Australia: 10 Ways To Ensure That Your Change Project Is Doomed

Last Updated: 10 November 2008
Article by Paul Kallenbach

You've somehow made it through the tender process, but your mission-critical IT project stubbornly refuses to run off the rails. Don't panic! If your project involves significant organisational change, here are 10 sure ways to consign the project to its doom, and perhaps even take your organisation with it.

  1. Don't engage with the project sponsors or senior executives. Sure they're paying for the project, but once you've got their approval, there's simply no reason for their continuing involvement. It's not as if their input will be needed should the organisations' business needs or priorities change. Nor will their ongoing support be required. The change management process is bound to succeed, even if the sponsors and key executives ignore the change themselves, or tolerate those in the lower ranks who stubbornly resist it.

  2. Similarly, don't bother obtaining the buy-in of your staff (particularly key influencers), and under no circumstances involve them in the change process. Your staff are like machines – they arrive to work, do what they're told, and go home. They don't require motivation, training or encouragement, and they certainly don't have any valid opinions about how significant change should be implemented across the organisation. Hasn't history always shown that there's no better governance structure than a dictatorship?

  3. Consider outsourcing the entire change process to an external consultant, with absolutely no involvement of your own people. The consultant is sure to obtain a flawless understanding of the business and change requirements without any input from those incompetent employees of yours.

  4. Never, ever have a communications plan, or appoint a communications manager. The less communication there is, the more everyone will assume that there is some grand conspiracy, and you know just how good that is for productivity – it will just skyrocket! If (heaven forbid) you are forced to communicate about the change, make sure the message is cryptic and garbled and is not customised to the intended audience. If at all possible, hold off communicating until after the change has been effected.

  5. Don't attempt to define the scope of the change or the problem you're trying to solve. Surely any change is for the better – even if it may appear difficult, unnecessary and costly. Even better still, encourage your sponsors and stakeholders to change the scope of the change project as often as they want. That way, you may be able to extend the change process indefinitely, without making any real change to the organisation – and spend a small fortune along the way!

  6. When implementing the change, ignore the culture of the organisation, division or team who'll be most affected by it. All that talk about culture is just warm, fluffy, politically-correct drivel and has no place in today's modern, fast-paced corporate environment.

  7. Resist doing a cost-benefit analysis of the change. It's not about the money, it's about being seen to do something – anything! –even though the organisation may go backwards in the process. It is best to leave this analysis to the end – when it's far too late to adjust the project.

  8. Never allow time for the change to take root and be accepted by the organisation. Indeed, try to overwhelm the organisation with the maxim amount of change within the least amount of time. This will ensure that impacted personnel do not have time to catch their collective breaths, never mind criticise or evaluate the change. Alternatively, try to implement the change as slowly as possible, so that your people get bored or disconnected from the change. It will help to drag out the process if you dispense with key milestones, deliverables and transition plans.

  9. Throw all those tried and true project management principles out the window. Scope, risk and issues management and project governance are just unnecessary. Eliminate them and you will have a much more streamlined project. Besides, dealing with unplanned surprises will add a certain 'zing' to the project, and forestall any prospect of your people complaining that their lives are dull or predictable.

  10. Finally, under no circumstance should you ever measure the success of the change project. This will only highlight its failings and may lead to the organisation actually learning from its mistakes. It may even put everyone involved in the project (including you!) on the chopping block – which is not exactly the change you were planning.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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