People are Resistant to Change – That’s Why CRM Projects Fail

People are resistant to change, it's human nature


People are resistant to change. This week I was asked by one of my team for my perspective on why CRM projects fail. I have done this now for 10 years so I should have learned something and this was what I communicated: “People are resistant to change”.

Please add your comments below if you think this list is incomplete.

A couple of weeks ago I was at Convergence 2013 in New Orleans and there was a session taken by Darren Hubert – Lead Architect, Commercial Microsoft Services. The title of his presentation was Managing Complex Implementations of Microsoft Dynamics CRM. In this session he shared the following information from Forester Research and Gartner Group:

CRM Industry wide statistics from 2001 to 2009 (this covers Salesforce, SAP, Oracle as well as Dynamics and others)

47% of projects viewed as not fully meeting expectations

31% of projects being canceled before completion

16% of projects successfully completed on time and on budget

42% of projects delivered with original proposed features and functions

How do we improve the odds of success and remove or reduce the RISK of CRM project failure?

My views are as follows in order of importance on reducing CRM project failure (I am assuming you have scoped the project with excellent Business Analysts (BAs) and have architected a best of breed solution):

  1. Lack of a dedicated Change Manager involved in the project because people are resistant to change
    1. Change Management is a role that must be filled on the team, this person is skilled in human behaviour and communication and has a structured approach to change management. They should be formally trained in something like Prosci Change Management and have a direct relationship with the Project Sponsor as well as the Project Manager. Why you ask? Because the number one reason for project failure is due to people's resistance to change and a structured approach is necessary to addressing this. Instead people blame the software: “It's not like the old system.” “It's not what I am used too.” “It's too hard.” “It's different” …CHANGE! If you kick off a project of size without addressing the people and their feelings you are in for a rocky ride.
  2. Strong Governance and Project Management
    1. A Project Sponsor that has the trust of the people in the organisation, can confer with the Change Manager and explain that it's going to be tough to start with but it will get better, is necessary for this CHANGE to take place. With regards to a Project Manager – you need one! I have been asked to sort out why a million dollar projects went wrong and it boiled down to no formal project management.
  3. Lack of understanding of the “Project Management Triangle” or managing expectations
    1. I will not go into detail but if you want to know more take a look at this wiki Project Management Triangle
  4. Training, training and training
    1. This area is linked tightly with the Change Manager, training is not a one off thing, it's a journey of ongoing training. Training needs reinforcement for it to stick, and a printed manual is not the only way and often not the best way to train people.

As I wrote this I realised I am only scratching the surface. Unfortunately many companies carry out CRM implementations without addressing people's resistances to change.

Here are 10 reasons why people are resistant to change.

What's your view on this?


By |2016-11-25T16:09:48+00:00April 6th, 2013|CRM Projects|