Change Management Process
Written by Lisa Kempton
Updated: December 20, 2023
Published: March 29, 2021
Designed for use with organizational change, the Prosci 3-Phase Process is a structured, repeatable and adaptable approach for managing the people side of change.
This easy-to-understand and practical framework serves as a critical link between individual change management and organizational change, enabling practitioners to leverage and scale the change management activities that help impacted individuals move through their transitions.
The Prosci 3-Phase Process
A key component of the overall Prosci Methodology, the Prosci 3-Phase Process guides practitioners through the high-value steps to take and activities to perform during projects and initiatives in order to achieve change success.
Each phase ends with a key deliverable, enabling you to package all the work from a particular phase and communicate it to others. Doing so increases understanding and commitment to the change management process while ensuring alignment among your stakeholders. Each deliverable is flexible, customizable and scalable to fit your unique project and organization.
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An overview of each phase in the Prosci 3-Phase Process follows below.
Phase 1 – Prepare Approach
During this initial phase, practitioners prepare the change management approach to be applied across three stages:
- Define Success – What are we trying to achieve?
- Define Impact – Who has to do their jobs differently and how?
- Define Approach – What will it take to achieve success?
The overall purpose of this initial phase is to position the change for success by developing a customized, scaled change management strategy along with the sponsorship and commitment you need. It is critical to gain support from the primary sponsor and key stakeholders in this phase. Without early commitment, the support you need may never materialize, which significantly jeopardizes success.
The deliverable for Phase 1 – Prepare Approach is the Change Management Strategy, and it informs the activities in Phase 2 – Manage Change.
Phase 2 – Manage Change
During this phase, practitioners develop specific plans to move impacted individuals and the organization through their ADKAR transitions, and learn how to measure, track and adapt performance. This is the longest phase timewise and the most visible to organization and impacted individuals.
The bulk of the change management team’s work gets done in the stages of this central phase:
- Plan and Act – What will we do to prepare, equip and support people?
- Track Performance – How are we doing?
- Adapt Actions – What adjustments do we need to make?
The purpose here is to enable impacted individuals and groups to adopt the initiative or project solutions. To achieve the desired adoption and usage, the change practitioner develops a set of plans that will move individuals and the organization through their ADKAR transitions.
The change management plans required depend on your unique organization, project or initiative. Phase 2 – Manage Change culminates with the Master Change Management Plan deliverable.
Phase 3 – Sustain Outcomes
In this final phase of the Prosci 3-Phase Process, the organization achieves the project’s benefits and focuses on sustaining the outcomes. Key activities take place in three phases:
- Review Performance – Now, where are we?
- Activate Sustainment – What is needed to ensure the change sticks?
- Transfer Ownership – Who will assume ownership and sustain the outcomes?
The purpose of this phase is to reach the desired outcomes from the project or initiative by ensuring adoption, and then equipping the organization to sustain the adopted changes over time.
After assessing delivery in each performance level, Phase 3 – Sustain Outcomes culminates with celebrating successes and then transferring ownership of long-term sustainment activities to the appropriate operational team members.
The deliverable for Phase 3 – Sustain Outcomes is the Change Management Closeout, which ends the formal change management effort for the initiative.
Structured, Repeatable and Adaptable
As a key part of the Prosci Methodology, the Prosci 3-Phase Process enables practitioners to formulate and customize an approach to their change management projects and initiatives. It’s adaptable by design, easily scalable, and flows logically. By progressing through each of the phases and applying the right processes and tools, the Prosci 3-Phase Process establishes the process for activities and actions that will help you succeed at change in your organization.