This article has been originally published at APMG

Alistair Sergeant, chief executive officer of Equantiis (formerly known as Purple Consultancy), is used to delivering transformation projects. One of their successes was a project with Manchester Metropolitan (Met) University, helping them to transform the student experience using the latest technologies.

The Manchester Met project was a shining example of how to effectively manage a transformation project, says Sergeant. Many run into difficulties or fall flat on their faces at some stage during the process – almost all due to people and culture issues.

“It’s about aligning people up for a change within the organisation. There is a lot of fear that happens when you do a change project,” he says. “I’m a big believer that people don’t hate change, it’s just when change is forced upon them and they’re not on the journey, is where we end up having problems.”

So, if the challenge with transformation projects is getting the people on board, what are some mistakes that project managers can avoid?

  1. Not allocating the right resource

“Typically with transformations, I see organisations start the journey, but trying to implement it alongside their day jobs,” says Sergeant.

As a result, people are allocated tasks to do as part of the transformation project, but never have enough time to work on it, and it gets pushed down the priority list. The project is killed through a lack of time and interest.

“What Manchester Met were very good at, was working with us on developing a designated team that were back filled from the day job, seconded to work on the project,” Sergeant explains. “And what that does is set a precedent throughout the whole project that ‘we’re taking this seriously, this change is happening and we’re all part of this moving forwards’.”

2. Not being clear about why you’re doing it

“I can guarantee you, nine times out of ten when I’m involved in transformation projects, people aren’t even clear of why they’re doing it in the first place,” says Sergeant. “They will typically be doing it because someone in IT has said they need an upgrade, without any real strategic alignment of what it’s going to do.”
 
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