True Cost of Change

The Sales Manager rang me to arrange our regular review. The meeting was pleasant and the new software looked really good. It would give the business some benefits for the projects we have planned over the next year.

Will I take the upgrade earlier?  He’d find a way round the service contract : it will be free to me.  He had a hard time believing that even if there were no cost for the products and services he was ready to deliver, that the upgrade would still add costs to the business. Right now we can’t carry that cost and I will wait for the next upgrade.

Was the upgrade a big project? No.

Would it take us long to do? No.

Did we have the right quality of staff to do it? Yes

Then why not? Because our staff had other things to do and these things were more urgent.  The upgrade would not show a sufficient return on investment (ROI) to mitigate any delays in the other projects.  The efficiency gains from software’s better performance and new functions would not gain us enough time to bring the other projects back on track if we delayed them to take the upgrade. The general disruption in the staff schedule to manage the supplier visits couldn’t be spared.  Staff training needed time and the business quality system (process definition, way of working) would also need an update. By the time I costed this out, the cost of change was many times the cost of the upgrade at full price.

It is vital that a portfolio of projects is managed in a way that considers how resources are used and the requirements of all the projects.

Now there is one upgrade I want and need: a new mobile (cell) phone.  I know that the ROI is justified but other projects on the books mean I can’t take the upgrade for a few weeks.  I have to balance that against the risk of leaving it too long (my current phone is looking worn out).  Timing will be everything.

The true cost of change is not the price tag – it is the cost of making it happen when you consider what can’t happen because you are making the change.


About 3triangles
Helping organisations make change happen in 3 key areas: strategic change, deliver tactical impacts, efficient and effective processes. All blog content (c) 2009 - 2012 Carol Long and Three Triangles Performance Ltd

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