The Importance of Project Definition

    Jan 11, 2017 | Posted by Michael Campbell

    project definition.pngIt is said that a great building begins with its foundations and the same can be said for successful projects. In our experience of teaching more than 900 would-be Prosci change management practitioners in 2016, being clear on not only the outputs but also the outcomes of a project, and sharing this clear purpose with influential stakeholders early on in the lifecycle is a discipline that appears to be often missing from many organisations.

    Regularly projects seem to be started simply because a powerful senior executive has what they believe is a good idea for the business, provides some budget and a team and says “Just Do It”. This blog explores whether having a good idea is enough or if there is benefit in a more structured approach to project definition.

    In our training programs, at conferences or on webinars, CMC Prosci Advanced Instructors often ask two critical questions. Firstly “What percentage of the financial and non-financial benefits for your change project require people who are directly impacted to change the way they work? Answers vary but cluster around 70%.

    As a follow on we then ask “What percentage of the assigned budget for this project has been dedicated to supporting these directly impacted people in changing the way they work? After several wry smiles from the audience again answers vary but cluster around 0% to 15%.

    This is a great paradox isn’t it? These answers tell us that while we recognise that successful changes require impacted people to change their often long-standing habits of daily working - aka their mind sets - we are actually not prepared to pay much to support them in doing so, even though we would also recognise that changing a habit is a very challenging thing for us all to do. I’m sure the New Year dieters, detoxers and ex-smokers amongst us would agree! Change is chemical.

    So as we begin 2017, our advice to organisations facing this paradox and also in the midst of a blizzard of change projects is to pause, and as a minimum carry out some targeted but important change definition work on the top 5 of your most critical 2017 projects.

    CMC has templated a modular approach to change definition that can often be accomplished for a specific change in a 2-day workshop. Having a well-defined change helps transform the great ideas in the minds of your leaders for improved business performance into a series of more explicit outputs and outcomes, at both an individual and organisational level.

    Set up a call with a member of our team below to discuss the 2-day Change Definition Workshop: 

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    These explicit outputs and outcomes – the business results you expect from a specific change – can then be shared among key stakeholders from organisational groups and the process of co-creating a solution that will deliver these business outcomes can properly begin. These explicit, shared business outcomes can also be entered into a Change Scorecard, a framework for measuring and communicating the health of the project as it progresses though its timeline.

    Having a well-defined project also puts the would–be change management practitioners among you in great shape to participate in one of our regular public, open enrolment 3-day certified Prosci change management practitioner training programs occurring in Singapore in May and June.

    Register your interest in participating in the 3-day Singapore CMC certified Prosci practitioner training: 

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    Topics: Enterprise Change Management