by Ian Saunders, Antony Aitken, Ray Charlton and David Flatman

How to get this change back on track

Change programmes and projects – especially large-scale information technology applications – often deliver late and over budget. A common explanation is that previous experience does not predict unknown complications. Also, unrealistic expectations play their part.

Coping with setbacks

Before you can deal with any setback, you need to ask yourself some important questions.

Return to the purpose of the change


  • What is the change meant to deliver?
  • By whom, for whom has this been communicated?
  • How well is this understood?
  • Is the need for the change accepted?

Re-examine the context


  • What has happened since the change was initiated to alter the situation?
  • How relevant is the change now?

Review the resources


  • What people, funds, capabilities, knowledge and skills are needed to deliver the change?
  • Are these available?
  • How well are they being deployed?

Re-visit the timetable


  • Does the schedule make sense?
  • Are the milestones achievable?
  • What’s missing in the delivery plan?

Renew commitment


  • As champion or change leader or contributor, is my heart in the change? How will I demonstrate my belief and support?