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Execution - Keep Your Eyes on the Prize Wed 08 Nov 06

I earlier reported that in "Conquering Organization Change" Mourier and Smith reported that “About 70 to 75 percent of major organizational change efforts fail to meet the expectations of key stakeholders”.  At the same time many IT groups take pride in overcoming user resistance, budget and resource constraints etc. to successfully implement a new application or package.

Why this apparent dichotomy? I believe it is because we may be using different "measuring sticks" to define success.  The key stakeholders simply want the benefits outlined in the project approval request.  They are interested in seeing increased revenue or lower costs or reduced inventory or higher productivity etc.  In IT we can easily get so focused on the technical details of the project that the  implementation becomes the objective rather than the means to the objective.

Some clues that you may be defining success as implementation of the software rather than the achievement of the project objectives the key stakeholders are looking for:

  • The project plan basically ends with software "go-live"
  • The only involvement shown on the project plan for non-IT people is for requirements definitions and user testing and training
  • The project plan doesn't include a communications / marketing strategy
  • The project plan doesn't include the develop of metrics for key stakeholder objectives and the plan and reports don't include reporting on these metrics
  • The project plan doesn't include any required actions by those outside of IT for process and organizational changes

We have to keep our eyes on the prize.  The prize is to achieve the business objectives.  The software is just a means to accomplishing this.  Very often we'll find the "go-live" date is just the mid-point of the project, not the end point.

Your thoughts?

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