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Organizational Change Management, not just a trend.

Since the late 1990s, many organizations have embarked on major changes in their business practices, including their technology. These investments create unprecedented impacts on an organization’s culture, its structure, its processes and surely on its ways of doing business. At the same time, organizations are finding themselves in an increasingly competitive economic environment and dealing with legal boundaries that are more complex and stricter. With these realities, organizations face multiple priorities, the proliferation of priority projects, the depolarization of budgets and projects, which create important challenges that they are often not ready to take on.

The practice of managing organizational change remains little present as a strategic practice within organizations

Despite this growing phenomenon of major changes in North America, the practice of managing organizational change remains little present as a strategic practice within organizations. It is a discipline that, on the other hand, tends to grow rapidly in importance internationally, and is seen as one of the essential pathways to the success of organizational change.

To this effect, more and more research is being conducted at the international level to identify the key success factors for change. Through surveys conducted annually with thousands of organizations since 1998, PROSCI has identified seven (7) major contributors to successful change deployments:

  • Visible and active sponsor involvement
  • A structured organizational change management approach,
  • Dedicated resources and funded organizational change management
  • Frequent and open communication about change and the need for change
  • Employee engagement
  • Integration of organizational change management with project management
  • Commitment and support from top level managers.

What are statistics telling us

Research in the field of change management tends to confirm that project management alone can not guarantee the success of projects. This practice requires the accompaniment of a practice in organizational change management. Recent research tends to confirm this trend since:

  • 31% of projects are canceled before they are completed.
  • 53% of projects are completed with costs exceeding expectations.
  • Only 12% are considered a success.
  • Up to 80% of projects experience partial or complete failure.

Project management is a practice that focuses first and foremost on three major delivery objectives: on time, on budget and according to available resources. Yet, research tends to indicate that it is not necessary in these elements that the objectives are not achieved. They identified three main causes of project failures, which are not related to these three broad objectives:

  • Absence of leadership and sponsorship
  • Absence of strategic decision-making
  • Weak project management

In this respect, it has been shown that changes are seen more in terms of technology than of the human aspect. In the face of these major failures, project risk management has become an unavoidable project deliverable since it had to ensure that everything was put in place to avoid such situations. Nevertheless, research has identified that the majority of failure factors are human in nature. From this, the following factors were identified:

  • Unexpected problems
  • Lack of time
  • Poor planning
  • Costs greater than originally estimated
  • Absence or lack of organizational change management

In conclusion, statistics have shown that the complexity of projects increases with the changing context of organizations and that projects require the management of the human nature of a project.

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