This week on Freaky Friday: Right now freeze everybody!*

As promised, here the start of our little Freaky Friday series about change management. And for starters I’d like to give you some fundamental thoughts on change management and why it is so important in ecommerce. And for all you project guerrillas out there: this is a perfect weapon to bust every project if you know how to use it.
Change happens always. All the time. With you. Around you. Everywhere. Basically life is a constant cycle of change phases. Ok, so much for the personal perspective. But what about companies? Companies are under constant pressure to adapt to the economical environment. They have to react to market developments, consumer trends and competitors trying to eat their lunch. And here you go with ecommerce. Every project you have here is a change project, because it tries to adapt the current strategy to the economical environment. But have you ever seen a change manager working in an ecommerce project??? I guess this is something like the Yeti legend – some people say they have seen him, but nobody will ever really get a look (if you have I’ll be glad for comments :-). And as simple as it sounds: this is one major reason, why so much projects fail in ecommerce. And failing means to miss one of the three definitions budget, time or quality. Usually the project managers try to cover some of the change work. And most projects / companies do change projects without even knowing it. What happens is that they are simply not prepared for the change and the project goes down the drain.
So if you want to crash a project: avoid hiring the Yeti and be sure to do nothing a change manager would do if he were in place. Easy isn’t it? If you dive into literature, you will find the basic change model to be something like this: unfreeze – change – freeze. The idea is to break up existing structures, make the change and then conserve the new status quo. Perfect theory – hardly reality! The bad thing here is that most people are reluctant to change. This is quite natural, because the new status quo is unknown. There comes a lot of fear with change. Fear to lose the job, to make the own situation worse, to lose some privileges. And therefore people put a lot of energy into maintaining the actual status quo. In a lot of cases much more energy than it would take to change. So here is the second guerrilla tip: strengthen the resistance! Help people to not change. Worsen their fears.

And if you want to make a project successful once in while: just think about the change implications from the start. If you are able to foresee what changes the project will bring and you are prepared, you have a good chance to make it a success. And for the end some self promotion: here you can find a little book about change management I have written :-)

* Legal disclaimer: This feature is an excerpt from the book project “How to wreck your projects” (still to be finished). What you read here may cause havoc to your project, when applied. Neither nor the author will take any responsibility for the effects. So read carefully. You are responsible for any action you take (or not take) after reading!

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