What Is Prosci’s Project Change Triangle (PCT)?

Prosci’s Project Change Triangle (PCT) is a 3-point framework that can improve the success rates and the outcomes of organizational change projects.

By understanding and applying this model, business leaders and change managers can:

  • Ensure that the project meets its objectives
  • Projects achieve their ROI goals
  • Changes are completed on time and budget

Like Prosci’s ADKAR model, the PCT model is an understandable and practical tool that can be easily used to gauge a project’s health and performance.

Below, we’ll look at the three key elements of the PCT model in detail.

What Is Prosci’s Project Change Triangle (PCT)?

As the name suggests, Prosci’s Project Change Triangle evaluates project health based upon three key elements.

Those are:

Leadership/Sponsorship

Change leaders, business leaders, and executive sponsors must play an active role in any project for it to be successful. 

They are, after all, the ones who proactively spearhead a project and push it forward. That commitment and motivation is necessary for inspiring other managers and frontline employees, who need to know that the leaders truly back a project. 

Project Management

The second corner covers the logistical, administrative, and technical aspects of the project. 

This includes tasks such as balancing time and cost, goal-setting, managing employees, designing business process changes, and overseeing resource allocation.

Change Management

Change management tends to focus on the human side of a change project. 

Since employees are the ones who will actually drive the project forward, it is crucial to provide them with the tools, skills, and knowledge they need to succeed. 

At the same time, change managers must be able to motivate employees and cultivate a voluntary desire for success – employees, after all, cannot be compelled to embrace change, they can only be encouraged and coached.

Balancing the Triangle

One central idea behind the PCT model is that, in order for a project to be successful, it must have all three of these elements.

If a project is imbalanced, its performance will suffer in some way.

Here are a few of many examples of what could happen when the triangle is imbalanced:

  • If a project lacks commitment from leaders then it may lack the vision and momentum it needs to succeed
  • If a project lacks project management then resources may be allocated poorly or not at all, leading to inefficiencies or worse
  • If a project lacks change management then communication may break down and employees may resist the change project

On the other hand, the more balanced and complete a project is, the more likely it will be to succeed.

Beyond the PCT Model

Prosci’s PCT model is only one of several models that Prosci has developed to help change managers drive successful change. 

While the model is certainly useful in and of itself, it is even more useful when used in conjunction with its other models. It should also, Prosci points out, be understood in the context of change management.

Prosci points out that there are two levels of change management:

  • Individual change management that focuses on motivating, engaging, and supporting employees
  • Organizational change management that covers the logistical and managerial side of change management

Prosci has two other useful models that cover these two types of change management.

The ADKAR Model

Prosci’s ADKAR model is perhaps their most well-known change management model. This framework outlines five key areas, or stages, to focus on when implementing organizational changes that impact individual employees.

They are:

  • Awareness. First and foremost, employees must be made aware of what the project is, why it matters, how it will impact them, and how it will play out.
  • Desire. Employees must voluntarily engage with a project for it to succeed. Managers, therefore, must find ways to cultivate that desire and inspire engagement.
  • Knowledge. Employees must also have the proper tools, skills, and knowledge. Without them, they won’t be able to enact the changes being requested of them.
  • Ability. Knowledge alone is not enough. Employees need to demonstrate their abilities and actually implement their new skills and behaviors in practice.
  • Reinforcement. Reinforcement mechanisms should be established post-project to ensure that changes stick and employees don’t revert to old behaviors.

Managers involved in the people side of change – such as employee training and development – can make use of this tool to improve employee engagement and overcome obstacles such as employee resistance.

The 3-Phase Organizational Change Model

The 3-phase model, as mentioned, focuses on processes, logistics, management, and the organization itself.

There are three stages in this model:

  • Preparing for change. During this stage, business leaders and managers define a change management strategy, prepare their change teams, and develop a sponsorship model. It should assess how the change will impact the organization, determine who is needed to support the change, and how the project should be conducted.
  • Managing change. Next, change management plans are developed and implemented. It is during this stage that the ADKAR model is implemented. Managers will design and implement important components of individual change management, such as a change management communication strategy, an employee training plan, and resistance management strategies.
  • Reinforcing change. After a project is complete, managers will collect and analyze feedback, assess gaps, manage resistance, implement corrective actions, and reward wins. These mechanisms, as mentioned above, will ensure that changes become permanent. Post-project reviews can also be used as a learning tool and that knowledge can be applied to future projects.

This change management model can be very useful for designing and implementing a high-level project plan. 

However, as Prosci notes, it is important not to focus only on one specific model or side of change management. For best results, they should be used together to maximize the chances that a project will meet its intended outcomes.

Chris is the Lead Author & Editor of Change Blog. Chris established the Change blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to Change Management.