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Implementing Successful Change

A synthesis prepared by Susan Donnan, March 2006

There are staggering statistics (50-70% of projects are either failures or disappointments) and many horror stories about failed BPR, ERP, CRM, Supply Chain, and IT system implementation projects. The purpose of this article is to provide guidelines for maximising your chances of success in implementing significant process or IT system change.

An Anatomy Of Change

While there are many models for organisation and change, David Nadler's Congruence Model is useful for understanding change from a holistic perspective.

The essence of the Congruence Model is that every organisation is perfectly aligned to get the results it gets. A firm's strategy is determined by its environment, its available resources, and its history: 

Therefore, unsatisfactory performance at the individual, unit/group, and organisation levels are indications of either internal and/or external misalignment:

When alignment is achieved, the components are in harmony and are mutually reinforcing. The key message here is that we cannot change one of the organisational components (e.g. process) without affecting the other components (e.g. technology and organisation). For example:

In general the higher the degree of change (e.g. discontinuous change or strategic reorientation), the greater the need to change all components simultaneously to create a new alignment. Any lack of attention to any one component is a recipe for failure. Unfortunately, while process and technology are often changed together, people, organisation, and culture are often ignored or under-managed, resulting in unsuccessful change.

Top Reasons For Project Failures 

At the heart of converting strategy into action is the decision to invest in programs and projects to create something that did not exist before. Therefore, new programs and projects always create change. According to existing research, the following are some top reasons for project failures:

Guidelines For Implementing Successful Change

For a project to be successful, many things have to be well orchestrated:


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