Every organization has seen the decay of implemented solutions, programs, projects, and other business enhancements over the years.

In other words, that means countless company dollars down the drain, wasted on change management solutions that just wouldn’t stick.

With the typical attrition and turnover hovering between 15% and 17% in U.S. and Canada, it’s likely that you will see programs and projects show up as line items on your new strategic plan that have already been implemented (and failed)!

Follow this list and you’ll help your project last for years after implementation:

The numbers don’t lie: project success rates are dismal, but solution stickiness rates are worse.

Although most consulting organizations, project managers, and executives promise sustainability in the work that is to be done, there’s a ton of research out there that shows the harsh realities of implementation and project failures. As many as 70% of organizations surveyed in a recent survey have suffered at least one project that has failed in the last 12 months.

What’s even more disconcerting is that most of these statistics don’t cover projects that have failed post implementation and initial success. Survey even some of the most mature and technologically advanced organizations and you’ll find a ton of projects that have fizzled over the years.

1. Build processes independent of turnover.

Turnover and leadership transitions are among the most common reasons that projects fizzle. But it doesn’t (and shouldn’t) have to be this way!

Everyone has seen a new leader come in, move people around and create a new roadmap for their area, oblivious to the good work and existing processes and solutions that are being damaged.

Make sure your next solution will keep on chugging along even if existing employees and leaders do get moved around.

2. Track projects PRE and POST implementation.

Many organizations simply check the box for “Project Completed” and stop there. Revisit projects six months after completion, and every year thereafter. Ensure that there are backups and sustainability tactics put in place in case the organization moves to a different IT platform for Program and Project Management.

3. Build solutions resilient to financial and operational growth and shrink.

Ensure that every solution or project that is implemented has a sense of scalability.  If your project only works for a constrained growth or decline forecast, let everyone know clearly the thresholds and when it may break down.  The best solutions are those that expand and contract easily.

4. Partner with finance.

Someone in finance should be supporting the financial audit component of your program or project.  Ensure that they are always in the loop and are engaged in the long-term tracking of the project.  Make sure that the numbers match and are agreed upon.  Ensure that there is complete visibility by both parties to the software and program management post-mortems.

5. Ensure that knowledge about the solution is transferred.

If you are spending time and money to create a solution and implement it, then the change that applies to people’s jobs needs to be documented and trained for new hires and transfers.  Don’t risk losing the knowledge of key people involved in the solution that move on from their roles to new ones inside or outside the organization.  Document, share, and monitor to ensure that knowledge and executive of new solutions lives on.

Recap: Whatever you do, don’t ever…

  • Don’t: Assume your process is resilient just because people like it.
  • Don’t: Check the “project completed” box and stop there.
  • Don’t: Assume that Joe and Sally will continue working there the rest of their lives and can speak to the status of an implemented project whenever needed.
  • Don’t: Assume the environmental conditions of the solution space will stay the same.
  • Don’t: Forget to buy your finance partners coffee every once in a while…

What questions do you have about increasing solution stickiness? Leave us a comment below, or contact our team of cross-functional performance improvement specialists today for personalized support.