Change is inevitable and a crucial aspect of progress and growth in any organisation. However, being the person responsible for leading a change initiative can be challenging. 

Whether you’re a sponsor, programme director, or project manager, it falls upon you to identify potential obstacles ahead of time to ensure the success of your change.

Recognising early warning signs can save you from major setbacks and steer your change initiative towards success. In this blog, we’ll explore some red flags that indicate your change might be in trouble.

1. Budget Underutilisation

While overspending is a commonly acknowledged problem, underspending can be just as big of an issue.

If you notice that your change initiative’s budget isn’t being fully utilised, it might be a sign that people aren’t clear on the objectives or that delivery will slow down.

Dig deeper to understand the reasons behind this issue and ensure resources are efficiently allocated to support the change.

2. Lack of Consensus

Healthy tension between the business and project teams are natural during change initiatives. However, if you observe an increasing volume or frequency of conflicts, it’s time to pay attention.

A lack of consensus can hinder decision-making and slow down the change process.

Encourage open communication and collaboration to address potential conflicts early on.

3. Delays in Gathering Metrics

Monitoring progress is vital for any change initiative. If you find it challenging to get essential metrics like progress, spending, and forecast to implementation, it can be a sign that something is wrong.

Metrics provide insights into the project’s health and performance, enabling timely adjustments and corrective actions.

4. Lack of Enthusiasm

Enthusiasm and motivation are crucial driving forces behind successful change initiatives.

While not every meeting may be exhilarating, frequent disinterest and people going through the motions should draw your attention.

Engage with team members to understand their concerns and identify ways to reignite their passion for the project.

5. Missed Milestones

Milestones act as guideposts, marking progress and ensuring the change initiative stays on track. Consistently missing milestones can be a major red flag.

Regularly monitor and analyse progress to identify any negative trends and take corrective actions promptly.

6. Shifting Scope

Flexibility is essential in any change initiative, but constantly shifting goals and scope can lead to failure. Agile approaches are beneficial, but changes must be well-managed and communicated effectively. Establish clear boundaries and ensure alignment among stakeholders to prevent project drift.

7. Lack of Challenge

Sometimes an indication of poor buy-in, if nobody’s challenging you it can also be because of an over dominant personality in the team.


Spotting these warning signs early in your change initiative is crucial for addressing potential challenges. They serve as signposts, guiding you towards areas that require attention and intervention. However, the real power lies in how you respond to these signs.

If you need help responding to warning signs or navigating change Cross 8 can help. We can provide support, guidance, and assessment tools to identify potential issues, assess progress, and gauge the overall health of your change initiative.