When we read statistics about change management successful rates usually the data is apocalyptic: only 30% of these initiatives achieve their goal.
There are two different sides we have to consider when dealing with change management:
on one hand we have project managers that deal with the technical side of a project. Eg: designing the new software that has to be implemented in an organisation in order to improve productivity and performance. On the other side there are the change management practitioners that focus on getting people (the employees of an organisation) to adopt the new software and to use it proficiently.
From experience it is not unusual for project managers to be dismissive of the people side of change. It is quite surprising as the link between the technical side and the people side is the key to a successful change management initiative. Why? Let’s make an example.
Let’s pretend that your organisation requires to process invoices quicker in order to cash in payments in a shorter span of time and have the cash flow to fund innovation.
If we adopt a new poorly designed software to process the invoices and it is adopted by the employees that fully embrace it and are proficient at using it, we will unlikely achieve the ROI. The issue here is on the technical side: the new software that we have adopted is not fit for purpose, no matter how well trained and proficient the employees are when using it.
However, if the have a top notch software that on paper does it all, but the employees are not using it or are using it in a non proficient way to the best of its possibilities we will not achieve the ROI either. In this case the people side of change is not being optimised.
This simple example shows how the technical and people side of change are intimately interconnected and how project managers and change practitioners have to work together in a constructive manner to achieve a common goal: implementing successful change management initiatives.