Firm hand on the tiller during change management

The unfavourable economic situation has forced many companies to adjust their course accordingly. There is a great deal at stake, and the risks are just as significant.

The large scale of change programs and their impact on an organisation, combined with plans that are too optimistic, often result in the programs failing. More than eighty per cent of programs are not concluded as planned, and more than fifty per cent fail altogether. It is therefore time to think about managing change and how to tackle it effectively.

Not enough control

With increasing frequency, managers are discovering that they do not have sufficient control of large-scale changes, especially as far as information technology, culture change (such as making improvements in terms of customer-orientation) or new operations are concerned, and if the market is changing drastically as well. The problem is not so much the scale of change, but its complexity and the fact that the results that are to be attained have not been defined clearly enough. Working on a project basis alone will not do.

Program management

Program management is ideal for carrying out changes in complex situations that have a major impact on the existing organisation. This concerns changes with many areas of uncertainty and risks but which must be clearly compatible with the company strategy. The many line activities and projects in an organisation, the mutual relationships that exist between them, and their dependency on their environment, mean that managing change requires considerable effort on the part of the line organisation and the management. Programs achieve strategic goals through a number of activities and projects that are managed in a cohesive manner. They are aimed at achieving the organisation’s goal in the longer term, while projects are designed to produce concrete results in the short term.

    A successful program approach consists of the following three main processes:

  1. Establishing the program
  2. Managing the implementation of the program
  3. Authorising the program (and any alterations to it)
    Managing is carried out on the basis of the management criteria*:

  • Tempo (final date, time planning, availability of employees)
  • Feasibility (financial, legitimacy)
  • Efficiency (cost-benefit ratio)
  • Flexibility (possibility of modifying programme plan)
  • Effectiveness (contribution of project results to programme goals)
* It is essential to get these criteria as ‘smart’ as possible. It is also important to prioritise the criteria.

More control

    Management with a focus on the interdependencies between the activities and projects and on achieving the objectives associated with the change is important for the purpose of realising the following benefits through program management:

  • Integrated approach to the different activities and projects with the help of clearly defined parameters
  • Program management provides a well-justified sequence of priorities, with regard to the activities and projects
  • Good risk management because the activities and projects are assessed in relation to each other
  • Management of the company objectives (business case); by substantiating each activity and project within the strategic framework, it is possible to consider accurately the cost-benefit ratio
  • The transition from the existing organisation to a new way of working is a separate part of program management (a change manager is responsible for this)

Sophiq for managing and reporting

Sophiq is ideal for use as a management instrument for operating programs that consist of multiple projects. Sophiq has been designed to make interrelationships visible at all times.

    The advantages of recording all the risks and issues of projects in Sophiq are that:

  • Communication is unambiguous and clear thanks to the use of uniform reporting standards and existing templates
  • An up-to-date overview is always available
  • The overall risk can be seen easily, at a single glance
  • The management degree and capacity of projects is maximised
  • The process of reporting becomes a lot less time-consuming
  • The relationships between activity and performance for every component are transparent, thereby making it possible to decide on any reallocation of resources.
Note: we do of course realise that there is a fundamental difference between managing programs and managing projects. However, the principles of integrated management are the same, which is why we have elected to discuss the full effects of program management only.