While there are lots of reasons for project failures, both IT and non IT, a major reason is poor execution of organisational change management. During the implementation of the project each individual impacted needs to come to terms with the change. Back in 2000 William Bridges and Susan Mitchell Bridges provided a good way of looking at change in their article on Leader to Leader, Leading Transition: A New Model for Change. They highlighted 3 phases people transition through during change, I have similar before so I am fairly sure the are not the original authors but I just cannot find the original reference, The phases are:
- Saying Goodbye
- Shifting to Neutral
- Moving Forward
The first phase is where you have to saying goodbye to the way things were, for many the hardest part!
The second phase is when people basically come to a complete stop they don’t go forward or back. They are overcome by the fear, uncertainty and confusion of the change and this can take all of their time and energy.
Remember many people fail to let go, or fail to see through the haze in the neutral zone but many also are scared of moving forward especially in organisations that penalise mistakes. They just get stuck!
The final phase is moving forward when people begin to behave in the new ways and adapt to the change. Only once people are at this stage will your project be a success in their eyes, too many people failing to get to this stage will result in total project failure.