Refresh your Change Management tool kit (1/6)! New PROSCI’s 3-Phase Process, an intro.

02 December 2021

What’s new on the Change Management front? Keep on reading to catch up with the latest updates on PROSCI’s methodology. In this post, we go back to the basics, with a twist!

author picture Article written by Renaud de Lombaert

Familiar with PROSCI’s methods? Here is an opportunity to dust off your knowledge and incorporate developments into your daily practice. New to the discipline of Change Management? Here is everything you need to know about the global leader in CM solutions. Get off to a great start or refresh your tool kit with our brand-new series of posts. This is the closest thing to a refresher course, and it’s packed with infographics you don’t want to miss!

In this first instalment, we give you a taste of what’s to come before we go back to the basics … with a twist.

Why the update and what to expect.

If change wasn’t hard enough, crisis-led changes pose massive human challenges. Those are unprecedented times. In a world marked by escalating levels of uncertainty, we need flexible and easy-to-use tools to deal with the people side of change. That is exactly what PROSCI is striving for with this 2021 update. So, what’s new in this release?

Backed by 20 years of research into what makes change successful (or less so), the core methodological assumptions remain. PROSCI brings you “structured, adaptable, repeatable strategies and plans aimed at driving adoption and usage”. But they have been expanded and repackaged in a format that makes them more actionable, hence more effective.

Beyond the PROSCI’s 3 Phase-process described in this post, expect revisions on 5 related aspects and tools:  

  • The Prosci Change Triangle Model (PCT) has been augmented with a success assessment test.   
  • For the sake of completeness, the Risk Assessment now integrates and reflects a broader range of risks.
  • The foundational ADKAR model that describes individual transitions through a sequence of 5 steps (Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability, Reinforcement) becomes ADKAR Blueprint to power and guide Change Management plans.
  • Change Management plans designed by PROSCI are more flexible to use and combine (number, depth, type).
  • Change Management roles can be quickly identified and easily activated thanks to the introduction of a role roster.

If you are a Certified Practitioner ready to roll out PROSCI's game-changing new tools, consider attending our one-day Methodology Application Program.

The 3-phase process, simplified.

Any “change” is in fact the result of a 3-step process. You go from a current state to a future state, through a transition phase. Driving the change also occurs in 3 stages:

  • prepare approach, defining the gap between the present state and the future you envision
  • manage change, implementing CM plans to help people go through their own individual transitions
  • sustain outcomes, to avoid slipping back into old habits and mitigate late-stage resistance

Change doesn’t rest exclusively on CM experts’ shoulders, and it happens one person at a time. Lacklustre communication is the enemy. PROSCI’s revised 3 phase-process (Infographics © PROSCI) involves asking plain language questions accessible to non-practitioners to help set and break down goals into activities. Each of the 3 phases is attached to a single deliverable.

Keep in mind that what follows is an intro designed to help you get the big picture change process and rationale – before we dive into each part and detailed plans in later instalments. 


Phase 1. Prepare approach.

The overarching goal of phase 1 is to “position the change for success” by “developing a customised and comprehensive approach to it”.  What you should end up with is a robust Change Management strategy. Let’s do a walk-through of the questions and tasks involved.

  • Define Success: What are we trying to achieve?

In short, what are we talking about? Is the change about implementing a new ERP, or perhaps new hybrid working routines? Name it first, then define what success should like. How do operational processes or the workplace look after the change? Describe the future state in vivid terms to help people align with your vision and own the change.

  • Define Impact: Who has to do their jobs differently and how?

Identify all impacted groups, the ones expected to be using the new software or working remotely. Evaluate how much of an impact the change will have on the way they perform their daily tasks. How and in which ways are each of these groups specific? Define adoption and usage (proficiency).

  • Define Approach: What will it take to achieve success?

What are the risks associated with the change? Addressing this aspect is every bit as important and should help you craft a customised change management approach. Expect resistance to emerge, so list tactics to deal with them upfront. Identify CM resources / structures (CM team as a stand-alone unit or merged with PM, HR, …) and key roles to be activated (sponsors, managers, …). Once this is done, align the roadmap with the time line of the project.

Phase 2. Manage change.

Prepare for action and execute. The purpose of Phase 2 is to drive “adoption and usage by creating, implementing and adapting plans that will help people operate their individual transition”. The aggregation of these plans and actions is your Master Change Management Plan.

  • Plan and Act: What will we do to prepare, equip and support people?

Structure the change process with the ADKAR Blueprint and produce Change Management plans accordingly to ensure steady progress and people ownership. Most important plans include the Sponsor Plan and Communications Plan. Check out our ADKAR Blueprint intro for a heads-up. Make sure that CM keyplayers are well-equipped and ready to step into their role, either to promote the change (sponsors and influencers), cascade the change (managers) or implement new working routines or processes on the frontline (employees).     

  • Track Performance: How are we doing?

You cannot course-correct, adapt or address resistance if you have no solid monitoring structure. This is core to any Change Management system. Establish a tracking calendar to measure progress and how far along the ADKAR journey people really are. This is also a great time to take stock of what goes well, understand why, what opportunities this creates and how to keep improving

  • Adapt Actions: What adjustments do we have to make?

Be ready to pivot as things unfold. This is especially the case when working in an Agile environment. In Phase 2, expect to spend a good amount of time on adjusting your strategy and implementing adaptive actions.

Phase 3. Sustain Outcomes.

Measure outcomes and reinforce. Phase 3 is about “making sure the change is adopted and the organisation is committed to doing what is needed to sustain the change.” This is the key to long-term success.

  • Review Performance: Now, where are we? Are we done yet?

Evaluate ADKAR results. Most importantly, get feedback to leverage lessons learned and pass along knowledge. Beware that the closeout of Change Management cannot happen without a plan to reinforce the change.

  • Activate Sustainment: What do we need to ensure the change sticks?

Change can be short-lived if nothing is done beyond “formal implementation”. Identify the gaps and goals. Design reinforcement actions, schedule activities and get the right people in the game, always making sure they are prepared for the task (role activation). Treat sustainment as an extension of Phase 2.

  • Transfer Ownership: Who will assume ownership and sustain outcomes?

Transfer knowledge and assets to whoever is involved in the initiative and impacted in the long run. Last but not least, do celebrate successes. This is a big part of making the change come alive … and stay alive.

Stay tuned to learn more about PROSCI’s updated methodology in upcoming blogs. Eager to dive into it right now? Discover our Methodology Application program for PROSCI Certified Practitioners. 

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