Project Management

Incorporating Change Management Using the ADKAR Framework as a New Project Manager

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Categories: New Practitioners

As a new project manager, mastering the art of change management is pivotal for the successful delivery of projects.

The ADKAR framework by Prosci, which stands for Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability, and Reinforcement, is a tried-and-true model that offers a step-by-step approach to ensuring effective change management.

Here's how to embed the ADKAR principles into your project management practices:

Awareness: Recognize the Need for Change

Start by communicating the reasons and necessity for change:

  • Engage stakeholders: Hold informative sessions with stakeholders, making them aware of the challenges at hand and the reasons necessitating the change.
  • Open dialogues with your team: Foster an environment where your team can understand and discuss the bigger picture, ensuring that everyone knows why the change is imperative.

Desire: Foster a Positive Attitude Towards Change

Inspire motivation and support for the change:

  • Highlight benefits: Explain the advantages of the change to stakeholders and team members individually, focusing on the benefits pertinent to them.
  • Address concerns: Take the time to understand any resistance or fears and address them effectively.

Knowledge: Equip Your Team with the Necessary Skills

As change often requires new skills, ensure your team is well-equipped:

  • Identify gaps: Determine the new competencies or skills needed to adapt to the change.
  • Training & workshops: Provide the necessary training, whether through in-house sessions or external courses.

Ability: Implement the Change Effectively

Now, focus on enabling your team to put their new knowledge into practice:

  • Provide resources: Make sure the team has access to the right tools and resources to incorporate the change.
  • Continuous support: Offer ongoing mentorship and guidance, ensuring everyone can apply what they've learned.

Reinforcement: Solidify and Sustain the Change

Ensure the change remains effective and doesn't regress:

  • Celebrate wins: Recognize and reward milestones related to the change, making the team feel valued.
  • Feedback loops: Regularly solicit feedback from team members and stakeholders, understanding areas for improvement.
  • Adjust strategies: Use the feedback to refine and tweak your approach, ensuring long-lasting results.

Utilizing the ADKAR Framework in Project Management

When incorporating the ADKAR framework into your projects, remember:

  • Communication is key: At each step of the ADKAR model, ensure clear communication, maintaining transparency and building trust.
  • Flexibility: No two projects are the same. Adjust and customize the application of the ADKAR framework as per the unique demands of each project.
  • Iterative reviews: After integrating any change, review its efficacy periodically, ensuring that it aligns with project goals and offers tangible benefits.

Final Thoughts

For new project managers, using a structured approach like the ADKAR framework can be a game-changer, demystifying the complexities of change management. By understanding and applying each step of this model, you can ensure smoother transitions, greater project success, and a more cohesive team.

Posted on: August 10, 2023 03:15 PM | Permalink

Comments (4)

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I like the ADKAR framework and feel it is important to keep change management in mind on projects where it is needed. However, it might be a bit much for a new project manager. Trying to do both on a large project can be too much for an experienced project manager.

In the training, we talked about having a change manager separate from the project manager. They should work closely together and you can include change management tasks in the project schedule, but you might also need a somewhat separate plan for change management as CM tasks can continue after the project is over and the PM has moved on.

Yes, change management is important for the PM to understand and make sure it's happening, but if your project really needs a change manager there's a good chance you should at least consider having someone other than the project manager fill that role.

I wholeheartedly agree with you, Ghia.

The Prosci Methodology is a structured, adaptable, and repeatable approach to enable the people side of change and deliver organizational results. With this methodology, an organization can easily navigate the complexities of change and attain its objectives.

The Prosci Methodology comprises three key components:
a) Prosci Change Triangle (PCT) Model: A framework depicting the four critical aspects of any successful organizational change: success, leadership/sponsorship, project management, and change management
b) Prosci 3-Phase Process: The critical link between individual change and Organizational Change Management (Prepare Approach - Manage Change - Sustain Outcomes)
c) Prosci ADKAR Model: A change management model for individual change

Although the ADKAR Model is not a methodology, it is an essential component of the Prosci Methodology.

From the perspective of the governance model (to Aron's point), here is the link to Prosci's article elaborating on the role of the change manager and the project manager on a project (integrated project delivery); the article was published in 2020, but I believe it's still relevant.

On top of that, here are two interesting sources published by Prosci
Change Management and Project Management: A Side-by-Side Comparison

Best Practices in Change Management – 12th Edition Executive Summary

ADKAR is good, understanding Change Intelligence (CQ) is better. I think that model, by Dr. Barbara Trautlein, takes the human (and project) aspects of change into account most thoroughly.

Thank you very much

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