Why project and change management will be in demand in 2021
February 08, 2021
The world of change management has not escaped 2020’s ripple effect. At the start of lockdown, businesses had to rapidly adapt on a massive scale, with many shifting staff to remote working within days. Within weeks, some organisations needed the agility to set up and manage new areas of their business to deal with a spike in customer demand. Elsewhere for many others, large scale programmes had to be paused, accelerated, amended or in some cases, abandoned altogether.
At some point, any projects that can no longer be delayed will be switched back on – such as enhancing digital capabilities because consumer behaviour has changed exponentially – and a new steady stream of critically important business change programmes will join them. These will need to be managed through the ongoing uncertainty of the pandemic. As a further complexity, they will also need to respond to new rules around IR35, which are expected to come into force shortly. These rules mean that some outside contractors might want to engage on very different terms or potentially move in-house, which has further implications for programme costs and resourcing.
Programme leaders are going to feel the weight of expectation on their shoulders in the coming months. It’s hardly surprising, given that delivering a programme of scale at speed requires massive resources and expertise. Responsibility for specific programmes is often handed to an internal team formed of talented people with other day jobs, or to various outside contractors – some organisations will not have in-house change and project management resources on the scale required to clear the backlog and deal with the pace of change we’re seeing.
There is strong evidence in some sectors that the pandemic recovery will be led by deals. Companies are revisiting their pre-pandemic strategy and adapting for a very different world; it’s likely that non-core areas of businesses will be divested and opportunities snapped up by those seeking to enhance their capabilities. This is an area where strong change management will be a crucial differentiator. The pandemic has exacerbated the challenges of a successful integration, which is one of the most complex elements of post-deal value creation. The ability of businesses to successfully manage deals-led transformation projects and programmes in the coming months will be critical.
This is where Execution Managed Services could help take the strain and stress out of projects. Using EMS specialists to support critical projects and programmes is a decision to be taken carefully, but there are clear benefits to taking advantage of the skills and experiences of trusted change and project management specialists. They work as a single integrated team – who already know each other well - deploying the right tools, insight and expertise at key stages and working side by side with the business to successfully deliver complex programmes and operations. And if critical projects are managed well, businesses will be in far better shape to face the future.