6 Key Strategic Moves Every Project Team Needs to Drive Organizational Change “I’m supposed to design and deliver the IT solution, not get people to use it.” Sound familiar? Unfortunately, IT gravitates toward the process and technology sides of a solution, neglecting the third major aspect – people! “A successful project doesn’t equal a successful change.”
This is my mantra. It reminds me that a project delivered on time and on budget is just two-thirds the equation. If organizational behaviors don’t shift to absorb the IT solution, what’s the point of the project? In other words, if I’ve neglected the people side of the project, I’ve delivered a partial solution. Let’s face it. An often overlooked aspect of an IT project is solution adoption. No one seems to want this daunting responsibility, yet we all tout ROI and project success.
We tend to resist the people aspects of projects.
Awareness? Socialization? Institutionalization? Ugh. Sounds too political. However, this is where IT is needed. Not enough power in the political structure, you say? That’s no
excuse. Instead of forcing change, affect the resistance. Here are six key strategic moves every project team needs to drive organizational change. Your project success depends on it.
1) Solidify top management support, both from IT and business segments. They must be bought into the short and long term vision and must support short term pain for long term gain. Leadership and management must raise the cost of status quo and make value visible. Why change? Why
2) Meet one-on-one with each key stakeholder from the business to socialize the change. What are their concerns? How could this initiative help them – “what’s in it for me” (WIIFM)? The idea is to get them all talking individually about any potential resistance and to build genuine trust. This step may take some time, but it is vital.
3) Create a committee consisting of key stakeholders. They need to be closely involved with the change and have a voice through the process. Engagement helps ensure short and long-term buy in (not just initial, superficial support). Key stakeholders need to be allies or moderate supporters, at the very least.
4) Make the change incremental to demonstrate wins. Which areas are most supportive and change-ready? Start with a focused scope and iron out any issues with the process, technology, learning curve, etc. Success stories help other areas of the business get on board, recognizing benefits over pains of the process. Have a story to tell and have others to tell the story for you. Evolution is easier than revolution.
5) Leverage awareness campaigns to socialize the change. Let people know what’s on the way, how it affects them, when it’s coming their way, benefits they can expect, and what you ask of them. Stay ahead of rumors by providing enough information early and often.
6) Identify and use change agents to act as your “feet on the street” and the eyes and ears of the project. Change agents are close to the people affected by the change. They leverage formal and informal communication channels (hallway, break room, over the cube) to dispel myths, address concerns, propagate a unified change message, and communicate back any issues or concerns.
Projects are about impact. IT must stretch beyond the design and delivery role to inspire the organization: align, engage, mobilize, anchor, and sustain the change.
= Cheers =