ability to complete the initiative on time. That depends on members’ skills and traits relative to the project’s requirements.
C. The commitment to change that top management (C1) and employees affected by the change (C2) display.
E. The effort over and above the usual work that the change initiative demands of employees.

Duration – Do formal project reviews occur regularly? If the project will take more than two months to complete, what is the average time between reviews?

Integrity of Performance – Is the team leader capable? How strong are team members’ skills and motivations? Do they have sufficient time to spend on the change initiative?

Senior Executive and Local Commitment – Do senior executives regularly communicate the reason for the change and the importance of its success? Is the message convincing? Is the message consistent, both across the top management team and over time? Has top management devoted enough resources to the change program?

Effort – What is the percentage of increased effort that employees must make to implement the change effort? Does the incremental effort come on top of a heavy
workload? Have people strongly resisted the increased demands on them?

Putting Employees First – Vineet Nayar, CEO of HCL Technologies, Ltd.

Explains how by taking unconvential steps, for example by inverting the management pyramid and reverse accountability, leads to superior organizational performance.

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