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Incredible! So strong is the connection between your Change Management Office maturity and project success


By Morten Kamp Andersen, Partner

A Change Management Office (CMO) is the most powerful lever for excellent Change Management in an organisation. By far. And it matters. Because, you are six times more likely to succeed in your projects when you conduct excellent Change Management.

CMOs have different forms, different maturity levels and different focus. Some CMOs are set up with a narrow focus of e.g. helping projects with communication and training, whereas others have a broader perspective as e.g. assist Change Management across the whole business, as well as being part of the strategic dialogue during the scoping phase of the project.

One way to approach the building of a CMO is to start with the purpose. The vital purpose of a CMO is, naturally, to support projects in successfully achieving their objectives. But we advise creating a Vision & Mission Charter for the office. This will define the office and the value it will add to the organisation. By having this document agreed with all relevant stakeholders, it becomes easier to make other strategic decisions about roles, size and scope.

Level 0

At level 0 of the CMO Maturity Model, the organisation has not established a CMO nor is applying CM adequately on key projects. Change Management may be applied on some projects but a variety of approaches to managing the people side in changes is used. The Change Management efforts are usually carried out by individuals with a passion for Change Management. The benefits of having a CMO are not reaped and organisational change maturity remains small.

Steps to move from level 0 to Level 1:

  1. Set up a CMO. Use the considerations outlined below to assess placement in the organisation, its structure, roles etc.
  2. Decide upon a structured approach for Change Management (perhaps even tools and templates). Assess different methodologies and choose one.
  3. Initial governance model developed (few projects/few elements)
  4. Attend training in Change Management.
  5. Apply Change Management on some projects in the organisation. Select a few projects and apply the methodology and evaluate its usability of the chosen structure/method.
  6. Celebrate and share early success stories of applying CM on projects. Make sure the rest of the organisation knows about the benefits of Change Management by.

Level 1

At level 1 of the CMO Maturity Model, a CMO has been established with considerations for its place in the organisation, and a methodology has been selected. The chosen method (and tools) is applied to some projects and the change team members have the adequate capabilities and business understanding.

Steps to move from Level 1 to Level 2:

  1. Train executives and line managers in their role during a change in order to move the change competencies to include all roles in change.
  2. Assess compliance so selected methodology, tools and templates are used.
  3. Governance model further developed (more projects/more elements)
  4. Introduce methodology for all project managers in the organisation.
  5. Set up a process to gather learnings with an aim to create internal best practices.
  6. Apply the chosen Change Management method on more projects across the business.

Level 2

At level 2 of the CMO Maturity Model, the CMO is maturing through the use of the standard methodology and tools on many projects company-wide. All relevant persons including executives and line managers have been trained in their role of Change Management.

Steps to move from Level 2 to Level 3:

  1. Incorporate internal best practices in methodology, tools, processes and tactics to fit the organisational culture, project model, etc.
  2. Further develop and apply a governance model to ensure that all significant projects are assigned the suitable and right Change Management resources
  3. Integrate Project Management model with Change Management model to ensure alignment in method and execution

Level 3

At level 3 of the CMO Maturity Model, the organisation is at the highest level of project success (assuming Project Management is delivering at an equally high level). A structured Change Management process with custom-fit tools is applied to all important projects internally, even when sponsors and line managers are performing their change roles as naturally as other elements of leadership and management. The plans and processes ensure a high degree of compliance and the organisation is ready when the solution is ready.

Connection between a CMO and Change Maturity

In a white paper “Change Management Maturity – how to improve your maturity level” (2016 ) we conducted a Prosci Change Management Maturity audit among some of the largest Danish organisations. Here, we concluded three things:

  1. Danish companies scored on average just over 2.6 on a 5-point scale on Change Management maturity which is on par with the highest ranked countries, but with room for improvement.
  2. There is significant value in having a structured approach to Change Management. The companies with a structured approach scored on average 3.3 vs. 2.4 for the ones without a structured approach.
  3. Having a CMO speeds up the maturity process. We found that, regardless of where it is located, a CMO helps with improving maturity in all types of organisations. In our survey, the companies with a CMO scored on average 3.4 vs. 2.3 for the ones without a CMO.

The results show a connection between a CMO and Organisational Change Maturity. According to Prosci, This is a global trend. Actually, in such a degree that 57% of the companies who score 4 on the maturity scale and 73% who score 5 on the maturity scale have a CMO. This makes sense as a CMO is often an important lever of the Change Management Maturity.

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