The Liberation of Transformational Change

Insights | 30 November 2015

Let’s face it – successful transformational change is not easy. Project management practices have matured over the years, but the rate and pace of change means that we need to do more than manage individual initiatives to achieve transformational change. Organisations need to know how to successfully transform themselves through effective leadership, strategic alignment and the ability to adapt, be flexible and apply business agility.

The focus of transformational change is on achieving a desired future state or outcomes and the associated benefits – it is more than the sum of individual project deliverables. Transformational change programmes impact the culture, style, processes, policies, people and very DNA of an organisation.

MSP® (Managing Successful Programmes) offers a framework which:

“…represents proven good practice in programme management in successfully delivering transformational change…”

Managing Successful Programmes, AXELOS

The 7 principles from MSP provide insight to characteristics of successful transformational change programmes and assist as reminders to practitioners in influencing and shaping success.

7 keys to Successful Transformational Change

  1. Remaining aligned with corporate strategy. At all times during a transformational change programme there should be a clear link through to overall corporate strategy. Programmes take time and during that time strategy may change due to volatile enterprise and environmental factors. A balance of robustness and flexibility is required.
  2. Leading change. Transformation is about leadership not just management. Change cannot be managed; change needs to be led. Leaders need to engage, live with uncertainty, create innovative solutions, be supportive not dismissive, provide direction and vision and engender trust.
  3. Envisioning and communicating a better future. To inspire buy-in and commitment, people need a clear and concise understanding of what the future will look like as a result of a programme. Otherwise why should we be enthusiastic and committed? A vision needs to be real, repeated and consistent.
  4. Focusing on the benefits and threats to them. Ultimately the success of a programme is measured in terms of benefits realised. Risk mitigation focussed on ensuring the best environment, given conflicting demands and extreme uncertainty, is vital to achieving success. Strategic and longer term risks, not just project delivery risks, need to be monitored and controlled.
  5. Adding value. Do the acid test: if your programme is merely the sum of its parts and does not add more value, then why are you running it as a programme? Programme management takes resources – time, money, people. Adding value can include for example the avoidance of double-counting benefits, identification of additional benefits not seen at an individual level and synergies achieved by resource sharing.
  6. Designing and delivering a coherent capability. A simple but often misunderstood principle. Capability here refers to the completed set of project deliverables required to deliver an outcome. An outcome could be considered in terms of a new service, function or operation. Successful programme management takes a step back, keeping the bigger picture in mind and ensuring that the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle fit together.
  7. Learning from experience. The very nature of transformational change means that decisions need to be made against a backdrop of uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity and uncontrollable external factors. In hindsight we are apt to justify the past, often with cognitive biases coming into effect.   In contrast, organisations that are successful in terms of transformational change assume the attitude of a learner – reflective insights are encouraged at major review points in a programme and assimilated throughout the programme.

“The only mistake in life is the lesson not learned.”

                                                                                             Albert Einstein

Need to manage business change with minimal disruption? Speak to our Principal Consultants to find out how we can help you on your next Project. 1300 70 13 14.

MSP is a registered trade mark of AXELOS Limited

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