The dismal success rate of business change/transformation programmes and IT projects in both the private and public sectors, across the world and in a variety of industries [noted elsewhere on this website], do share something in common.
What they have in common is that when senior managers gave ‘go ahead’ approval for those programmes, they evidently failed to ask the incisive questions and/or, didn’t insist on the meaningful answers that would have revealed the fundamental flaws in the proposals they reviewed and blessed!
As we’ve pointed out elsewhere on this site, the dreadful failure rate is primarily due to the design of programmes rather than in failures of execution (although that can of course also happen).
The fundamental and fatal flaws in the approach taken to business and IT programmes by most large organisations, can only survive because senior managers either don’t ask, or don’t know the critically important questions to ask.
These notes are intended to help managers raise those questions â€“ and to help them insist on meaningful answers. This thought-process or mindset,Â applies when evaluating programme proposals or in consideringÂ the continuation of programmes already underway but which escaped serious scrutiny â€“ as the vast majority do escape, at their original approval stage.
We will set out a set of questions you can use as your toolkit for quickly assessing the robustness of programme and project proposals.
But first, let’s start with the basics…