Enterprise-wide transformation programs do not succeed without Change Management!


Advances in Project Management Series

Sankaran Ramani


Practitioners and Consultants have been advocating better processes and tools to implement large scale programs (and portfolios) in large organizations. Many of them are well informed and their intentions and commitment are indisputable as well. Yet, in spite of the well laid out plans and the drive from top management, a significant percentage of change initiatives fizzle out or do not produce the intended results.

A key reason for this failure is the impact on the people perspective. Top-down driven initiatives breed skepticism and pushback from the operational stakeholders—where the ‘rubber meets the road’. It is often said that ‘people want change but won’t change’. This is especially true when the impacted stakeholders perceive the outcomes from the transformation programs to be negatively impacting them.

Based on our experience and analysis, we could categorize stakeholders into three groups – Top Management (typically the C level executives), Middle Management (usually Divisional or location managers/ Heads of business units and their deputies) and the operational stakeholders. The likely success of large scale change initiatives under various combinations of stakeholder commitment and propensity to change could be summarized as in the following table.

Change Impact matrix

Stakeholder commitment  
Top Management Middle Management Operational stakeholders Likely success of the change initiative/ status
Low Low Low Nil. Status quo- resigned state.
Low Low High Nil. Enthusiastic bottom-up ideas – sabotaged by the middle and senior management. Frustrated work force. High de-motivation and attrition.
Low High Low Unlikely situation. In this combination – middle management can spearhead the change – but will require considerable push to implement them.
Low High High Medium. Fertile situation for change to happen and a change in top management can trigger off the transformation.
High Low Low Negligible. Unless the rank and file changes – top management will find it extremely tough to push change. Typical situation seen in many Corporates. Long lead time for implementing changes.
High High Low Success more likely. The operational stakeholders can be incentivized to absorb change and with a lag, the momentum for change can catch on.
High Low High Low-medium. Unless the blocking middle management is convinced or ‘cajoled’ – change can fizzle down
High High High Utopia! Change initiatives will be debated and accepted swiftly.

Enterprise-wide transformations

For any enterprise wide transformation, we consider following dimensions, impacting the success of change initiatives.


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Editor’s note: The Advances in Project Management series includes articles by authors of program and project management books published by Gower in UK and by Routledge worldwide. Information about Routledge project management books can be found here.



About the Author

Sankaran Ramani




Sankaran Ramani, PfMP®, PgMP®, PMP®, PMI-RMP®, MoP®, MSP®, PRINCE2® , M_o_R® , P3O® , Change Management, Managing Benefits Practitioner, P3M3® Consultant, has over 25 years of experience in technology and management consulting industry, spanning key account management, project, program and portfolio management (P3M), management consulting (with PwC Consulting), strategy/ portfolio development for IT and Client relationship management.

He has over 20 years of project/ program management including consulting experience, having successfully led multiple large projects/programs for ERP implementations, Business-Systems integration and IT strategy development. These projects/programs were implemented in diverse sectors – including in discrete and process manufacturing, automotive, FMCG, retail and finance.

Prior to PwC Consulting, Ramani was managing technology and application oriented IT services for multiple clients – including non-profit organizations. He has also handled Portfolio, Program and Project Management trainings for diverse clients. Currently, Ramani is managing his company GRT Consulting LLP, which specializes in advisory/ consulting and training in Project, Program and Portfolio Management.

Ramani holds Post-Master’s educational qualification in Computer Science. He also holds multiple professional certifications, including PfMP®, PgMP®, PMP® and PMI-RMP® from PMI, USA. He has multiple practitioner certifications from AXELOS/APMG, UK – including in PRINCE2®, MSP® (For Program management), MoP® (For Portfolio Management), M_o_R® (for Risk management), P3O®, Change Management, MoV® (for Value Management), CHAMPS2® (for enterprise-wide transformation program implementation), Agile PM , PRINCE2 Agile and Benefits Management.

Ramani is an approved trainer from APMG/AXELOS for PRINCE2®, MSP®, MoP®, Change Management, Managing Benefits and P3O®. Ramani is also an accredited consultant with AXELOS for Portfolio, Programme and Project Management Maturity Model (P3M3®) – amongst the very few globally. He is also a Kaplan Norton Balanced Scorecard Certified graduate.

Mr. Ramani is the author of Improving Business Performance: A Project Portfolio Management Approach published by Auerbach / CRC Press in 2016.