Measuring the success of change initiatives has been a longstanding pain point for many organisations and thus they seek to implement measurement systems and metrics that provide tangible answers on the progression of change.
As more and more consider change and transformation as an imperative metric, measuring the people side of change is becoming an expectation and even a requirement in many organisations; there is a direct link between impacted people adopting and using new capabilities introduced in change and the business results expected by leaders who introduce and sponsor those change initiatives. Recent research projects and progressive thinking are leading the way in creating systems and processes that provide solid data.
The Prosci Change Management Scorecard addresses three areas of success: defining, measuring and tracking. The scorecard depicts three dimensions of measurement over the entire lifecycle of a project.
For change management practitioners, these can be equally challenging. With the scorecard framework a structured approach to defining success in terms of business outcomes for the organisation can be facilitated. These outcomes are then directly connected to how well individuals adopt new ways of working and this in turn is connected with how well change management is executed to support this individual and collective adoption.
Underlying barriers to measuring change
Previous barriers to measuring the success of change are founded on the basis that they are performed after the event and not as an agreed upon target that is aimed at from the outset. When success is defined after the initial starting point of a project or even after its completion, it can very quickly become a debated subject.
The Prosci Scorecard focuses on the process of creating a predetermined definition of success, during the project initiation phase, through a collaborative thinking process involving all relevant parties. This process considers the objectives of change, as well as what the role of employee adoption and usage is and how it can be measured; rather than using a subjective figure pulled from guesswork and wishful thinking.
Creating a shared definition of successful change
As an example creating a shared definition of change relies on producing answers for the following questions:
“Why are we changing?”
“What should ‘project completion’ look like?”
“How do we define success?”
A singular definition of success established before project launch enables all change activities to be channelled in a singular direction and a uniformed analysis of progress can be achieved. Enabling this change definition process to occur well appears simple but in practice many organisations struggle to clearly answer these vital pre-requisite questions early enough or in enough depth, before launching into a series of expensive activities primarily aimed at building the new capability with little or no consideration of how directly impacted employees will be supported to adopt it. CMC has created a best practices workshop approach to Change Definition. For more information or a confidential discussion please contact us.
The metrics of measuring successful change
Successfully measuring change relies upon understanding which metrics are applicable in determining project performance and at which change level. Across the three change performance levels – organisational, individual and change management – a variety of performance metrics could be used.
Using the established definition of success, the exact combination of metrics can be chosen to measure change success in relation to the relevant goals. For a more detailed analysis on progress, these metrics can be changed as a project moves through three distinct lifecycle stages: early, middle and late.
In addition to selecting a framework of appropriate metrics, how they correlate with the definition of success should also be identified.
Early Stage Performance Metrics could be: ‘Objectives Set’ and ‘Change or Business Readiness’.
Mid Stage Performance Metrics could be: ‘Progress to Plan’, ‘Performance Against Deliverables’, ‘Adherence to Schedule’ and ‘Key Performance Indicators’.
Late Stage Performance Metrics could be: ‘Benefit Realisation’, ‘ROI’, ‘Project Success’, ‘Objectives Met’, ‘Performance Improvement’, and ‘Results and Outcomes’.
Early Stage Performance Metrics could be: ‘Buy-in and Commitment’, ‘Awareness’, ‘Understanding’, and ‘Individual Readiness’.
Mid Stage Performance Metrics could be: ‘Adoption’, ‘Engagement’, ‘Participation’.
Late Stage Performance Metrics could be: ‘Usage’, ‘Compliance’, ‘Proficiency’, ‘Results and Outcomes’.
Change Management Performance
Early Stage Performance Metrics could be: ‘Applying Approach’, ‘Dedicating Resources’, ‘Scaling and Customising’.
Mid Stage Performance Metrics could be: ‘Activity Completion’, ‘Communication Deliveries’, ‘Training Delivery/Attendance’.
Late Stage Performance Metrics could be: ‘Activity Effectiveness’, ‘Communication Effectiveness’, ‘Training Effectiveness’, ‘Sustainment Effectiveness’, ‘Collection of Feedback’, ‘Compliance and Usage Audits’, ‘Results and Outcomes’.
With the chosen metrics identified for each change level and timeframe, it becomes possible to categorise each into high-level labels that make up the scorecard framework. Examples of specific metrics and KPIs effectively used in real-life projects can be found by reference to the 2020 Prosci Best Practices Research or by consultation with CMC.
Prosci Change Management Scorecard
Here is an example of Prosci change management scorecard that can be used to measure the success of your change initiatives.
Tracking progress towards successful change
As a project moves through the various lifecycle stages, the established metrics for measuring progress enable the creation of a detailed understanding of the overall change success. With such specific metrics in place as well as the pre-determined definition of success, the performance of each change level can be monitored and the success of a particular change effort, measured.
Measuring the success of change
With an increasing number of organisations considering the success of change an essential ingredient in enabling their future strategy, the importance of establishing and implementing systems and metrics which can provide tangible answers on change success is becoming imperative.
By first establishing a project wide definition of success that is shared and recognised by all involved parties, a picture of the most relevant metrics can be used to measure change success across all performance levels and lifecycle stages of the project. With each of these determined before project initiation, they provide an established framework for tracking and evaluating ongoing project performance.