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Change management case study series:
Using ADKAR and the PCT to Strengthen Lean Six Sigma Success

By Ric McCormick
Special guest author for the Change Management Learning Center

Working as a Lean Six Sigma black belt for a pharmaceutical solutions provider, I have to ensure I dedicate the required amount of effort to multiple projects running in parallel. Knowing merely the deliverables available at each phase for each project did not give the visibility required to effectively manage all aspects of a product portfolio.

Having used Prosci's change management methodology for some time, I was excited to see the team's work on PCT and looked to integrate this into the Lean Six Sigma approach.

From a single project to enterprise level, the power of ADKAR and the Prosci Project Change Triangle (PCT) can greatly increase visibility and responsiveness over Lean Six Sigma projects and programmes.

The Change Management Learning Center is starting a new case study series this year. Email a Learning Center editor if you are interested in contributing a case study to this exciting new tutorial series.



Lean Six Sigma, implemented at a site, or enterprise level is a large organizational cultural change. Implemented as a series of tools alone almost guarantees failure. Implemented with a robust change management strategy and methodology greatly increases the success of a LSS programme.

The Lean Six Sigma Define, Measure, Analyse, Improve and Control (DMAIC) phases link clearly with Prosci's ADKAR change management Methodology and Tools (See Figure 1).

Figure 1: ADKAR and DMAIC

Once a Lean Six Sigma project has been chartered by a sponsor, the project team (typically cross-functional) is formed. During the launch the team are introduced to the project goals and given the required level of training in the methodology to be used.

On project launch it is imperative that the team understand the change resulting from the project and are on board from day 1. Using the Prosci ADKAR worksheet for Business Change Management during the launch, following an overview of ADKAR, is a powerful way to assess the team's interpretation of the project goals and it's likelihood of success.

Remember, for most project team members, being part of a team of this nature may be a large change in itself. The business' past history with respect to projects and initiatives will have a large impact on team member's buy in to the project.


Using ADKAR to Shape the Project and Gel the Team

At the end of the project launch session, explain clearly the Business Change Management Worksheet and give the team a suitable deadline prior to the next session to complete the assessment, ask the team to complete the assessment using their interpretation of the project and its effect on the business.

Collating the Responses

Responses to the assessments can be collated into a template (similar to that in Figure 2) allowing a quick graphical overview of the team's thoughts on the anticipated changes and their impact.


Figure 2: Team ADKAR Profile

Individually, the responses are a powerful insight into the team member's vision of the project. Collectively, the responses can go beyond this and be leveraged to bring the team together. From the profile it is easy to see the overall view of the team and how the views of individual team members compare.

  • Are the team's profiles coherent?
  • Does one team member have a significantly differing profile to the rest of the team?
  • Are there one or more parts of the assessment where the team clearly differ?

Discussing the Change and Moulding the Project

In the next project session, discuss the profile with the team, highlighting the overall profile and where clear differences lie (keeping all responses and scores anonymous promotes a much more open discussion). To highlight the latter bring up a collection of each of the comments from each of the ADKAR sections across each of the assessments. Discuss the comments in turn, with respect to the project as a whole and to different insights from each of the team members.

Using the assessment on paper and discussing as a team allows all to express their views either vocally or anonymously. This works as very much a 'cards on the table' exercise where project deliverables can be defined to meet the concerns of the team relating to the project success and certainly cements the DESIRE aspect of the team itself.

Many positive benefits have been seen using the assessment in this way from identification of an extra business benefit and lean opportunity in the project to identifying during the Define phase the need to change the team structure at later project phases to ensure success.


Using the Prosci Project Change Triangle (PCT) in Toll Gates

It is clearly important to review the health of a Lean Six Sigma project at each of the DMAIC toll gates. This is typically performed on the project deliverables and schedule alone. Being able to capture the project health also with respect to both sponsorship and change management gives full visibility of true project health at each toll gate review.

Lean Six Sigma toll gate reviews are completed at the conclusion of each of the DMAIC phases of the project to assess with the sponsor (and the team) if the project is ready to progress to the next DMAIC phase or if the project is to be abandoned or if more work is required in the current phase before continuing.

Using the PCT tool available at, on a project by project basis, go through the questions scoring 1 to 3 on each. This gives a PCT score for the Project Management, Sponsorship and Change Management elements of a Lean Six Sigma project at the toll gate. Scores for some questions may be standard across all projects at a point in time based on the business' current culture/environment.

The assessment can be completed either by the project lead, lead and sponsor, or the entire team with the sponsor. If completed by the project lead alone, this must be discussed with the sponsor at the gate review. The main factor is to be open and honest when answering the questions.

For any questions scoring less than 3 discuss with the team and sponsor (even site leads / business leads if required) corrective actions necessary to increase the project health in each of the 3 key areas for the next project phase.

Good practice is to use the PCT score in project dashboards used at each project session with the team.


Using a PCT Dashboard for Project / Programme Visibility

At the Black Belt, Master Black Belt, GM or Deployment Leader position, visibility over project health for multiple projects is of necessary to ensure successful deployment of Lean Six Sigma across a business. Having simple visibility across multiple projects / sites / business units beyond mere project deliverables and dates facilitates quick recognition and remedy of localised issues preventing programme success.

In the example dashboard below (Figure 3) the ADKAR profile from the Define Phase is used to indicate the phases in the project expected to be the toughest going (See Figure 1 for the ADKAR:DMAIC link).

Next we have the Phase gates planned date versus actual.

Following this is the key PCT analysis throughout the project lifecycle. At each phase we have the PCT scores for Sponsorship, Project Management and Change Management followed by an indicator of whether project risk has increased / decreased since the previous phase.

The final display is an overview of PCT health across the project phases.

Figure 3: PCT Dashboard

Using this (or a similar) dashboard across multiple projects, multiple projects across multiple sites or many multiple projects across business units facilitates quick recognition of shortcomings in all project areas across a business.

  • Training needs can be identified at a belt or Site / business level.
  • Sponsorship issues can be identified at the same levels.
  • Projects of declining health are easily visible.
  • Projects / Belts / Sites / Business units can easily be recognised and leveraged for best practices in key areas across the business.

Much more information can be gained from such a visual system, the examples above are but a few.


Outcomes / the Next Steps

It's still quite early days for us here using the PCT, though we've been using the ADKAR profiles with much success for several years now. Whilst reviewing the material for this tutorial and discussions with Prosci there is still much more we can do to further bolster our successes in Lean Six Sigma here at Catalent, Including:

  • Repeating the ADKAR assessment in each project phase to analyse and leverage the insights gained from the changes in the team profile.
  • More proactive use of the corrective actions from the PCT assessment to ensure improved scores in later project phases.

The impact of using these tools and techniques here with project teams has been impressive. The ability to openly review a project and its implementation in our current culture, to get the buy in of a project team from day 1 and to address their own concerns and resistance with agreed actions, changing the shape of the project almost guarantees success.

Feedback from the teams on the use of these tools has been positive across the board.




About the Author:
Ric McCormick is a certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt working for Catalent Pharma Solutions ( in the UK and can be reached at


About the models:
If you are interested in the tools or models referenced in this case study, please email a Prosci analyst or call 970-203-9332 for more information.




The Change Management Learning Center is starting a new case study series this year.
Email a Learning Center editor if you are interested in contributing a case study to this exciting new tutorial series.





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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 U.S.
  • 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 2008 ($449) - online tool including Prosci's change management methodology, eLearning modules and downloadable templates, assessments, presentations and checklists
  • Change Management Pilot Professional 2008 ($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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Email a Prosci analyst or call 970-203-9332 with questions about the methodology, its application, or finding the right resources to support your change management activities.




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