Which Change Management Methodology is Right for Your Organization?

Posted by Paula Alsher on Thu, Jul 21, 2016 @ 11:30 AM

Are you in the market for a change management methodology?  Perhaps you’ve never used a structured process before and are facing a daunting, transformational change.  Or maybe you’d like to evaluate your current approach, because what worked for your organization 7 or 10 years ago isn’t working in today's environment. 

Choose the Right Change Management Methodology

Whatever your reasoning is, we know there are a lot of choices out there.  So how do you go about knowing which is the right option for your organization?  Aren’t all change management methodologies basically the same? 

Of course most change management methodologies are packaged in user-friendly ways, and more often than not they include tools and templates that project teams can use.  Some are home-grown and others are backed by years of research on best practices and/or behavioral science principles.

Based on decades of work on change management projects, we’ve come up with some critical evaluation criteria you can use when trying to find the right change management approach for your organization.


Is the Methodology Structured?

Just like Lean/Six Sigma is a problem-solving, process improvement methodology, your change management methodology should be a structured process that is applied to business changes to manage the human elements of a change.  A structured change management methodology ensures you are not taking a "hit or miss" approach where one project team does all the right things (and gets adoption and value realization) and another team misses key elements or steps.  Structure requires more than tools and templates!


Is the Methodology Flexible?  

Some frameworks, such as Prosci’s ADKAR Model are linear in scope.  They provide users with a roadmap for implementing a change by completing a prescribed set of tools and templates.  Linear frameworks can be good when dealing with routine changes within a specific department or business unit.

However, in our experience, not every change is linear.  In fact, many implementations are quite unpredictable and require a process that can be flexible based on what is occurring at the moment rather than what is next on the to-do list.


Does the Framework Provide Guidance on What to Do in a Variety of Situations?

The goal of “implementation management,” shouldn’t be "to do" a process, but rather to have core principles guide you on what you should be doing, given the day-to day project realities and challenges.  The change framework should be a repeatable process but one where you don't have to apply every step, every time.  Some judgment should be involved in determining which strategies and tactics are needed, when.  In other words, a good change management methodology will be designed to be used in any situation in a “fit for purpose way.” 


Is the Methodology Robust Enough to Address Systemic Changes?  

Ask yourself does the methodology provide guidance on how to address highly complex changes that cross multiple business units-- changes like mergers and acquisitions, one company solutions, cultural changes, etc? A systemic change management methodology is the framework for building competency in all of the key groups involved in implementing organizational change.  This may include at a minimum:

  • leaders who are Sponsors of these changes
  • program and project management teams
  • business process improvement groups
  • IT professionals
  • HR and OD professionals

If all of these critical players aren't knowledgeable about your change management practices, then you aren't taking a systemic approach.  


Does the Methodology Have a Business Focus or is it More Conceptual?  

Some frameworks are more about getting people on board with the change rather than about business outcomes and Return on Investment.  For example, most "home-grown" change management methodologies aren't focused on supporting the way a business actually operates and implements.  A change management methodology should be focused on total value realization as defined by the following 5 measures of success:

  1. On time

  2. Within budget

  3. Business Objectives

  4. Technical objectives and

  5. Human Objectives

Only when all five metrics have been met will you have behavior change.  And without behavior change, there is no true change, which in turn means Return on Investment has not been achieved!


AIM: A Sophisticated Methodology for Big, Hard Changes

Acclerating Implementation Management (AIM) Change Management Methodology

Big, hard changes require more than a set of tools, templates and/or checklists to support the human side of the implementation {Tweet This}! The Accelerating Implementation Methodology (AIM) is a flexible, but business-disciplined change management methodology that is based on more than 30 years of field research.  It is both systematic and systemic.  And because AIM is driven by data, it appeals to business people, scientific professionals, IT professionals, as well as HR/OD professionals.


So now we ask, what change management approach are you using?  Is it the right one for your organization? 

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Topics: Change Management Methodology, Accelerating Implementation Methodology (AIM), Comparing Change Management Methodologies