Change Management is all about using structure and intent to get people engaged and onboard with the changes we need to make. It’s aim is to get individuals to do things differently and it takes a lot of effort and resource. There is a growing body of evidence that shows that projects that lack Change Management risk getting entrenched in the realm of RE – re-work, re-training, re-design etc. So how can we prove that Change Management really helps us to achieve our goals?
We need to ensure that we establish metrics we can actually measure. This may seem self evident but I have seen many Change initiatives fail to get the resources they need to be successful because these metrics have been defined in too woolly a way. E.g. “People feel better about working here”. Usually it’s proposed that this type of metric is evaluated through surveys. But why bother? Many people would feel great about working here if they were guaranteed good money jobs for life without stress. That is simply not an adequate goal for a change initiative.
If we’re delivering an infrastructure project setting goals might be more straightforward. Gathering hard data on productivity, efficiency, cost of new processes etc should be an integral part of your project’s benefits realisation process. As an integral part of the project, Change Management should share the credit/risk for the achievement of these targets.
However, if you want to separate out the effect specifically delivered by Change Management you need to set some separate goals. Research by the internationally recognised Change Management Learning Centre (PROSCI) suggests that the three areas that really correlate with successful delivery are:
- speed of adoption – how quickly individuals adopt the future state behaviours.
- ultimate utilisation – how many individuals make the change to future state behaviours.
- proficiency – how well individuals adopt future state behaviours.
The first two are obviously measurable but the third may require a bit of digging to root out the implicit assumptions of the leadership and project team. Given that the goal of most projects is to enable something to be done more efficiently the chances are that efficiency measures can meet this requirement too.
Ultimately, it is important that we measure the benefits of using a structured and intentional Change Management process because it is only through doing this that we will get the resources we need to do the job properly and avoid the entering the costly and tedious world of RE.