The Change Triangle

Prosci has developed a framework for understanding change projects by highlighting the three critical success factors identified through their extensive body of international research: leadership/sponsorship, project management and change management.

The Change Triangle serves as a useful visual reminder of the importance of addressing the three key factors of project success:

  • Visible, active project leadership/sponsorship.
  • A strong discipline of project management (ensuring that the project is managed on time, on scope and on budget).
  • An established change management program focused on the human dimension of the project, ensuring the conditions for its successful roll-out.

In my experience, organizational culture and management tradition tend to over-emphasize the project management dimension of the triangle, to the exclusion (or at minimum, to the eclipsing) of change management.

Symptoms of this lack of balance in the triangle of successful change include:

  • Conversations about the initiative take place in project management jargon, disconnected from the organization or business results.
  • Tunnel vision on project management outcomes with no consideration on the ultimate project’s return on investment or intended benefits.
  • Systemic resistance to change, often escalating as the project nears completion.

Keep in mind: Your project is not your Gantt chart. Take heed of the staggering statistic that over 70% of large-scale projects fail, and consider the importance of a robust framework based on the pillars of leadership, project management and change management.