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Change saturation and the importance of establishing
and managing the portfolio of change


How much change is too much?

Change saturation conceptualizes how much change is going on in the organization (change disruption) compared to how much change the organization can handle (change capacity). An organization is at or past the point of change saturation when there are so many changes going on that it can no longer effectively handle additional changes. In other words, when change disruption is greater than change capacity.


Organizations are dealing with more and more change

A growing number of organizations are experiencing change saturation and foresee even more changes coming their way in the future. Of the 650 organizations that participated in Prosci's 2011 Best Practices in Change Management benchmarking study, a majority (71%) expected the amount of change to increase in the next two years. Only 8% expected the amount of organizational change to decrease.

These expectations were spot on. Since Prosci's 2007 study, the percentage of participants nearing, at or past the point of saturation has continued to increase. Seventy-three percent of participants in the 2011 study said they were past, at or nearing the point of change saturation, up from 66% in 2009 and 59% in 2007. NEW FINDING - the trend continues, as Prosci's 2013 study has found that 77% of respondents are past, at or nearing the saturation point (Prosci is currently analyzing data from the 2013 study - if you need information now, check out the 2012 edition of Best Practices in Change Management).


Consequences of too much change

The amount of change that an organization can or cannot handle is not fixed nor is it arbitrary. Organizations reach change saturation because no one has a high-level view of the entire portfolio of change and the collective impact of those changes on employees. In many organizations, it's a common practice to manage the project portfolio, but this practice does not provide a view of how all of the projects going on impact the people. When the cumulative and collective impact of change is not monitored and managed, people-side consequences arise, which will prevent us from fully achieving the project objectives of each individual change. The consequences can be seen at the individual, project, and organizational levels.

At the individual level in a change saturated environment, employees can become disengaged, frustrated, fatigued, resistant, confused, and more cynical and skeptical of the current changes underway and future changes being introduced because they are already dealing with so much change.

At the project level in a change saturated environment, change projects do not realize benefits, there is a lack of resources to devote to each project, changes are not sustained, and projects fail to gain momentum because priorities are ignored and resources are scarce.

Each of these levels will no doubt have an impact on the organizational level. An organization that is operating at or past the point of change saturation can experience higher turnover, declined productivity, increased absenteeism, loss of focus on business basics, and negative morale.

These consequences are the result of undertaking more change than an organization can handle while neglecting to manage the cumulative changes as a whole. Fortunately, the consequences can be mitigated by establishing, managing and monitoring the portfolio of changes going on in the organization.


Managing the portfolio of change

Recall that, even though your organization might already be managing a project portfolio, portfolio management on the technical side doesn't provide a view of the impact on people. Prosci has a process that adds the people dimension to portfolio management. The Prosci Change Portfolio Management Process follows a solid framework and integrates tools that can be applied to minimize and altogether avoid the individual, project, and organizational level consequences of change saturation. The process consists of five phases for mapping, establishing and managing the change portfolio.

Learn about each step in the Prosci Change Portfolio Management Process in a free webinar:


This process and supporting tools are found in Prosci's Change Portfolio Toolkit ($800 - download the toolkit overview or order) which offers guidance for getting your change portfolio off the ground and providing benefit so that your organization can better handle change saturation.

The Prosci Change Portfolio Management Process
& Change Portfolio Toolkit

Phase What you will do Examples of tools provided
1 - Identify
  • Establish the playing field for the portfolio analysis by setting boundaries on the scope of the portfolio - is the portfolio being established for a division, a department or the entire organization?
  • The Change Portfolio Toolkit will help guide you in creating an inventory of the current changes and a listing of different groups in the organization that are being impacted.
  • Change capacity worksheet
  • Scope statement
  • Change inventory worksheet
  • Groups inventory worksheet
2 - Investigate
  • Learn about each change - bring into focus the changes that are part of the portfolio.
  • Prosci's toolkit will help you identify what data to collect and offers assessments that you can use with each change to understand the impacts they have on the organization.
  • Create a "heat map" showing which groups are impacted and to what degree. The heat map is a great tool for communicating about the impact of a change and bringing more clarity to the portfolio.
  • Change Scorecard
  • Change characteristics assessment
  • Organizational attributes assessment
  • Prosci PCT assessment
  • Group Impact Matrix
3 - Analyze
  • Create the portfolio perspective. Prosci's toolkit will support you in creating a number of representations of the portfolio of change.
  • These different perspectives will give you a clearer picture of the change your organization is facing and the implications of the portfolio.
  • Change Heat Maps
  • Organizational Heat Map
  • People risk plot & worksheet
  • Portfolio Dashboard
  • Changes & groups at risk worksheets
4 - Act
  • Complete your mapping work by presenting the portfolio and associated analysis to senior leaders.
  • Encourage them to take action and support your efforts in continually managing the portfolio.
  • Point-in-time worksheet
  • Tips for effective portfolio presentation
  • Presentation template
  • Portfolio action checklist
5 - Monitor, Manage and Control
  • Make the change portfolio part of the ongoing operations of the organization. This final phase ensures ongoing management of the portfolio.
  • Examine how to handle changes that enter the portfolio and those that exit the portfolio.
  • Learn how to conduct analysis on the impact of the portfolio when new changes are proposed.
  • The toolkit will present systems for monitoring the impact of the portfolio on the people of the organization.
  • New change worksheet
  • Change effort "exit interview" worksheet
  • Learning from changes leaving the portfolio
  • ECM components worksheet
  • ECM assessment



When you take on the project of change portfolio management, you become a very valuable resource. You are able to provide the organization with consistent information and a high-level view of the portfolio of change. You provide information that is critical to better performance and improvement. The Change Portfolio Toolkit enables you to:

  • Document the numerous changes impacting your organization
  • Collect pertinent and consistent data on each change
  • Create an executive-level presentation to show how the changes impact and interact with one another
  • Provide a foundation for making more effective decisions about the portfolio of change in your organization

"The ultimate goal of change portfolio management is to help the organization perform better. When organizations are plagued by change saturation and collision of initiatives and projects, everyone suffers. Employees become stressed, confused and frustrated. Changes experience delays and do not deliver their intended results. Ultimately, the organization suffers on several fronts. First, those changes that are necessary for success fall short. Second, overall productivity and performance decline.

"The first step to better managing the portfolio of change is to clearly understand what is happening. The process and tools presented in this toolkit will help bring clarity to the changes happening in your organization - allowing better control and management of the portfolio."

- Excerpt from Prosci's Change Portfolio Toolkit









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Prosci Change Management Certification

"Amazing: these three days are going to save me
hundreds of hours and help me help my company
realize the benefits they seek."
Mike C., April 2011 participant

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Great, applicable training & usable tools."
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"Excellent course. Well worth the investment of
time and money. Excellent job!" Sue A., July 2012


Program highlights:

  • Learn the methodology through practical application to your current project
  • Learn from experienced executive instructors
  • Become part of a change management community
  • Earn 2.4 CEUs, 24 PDUs and 23.5 HRCI recertification credits
  • Walk away with products and course materials worth over $1000

Download the certification program brochure

Upcoming sessions:

  • June 4 - 6, 2013: Washington, DC area - FULL
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  • June 18 - 20, 2013: Denver, CO area
  • June 25 - 27, 2013: Orlando, FL area
  • June 25 - 27, 2013: Washington, DC area - FULL
  • July 9 - 11, 2013: Denver, CO area
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  • July 16 - 18, 2013: San Francisco, CA area
  • July 23 - 25, 2013: Houston, TX area
  • July 23 - 25, 2013: Orlando, FL area

Visit the certification training page

Email a certification inquiry or call
+1-970-203-9332 to register today.

"Awesome! Best training program I have attended in my career!"
Ryan L., May 2012

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"This is the best training that I have ever attended. Now I understand what I need to do when I go back to the office and start to immediately apply what I've learned. Very organized and easy to follow. Great online resource and USB and hard copies."
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"Excellent class - would recommend to anyone." Walt J., August 2012

"This is one of the best programs I have attended. Excellent faculty, outstanding material, and amazing use of experiential learning techniques. Attention to every little detail, comprehensive program, material, great planning, outstanding facilitation."
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"The best training class I have had in years. Goes way beyond the strategy and framework and focuses on real world problems and the tools to solve them."
- Jennifer J., April 2009

"I gained so many skills in such a short amount of time. This training will impact not only my own ability to manage change, but impact our larger organization."
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Offerings for applying Prosci's change management methodologies:


  • Prosci's site licenses are a great solution for building change management capabilities and competencies throughout your organization. With a site license, you can customize and integrate Prosci's world-leading research and methodologies to fit your organization and begin building the individual competencies necessary for true change capability. Contact a Prosci Account Manager at +1-970-203-9332 or to discuss your change management needs and how Prosci's research-based, holistic, easy-to-use solutions can work for you.


  • Change management certification ($2800) - attend Prosci's 3-day certification program where you bring your own current change project to the session and learn to use Prosci's tools through practical application - taught by former fortune 500 executives at locations across the US - includes over $1000 in products, including the Best Practices in Change Management benchmarking report, the Change Management Toolkit and the Change Management Pilot Pro 2012
  • Train-the-trainer ($3500) - learn how to teach Prosci change management training programs in your organization
  • Onsite training - bring Prosci to your location for 3-day certification programs, 4-6 hour executive briefings, 1-day manager programs or 1-day employee programs - call +1-970-203-9332 for more information

Methodology tools:

  • Change Management Toolkit ($389) - hardcopy 3-ring binder presenting the Prosci Change Management Methodology, includes templates, checklists and assessments for managing the people side of change (includes USB)
  • Change Management Pilot Pro 2012 ($489) - online tool including the Prosci Change Management Methodology, eLearning modules and downloadable templates, assessments, presentations and checklists
  • Change Management Guide for Managers and Supervisors ($209) - tools to help supervisors engage and coach their direct reports through change
  • PCT Analyzer ($149/$349) - web-based tool for collecting PCT Assessment data, analyzing results, identifying risks and developing action steps

References and books:

  • Best Practices in Change Management benchmarking report ($289 / quantity discounts available) - journal-style report with lessons learned and best practices from 650 participants, presented in an easy-to-use format - reads as a checklist of what to do and what not to do
  • Change Management: the people side of change ($18.95 / quantity discounts available) - a primer for anyone involved in organizational change that addresses why manage change, individual change management and organizational change management
  • ADKAR: a model for change ($18.95 / quantity discounts available) - the definitive work on the Prosci ADKAR® Model
  • Employee's Survival Guide to Change ($14.95 / quantity discounts available) - a handbook to help employees survive and thrive during change, answers frequently asked questions and empowers employees to take charge of change



*** Prosci also offers leadership packages - groupings of products at discounts that offer you some of the most helpful and common combinations of Prosci change management resources



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