14 May 2007

Change Management – the ADKAR framework

Project success relies upon more than just building the right tools and handing them over.

Today project teams are asked to implement a holistic solution to a business problem. This often means the solution is comprised of people, process and technology. As a result there is a significant change management effort that the project team is expected to lead, manage and support.

Project managers often take the phrase Change Management to use in the context of managing scope. Change management is much, much more than scope management and this co-opting of the phrase exhibits the Project industry's prejudice for the hard scientific management approach of the engineering world. Rather, the humanistic view of change management used in social sciences, including management itself is the more useful and appropriate definition for project management.

In the late nineties the ADKAR change management model was developed by Prosci as a process for managing people through organisational change. Prosci recognise that people don’t just take on change when you roll out a new business process or system. In fact their research suggests that failing to effectively manage change is one of the top three reasons for project failure.

ADKAR standards for the five phases people need to be taken on through their change journey. ADKAR stands for Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability and Reinforcement.
  • Awareness of the need to change
  • Desire to participate and support the change
  • Knowledge of how to change (and what the change looks like)
  • Ability to implement the change on a day-to-day basis
  • Reinforcement to keep the change in place

They are outcomes rather than activities, which is useful for integrating it into an outcomes focused project plan.

You can read more about ADKAR at Prosci's Change-Management site.

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