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Benefits ManagementStakeholder EngagementProject Management

Robust planning and design at the start of the project’s lifecycle

Before getting into the detail, a little bit of scene-setting:

Have you ever experienced being ‘late’ even before you’ve started a project?

Ever been told the Sponsor(s) and Champion(s) are fully supportive of the Change Programme but you still have that ’nervous feeling’ about the authenticity of their buy-in?

Ever been ‘given’ your Change Team and told everything is ‘good to go’ and after your first transition team meeting, find yourself thinking, “this is going to be tougher than I thought” as you discover your ‘team’ isn’t really a team – you don’t have 100% of their time for the change programme and individually and collectively they lack the 3Cs: Capability, Competency and Capacity.

If any of this sounds familiar – then the case for front-end loading is partially made. None of these situations or indeed the numerous other associated areas increase the chances of success. In fact they actively work against change success from the start.

It’s also quite likely that none of these are identified as either risks or issues meaning that the only person or people with increased risk is the Change Manager and the Change Team.

So here’s the point. Even before starting, good practice for the effective delivery of organizational change is being ignored – increasing the likelihood of creating the self-fulfilling myth that organizational change can be more effectively and efficiently delivered than it is at the moment.

What is Front-end Loading?

Front-end loading is where significant positive impact on a project is ensured by robust planning and design at the start of the project’s lifecycle, at relatively low cost. This is compared with the significantly higher costs and time impact when making changes later on in the project.

Reducing the difficulty of Change using Front-end Loading

Here’s a couple of areas to get you thinking about how you could use effective Front-end Loading to increase your chances of success or at the very least, not make organizational change so tough.

Every project/programme management methodology recommends having an appropriate sponsor. So why is it that so many projects/programmes don’t have one, as defined in good practice e.g. Managing Successful Programmes, Prince2, The Effective Change Manager’s Handbook? If this sounds familiar to you, has the absence of an appropriate sponsor made it onto the Issue Register or are you, as the responsible person, carrying all the professional risk and issue?

It’s accepted good practice that before starting, all of the relevant lessons learned are assessed to increase the Change Team’s collective knowledge about what to do and what to avoid in order to increase the chances of success. Why is it that this good practice is almost never applied in any meaningful way? Could it be that ‘being late’ restricts our capacity to apply good practice where it can provide the opportunity to have significant positive impact?

Why is it we rarely allow ourselves time at the Front-end where we can make significant positive impact e.g. lower cost, bigger benefit? Why is it we always seem able to find that ‘missing’ time in the middle or towards the end when the impact is reduced, the cost is increased and organizational and psychological stereotypes are entrenched?

Top Tip

You have more time than you think; you are not ‘late’ and can significantly increase your chances of success by including time for a customised front-end loading approach for your Change Management Projects.

Learn more about front-end learning and other crucial elements that constitute a successful Change programme with one of our accredited Change Management training providers.


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