Verax International Ltd




"5 Ways to make Change Successful"



Over the years, estimates, of change programme failures, or partial failures have ranged from 40 – 70% - not a good financial ROI, given their cost. A recent PWC survey highlights today’s issues. Taking notice will increase the chances of success tomorrow.


The Verax approach has given clients what they wanted – lower costs, increased growth, greater efficiency – all vouched for and published. We scientifically link the change programme to the business strategy and engage the senior team from the outset. This eliminates poor planning, changing specification and ensures clear goals and objectives. All this is achieved through highly researched diagnostics and analysis, reliable, relevant data and continuous monitoring – not to mention the ability to calculate and quantify a financial ROI on everything we do.


Following our last newsletter about organisational maturity a new survey by PWC highlights the major issues that get in the way of effective organisational change and all of them relate back to the state of maturity of the organisation.


The survey was conducted globally involving 3000 respondents on 360 change management programmes, ranging in budget from £50,000 to £1.5bn!


The main findings are: -


  • Those who commission change don’t get what they want.
  • CEOs claim that their organisations need to be more agile and to change faster
  • Change programmes need to be aligned directly to the business strategy. In fewer than one third of the programmes surveyed was the change programme aligned to the business strategy.
  • There is a great need for objective criteria, better quality data and analysis to ensure alignment with strategic business priorities.


The survey also showed how change project failures have changed in the recent past.


The table below sets this out: -

Reasons for Failure





Bad estimates, (cost, time, mile posts), missed deadlines

Poor estimates in planning phase (priorities, mileposts, deadlines)

Poor estimates in planning phase (priorities, mileposts, deadlines)


Changes to scope, etc after the start of the project

Lack of executive sponsorship

Changes to scope, terms of reference etc mid-project


Insufficient Resources

Poorly defined goals/objectives

Insufficient Resources

All of these reasons for failure are symptoms of organisations at the immature phase.


So the issue is not that organisations at this phase are doomed to failure or don’t need to change. On the contrary, they probably do need to change, but in doing so they need to pay special attention to how they go about it.


1. Optimise Capability to Maximise Returns


Clarity is needed about who or what is really driving the strategy. Objective criteria, quality data, diagnosis and analysis will ensure alignment, minimise subjectivity, playing to personal agendas etc. and the right changes commissioned and actioned.


2. Flexibility and Speed


While the need for rapid change is important, this can only happen if sufficient time and planning (based on good data) are available in the first place, thus eliminating changes to scope and requirements mid-project. There will be a need to adapt more quickly to the challenges that will inevitably crop up during the project. Good data will again help.


3. Enabling People to Deliver


Management and staff training, including understanding why the programme is needed, what it will achieve and what this means to each individual is key. Clarity of roles, responsibilities and boundaries is a must. Success ultimately depends on the people who run it and implement it.


4. Connect the Executive Team


There is often a disconnect in clarity about business outcomes needed between the exec and the project management/change agent. They need to work closely together with frequent contact to ensure success through mutual understanding.


5. Dealing with the Unpalatable


There is a need to measure progress (fewer than 40% do, according to the survey) toward the desired benefits. Clear accountabilities are necessary to ensure delivery. Big issues have to be tackled head on and not fudged. Potential problems and risks need to be nipped in the bud before they become big issues. Good monitoring allows organisations to monitor these, react accordingly and change where necessary.




Ref. PWC Global Portfolio and Programme Management (POM) Survey


If you would like to understand where your organisation is right now and what the implications are, please contact us on


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