3 stunning benefits a change management office creates for your organisation

17 August 2018
Article written by Annika Lagoni

Achieving success with large-scale strategic projects requires more than an excellent strategy and well-prepared plans. You need to understand the people side too: what the company’s culture, people, and behaviours must look like to create the desired results. This is Change Management. And it works! You are six times more likely to succeed in your project implementation when you conduct excellent Change Management, as evidenced by Prosci’s best practice report demonstrated in the figure below


Now we established that great Change Management significantly increase project success. But how do you ensure great Change Management is conducted and realize these benefits? That is where a Change Management Office (CMO) comes into the picture. A CMO is a function with the purpose of providing the organisation with a structured approach and a set of tools to manage the people side of the most critical changes.

Studies conducted by Prosci show that Change Management is correlated with both meeting the project’s purpose, reaping the expected Return on Investment (ROI), and delivering the project on time and budget. A CMO is a powerful lever to achieve these results. Furthermore, a study carried out by Nexum in Danish organisations show that having a CMO will improve the maturity in any organisation in regards of Change Management

Going through all of the benefits of a CMO would be a very long list; instead we have clustered
three stunning benefits of having a CMO:

1. Overview of all on-going changes

First of all, a key role for a CMO is to provide Change Management support and sparring for projects. An effective way to do this is to create a portfolio overview of all planned and current projects and change initiatives. It is important to underpin that managing the portfolio of change does not mean simply keeping an inventory of changes that are happening. It involves the mapping out of changes and their subsequent impacts on groups within the organization.

It is worth the work though. The cumulative impact of all the changes in the portfolio will give you an early indication of change saturation and actions can be taken to alleviate this and the consequences of changes colliding.

Having the full picture of all on-going changes in the organisation also helps the CMO to decide which approach is needed for each project and the appropriate Change Management resources can be allocate to the right project. This can be done either by lending dedicated Change Management resources to individual projects or providing support for the change managers working in the project teams. Having both Project Management and Change Management activities in a project is essential because each one brings different, but necessary, tools and plans to realise the project benefits. A CMO helps to ensure that you have both on the projects.

2. Establishment of internal best practices

Second, the CMO’s role is to select or create a common methodology and approach for Change Management – this is a key element of building Organizational Change Management capabilities and competencies! It is about finding a methodology that fits your organisation and project model best. Initially, however, it is important the CMO create a common language for what Change Management is since it’s still relatively new discipline, which means people might not know what it is or have different views about it.

The CMO should also set up processes to collect learnings from change initiatives with an aim to create internal best practices and incorporate these in to the existing methodology and tools. These learnings are also how your methodology and tools can become excellent; continuous adjusting, fitting and improving them so lessons learned are brought into the next projects. Sharing learnings and success stories additionally show the value of Change Management and create awareness of the benefits.

To ensure practitioners are adequately trained in the selected methodology and tools the CMO needs to provide training. This also goes for executive sponsors, line managers and the project team members whom need to be trained in their separate roles for implementing and supporting the changes. The establishment of internal best practices will result in better quality of Change Management efforts on the individual project due to skilled practitioners’ use of a common set of methodologies as well as tried and tested tools in the organisation.

3. Cost reduction & increased financial return

Finally, setting up a CMO will result in cost reduction. This is due to two factors:
Firstly, the total cost of delivery of each change initiative is reduced as the method and tools are more efficient thanks to the establishment of the internal best practices including communication, risk analysis and planning. This also leads to a reduction of cost for external consultants as sufficient resources are allocated with the right skills.

Secondly, Change Management can help reap the full Return on Investment (ROI). It’s a fact that most projects do not deliver what was expected. The greatest cause for this is the people side of change: the greater the project results or outcomes depend on individuals doing their jobs differently, the greater a variation we can expect in the ROI. Through good Change Management you can encourage those individuals to change. The Prosci ROI of Change Management Model presents three people side factors that impact the return a project or initiative delivers:

  • Speed of adaption is how quickly employees adopt a change.
  • Ultimate Utilization is how many employees eventually adopt the change to how they do their jobs.
  • Proficiency is how effective employees are once they’ve adopted the change.

So, in order to realize the financial return of the project you need trough Change Management to enable and encourage employees to embrace, adopt and utilize a change to their work required by a project or initiative. This will directly contribute to higher return on investment through faster adoption, greater utilization and higher proficiency. Hence, establishing a CMO will ensure excellent Change Management in your organisation, which will by the way of the three people side factors contributes directly to project ROI.

Overall, the benefits of a CMO specifically and Change Management generally are significant to any organisation. This should make a case for establishing a CMO in your organisation.

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