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Establishing the scope of change management

In a previous tutorial released by Prosci and the Change Management Learning Center, we examined the definition of change management and reviewed the three clauses that make up that definition: 1) the set of tools, processes, skills and principles 2) for managing the people side of change 3) to achieve the required outcomes of the project or change initiative (read the full definition of change management tutorial). This tutorial presents a taxonomy for making sense of the scope of change management - including what is in scope and what falls outside of scope. Creating a working definition and scope for change management enables practitioners to be more successful and work effectively with others in the organization who are implementing change. This is also a topic for ACMP (Association of Change Management Professionals) that is currently under development. The goal of the ACMP work in this area is to introduce a working framework that can serve as a foundation for discussion on this topic in order to define the boundaries for change management, while at the same time creating an inclusive community for change practitioners.


Introduction - why it is important to establish scope

As with any discipline or methodology - it is important to establish the scope of change management. Boundaries are important to establish what activities fall under the change management umbrella and what work runs in parallel or conjunction with change management. Benefits of establishing a clear scope include:

  • Dividing work and avoiding overlap between disciplines
  • Ensuring that all key elements are addressed
  • Showing the relationship between existing techniques and approaches
  • Defining the skills and competencies to perform work effectively in a given area

In addition, there is an inherent risk of not clearly establishing scope. It becomes very easy for one group or function to believe that they are responsible for work that falls under the work responsibilities of another group - resulting in confusion and ineffective work steams. For example, imagine the confusion that would result in developing a new product if there was not a clear distinction between software development, hardware development, physical design and system test. The specific skills and competencies needed to develop software are very different from the skills need to design circuit boards or the physical housing for a product. In the same way, the skills and competencies for project management are specific and very different from change management. Understanding the scope and boundaries enables both functions to work effectively together, and to avoid any overlap of activities that may create conflicts for the project. The boundaries also enable the separation of solution design, development and implementation from the actions required to manage the technical side and people side of that solution's deployment.


Introducing a taxonomy

The schematic below presents a taxonomy that can serve as a discussion framework for the key phases or elements of implementing a change within an organization, beginning with the recognition that a change is needed and ending with the realization of the desired benefits sought by the effort.



Element Objective Examples
Recognizing that a change is needed To identify the internal or external stimulus resulting in a need for change
  • Internal performance
  • Customer inputs
  • Competitive threats
  • Financial results
  • New business opportunities
  • Regulatory changes
  • Strategic planning
Solution design and development To create a solution to improve the performance of the organization based on the recognition that a change is needed
  • Vision and strategy development
  • Process design / BPR
  • New technology
  • Restructuring
  • Merger/Acquisition
  • OD interventions
  • New product offering
  • New service offering
Solution implementation To install a solution that meets technical requirements and is adopted and utilized
  • Pilots and trials
  • Systems and tools deployment
  • New process implementation
  • Transition to new organization structure and job roles
  • Implementation of compensation, appraisal or incentive programs
Project management To manage the tasks, resources, budget, time and scope of technical design and implementation
  • Project planning
  • Schedule development and tracking
  • Resource management
  • Budget development and control
  • Issue tracking
  • Project oversight
  • Project reporting
Change management To encourage employees to rapidly, completely and proficiently make the required changes to their day-to-day work
  • Readiness assessments
  • Change portfolio management
  • Change saturation analysis
  • Employee engagement
  • Change management strategy
  • Change management planning
  • Change sponsorship
  • Communications during change
  • Training new skills and abilities
  • Coaching employees through transitions
  • Resistance management
  • Performance measurement



While some overlap between disciplines is normal and to be expected, this taxonomy will be a starting point for discussions about scoping change management. This framework can assist with internal discussions about "who is doing what" and how can you make sense out of the many elements of successful change - from recognizing the need to developing the solution to managing the technical side and people side of the solution deployment. The goal is to create an inclusive framework that allows the discussion to separate out the many skills that a change practitioner may have (they may be project managers, change managers and contribute to the solution design) from the disciplines that are being used to successfully realize change.




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Share your comments on the scope of change management
We want to know what you think. Please take a minute to share your thoughts about the scope of change management and the taxonomy presented in this tutorial. This taxonomy will be used in the work conducted by the Association of Change Management Professionals (ACMP) related to standards and certification, so your input is appreciated.

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Prosci Change Management Certification

Program highlights:
  • Apply the methodology as you learn it on a real 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:

  • January 18 - 20, 2011: Tampa, FL area - OPEN
  • January 25 - 27, 2011: San Francisco, CA area - OPEN
  • January 25 - 27, 2011: Washington DC area - FULL
  • February 1 - 3, 2011: Denver, CO area - OPEN
  • February 15 - 17, 2011: Tampa, FL area - OPEN
  • March 8 - 10, 2011: San Francisco, CA area - OPEN
  • March 15 - 17, 2011: Chicago, IL area - OPEN
  • March 22 - 24, 2011: Washington DC area - OPEN

Visit the certification training page

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

"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 participant

"This was the most effective and engaging course I've ever taken. I feel that I can truly use this knowledge in my personal and professional life immediately."
- Lisa S., February 2009 participant

"Awesome - truly one of the most beneficial programs I have ever attended - immediate application on the job!"
- Robin S., March 2009 participant

"This program absolutely over-delivered my expectations. I now feel more prepared and better equipped to do my job."
- Paul S., January 2009 participant



Tools for applying change management:

  • Change management certification ($2800)- 3-day program where you bring a project you are working on and apply all of the assessments and tools as you learn them - taught by former fortune 500 executives at locations across the US
  • Best Practices in Change Management benchmarking report ($289) - 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 Toolkit ($389) - hardcopy 3-ring binder presenting Prosci's change management methodology, includes templates, checklists and assessments for managing the people side of change (includes USB drive)
  • Change Management Guide for Managers and Supervisors ($189) - tools to help supervisors engage and coach their direct reports through change (includes 4 copies of the Employee's Survival Guide)
  • Change Management Pilot ($449) - online tool including Prosci's change management methodology, eLearning modules and downloadable templates, assessments, presentations and checklists
  • Change Management Pilot Professional ($559) - the content of the Change Management Pilot plus additional benchmarking data and an online version of the Change Management Guide for Managers and Supervisors
  • Change Management: the people side of change ($18.95) - a primer for anyone involved in organizational change that addresses why manage change, individual change management and organizational change management
  • Employee's Survival Guide to Change (14.95) - 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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