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Are you set up for project success?

We surveyed 512 respondents. The function or role represented by them are Internal Consultants, Change Managers, External Consultants, Purchasing, HR, Supply Chain, IT, Operations, Marketing, Sales, Finance, Learning and Development. There was an equal representation of Male and Female and spread across 19 sectors.

We wanted to find out:

  1. The challenges associated with projects respondents were involved in.
  2. What respondents experienced because of these challenges, impact.

Question 1 Summary

42% of the respondents face the challenge of lack of resources in the projects they are engaged in, 31% face staff resistance, 28% face the challenge of unrealistic deliverables and 27% say they have unclear roles and responsibilities. There were another 24 reasons affecting greater than 11% of the respondents.

There were significant differences between genders. More of the female respondents face the challenge of lack of resources than male respondents (46% vs 37%) whereas a considerable percentage more of male respondents face the challenge of stakeholder conflicts than the female respondents (22% vs 14%)

Question 2 Summary

52% of respondents said that low morale was the impact of these challenges, vs 35% who said late delivery, vs 31% who said low quality, 27% said that the benefits were not realised and 27% also said that the challenges caused them to go over budget, 23% said it caused them a loss of reputation, 17% said that the challenges meant that they were not winning work vs 8% who faced penalty costs.

There were significant differences between genders. More male respondents had late delivery due to the challenges compared to female (41% vs 29%). Whereas more female respondents suffered low morale than male respondents (62% vs 41%)

Reflecting on the two questions, what are your own challenges and the resulting Impact.

One of the key roles we often find loosely referred to when we look at failing projects, is that of Sponsor. This person has a key role to play in mitigating some of the challenges faced by our respondents. It’s not simply to come up with some change initiative or project idea and delegate it to a change agent or project lead to implement their solution. It’s much more than that. Successful projects will have a committed Sponsor.

A project sponsor is vitally important to the success of a change project. The person may be the process owner of the project being undertaken. The role is not to be taken lightly. The sponsors duties for the success of the project will include, attending reviews, endorsing implementation and problem resolution, lead the culture change by letting go of old ways of doing things.

A good Sponsor will

Champion the change methodology and approach with peers and endorse higher in the organisation.

  • Support the nominated project in a pro-active way.
  • Ensures resource needs are met.
  • Remove “road blocks” to progress.
  • Participate in stage reviews directly and sign off phases on completion. Sign off scoping document and the milestone stages.
  • Ensure full implementation of recommendations and improvements.
  • Ensure improvements are realised and sustained.
  • Ensure benefits are captured and evaluated for replication across other areas.

We find highly capable people in Change roles often battling against the grain, having no formal training, lacking a structured approach and techniques to address the many common challenges faced. It doesn’t have to be this way. Take a step back and a fresh look. Are you or your people set up for success?