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Change Portfolio Management

Organizations today are facing, and creating, more change than ever before. The frequency, number, size and importance of change all continue to increase. Senior leaders are focused on making the right decisions and investments with limited capital. Project teams are consumed with finding the right solution to the opportunity or issue they are addressing with their projects. Managers and supervisors are working to keep the business running while implementing changes to how that work gets done. The unfortunate reality, though, is that no one is keeping tabs on all of the change happening - the portfolio of change. Front-line employees are often the only ones who know how much change is actually occurring because they are the ones who encounter it each and every day.

In an effort to address this common and sometimes costly situation, Prosci has developed a process and set of tools for managing the portfolio of change. While there is no silver bullet, the approach highlighted below (and presented in full in the Change Portfolio Toolkit) can help organizations to understand, evaluate and manage the portfolio of changes they face.


Introduction and definition

Change Portfolio Management is the structured approach and set of tools for understanding, evaluating and managing the portfolio of change. It involves taking an inventory of the changes underway and their impact. Some headway has been made in what is being called Project Portfolio Management, but these efforts are often limited to tracking the timing, scope and resource needs of project teams across multiple projects. Change Portfolio Management is different - it aims to show the cumulative and collective impact of the changes in the portfolio on the people throughout the organization.


Prosci's new Change Portfolio Toolkit is now available. This product provides a step-by-step process and full set of tools for managing the portfolio of change. Visit the main page for the Change Portfolio Toolkit to learn more.

Why change portfolio management is needed

There are a number of reasons organizations need an approach for managing the portfolio of change underway. The most common reasons for such an approach include:

  1. The ever increasing amount of change organizations are facing - The pace and amount of change is not decreasing. Organizations are facing more external drivers of change, including the competitive landscape and a need to stay ahead of the changing demands of customers. Likewise, internal drivers to become more effective and efficient are continuing to emerge. Across the board, the amount of change is on the rise.

  2. The potential for change saturation - Change saturation occurs when there is more change than individuals and groups in the organization can handle. Each individual and group in an organization has a change capacity that they can tolerate. However, when the amount of change disruption exceeds this change capacity, there are negative implications. Individuals become stressed, confused and disengaged. Projects begin suffering. Overall, the organization's productivity declines. A portfolio perspective provides insight into potential change saturation.

  3. The consequences of change collision - When there is not a view of the portfolio of change, initiatives and projects begin to collide. Collisions occur on numerous fronts, including budgets for change efforts, human resources needed to support the initiatives, time requirements by people involved and mindshare of employees. In the absence of a portfolio perspective, these collisions cannot be evaluated and alleviated - and each project and initiative suffers.


Prosci Change Portfolio Management Process

Prosci's Change Portfolio Management Process is pictured on the right. It involves five distinct phases - 1) Identify, 2) Investigate, 3) Analyze, 4) Act and 5) Monitor. The process provides specific, concrete activities for evaluating, understanding and managing the portfolio of change.

The goal of the process is not to arrive at a single, numeric value for the quantity of initiatives that the organization can tolerate. Rather, the goal of Change Portfolio Management is to bring clarity and visibility to the portfolio of change currently underway. With a better view and more concrete data about the portfolio, senior leaders and the organization are in a better position to prioritize and to mitigate the consequences of change saturation and change collision.

The Change Portfolio Toolkit includes a complete set of activities and tools to support the Change Portfolio Management Process.

Prosci's Change Portfolio Management Process


Process phase Activities and Outcomes

The Identify phase is about setting the parameters for the portfolio analysis. It includes establishing the scope of the portfolio analysis, which could be the entire organization but could also be smaller in nature - looking at changes that impact a particular department, division, region or type/source of change (for instance, changes initiated by the IT group). The Identify phase involves looking for both project and non-project change occurring throughout the organization - starting with the "usual suspects" who initiate many changes. Finally, a schematic of organizational groups is created to enable mapping of changes to the impacted groups.

Tools in the Change Portfolio Toolkit to support the Identify phase:

  • Scope statement
  • Change inventory worksheet
  • Groups inventory worksheet

The Investigate phase involves collecting and generating data on the changes in the portfolio. The first step is collecting a common set of information on each initiative in the portfolio - including budget, timeline and key players for each change effort. A series of assessments allow you to gauge the change management risk and the overall project health of each change in the portfolio. Finally, a mapping exercise is used to show which groups in the organization are impacted by each of the changes in the portfolio using the Group Impact Matrix. A key benefit of this phase is the collection of a common set of data for each and every change in the portfolio.

Tools in the Change Portfolio Toolkit to support the Investigate phase:

  • Change Scorecard
  • Change characteristics assessment
  • Organizational attributes assessment
  • Prosci PCT assessment
  • Group Impact Matrix

The Analyze phase is where conclusions about the portfolio are reached. Heat Maps are created which show a graphic depiction of change impact and the overall level of change disruption and saturation on groups throughout the organization. Plots are used to provide numerous perspectives on the portfolio and its current status. All of the data form the Investigate phase is analyzed and computed using the Portfolio Dashboard - which captures in a single snapshot the positioning and risk of the portfolio.

Tools in the Change Portfolio Toolkit to support the Analyze phase:

  • Change Heat Maps
  • Organizational Heat Map
  • Investment vs. Strategic importance plot
  • Investment vs. Gap plot
  • Investment vs. Scope plot
  • Strategic importance/Gap/Scope worksheet
  • People risk plot
  • People risk worksheet
  • Schedule collision diagram
  • Schedule collision analysis worksheet
  • Investment vs. Risk vs. Project Health graph
  • Investment vs. Risk vs. Health worksheet
  • Portfolio Dashboard
  • Portfolio Dashboard statistics analysis

The Act phase move from analysis to action. Here, risks to projects, groups, points in time and the organization as a whole are identified. The portfolio is presented to key business leaders and others in the organization who need a portfolio view of the change underway. Conclusions and decisions on how to adjust the portfolio are made based on the information provided through the process.

Tools in the Change Portfolio Toolkit to support the Act phase:

  • Changes at risk worksheet
  • Groups at risk worksheet
  • Point-in-time worksheet
  • Change portfolio SWOT analysis
  • Tips for effective portfolio presentation
  • Presentation template
  • Portfolio action checklist
Monitor, Manage and Control

The final phase involves bring the portfolio perspective into how the organization manages change efforts on an ongoing basis. Particular attention is paid to how changes enter and exit the portfolio, and what lessons the organization can learn by taking an enterprise perspective. As changes are evaluated and introduced, the impact on the overall portfolio is evaluated. As changes exit the portfolio, analysis on the outcomes and lessons learned is conducted.

Tools in the Change Portfolio Toolkit to support the Monitor, Manage and Control phase:

  • New change worksheet
  • Change effort "exit interview" worksheet
  • Learning from changes leaving the portfolio




A holistic process for managing the portfolio of change does not magically solve the problem of change collision and change saturation. However, following this process provides a new perspective and view of the portfolio - one that is missing in most organizations. Individuals, groups, projects and the organization all benefit when the portfolio of change is more actively evaluated and managed.






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Offerings for applying Prosci's change management methodologies:


  • 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 - includes over $1000 in products, including the Best Practices in Change Management benchmarking report, the Change Management Toolkit and the Change Management Pilot 2010
  • Train-the-trainer ($3500) - learn how to teach Prosci change management training programs in your organization
  • Onsite training - bring Prosci to your location for 3-day certification programs, 4-6 hour executive briefings, 1-day manager programs or 1-day employee programs - call +1-970-203-9332 for more information

Methodology tools:

  • 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 Pilot Pro 2010 ($449) - online tool including Prosci's change management methodology, eLearning modules and downloadable templates, assessments, presentations and checklists
  • 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)
  • PCT Analyzer ($149/$349) - web-based tool for collecting PCT Assessment data, analyzing results, identifying risks and developing action steps

References and books:

  • Best Practices in Change Management benchmarking report ($289 / quantity discounts available) - 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: the people side of change ($18.95 / quantity discounts available) - a primer for anyone involved in organizational change that addresses why manage change, individual change management and organizational change management
  • ADKAR: a model for change ($18.95 / quantity discounts available) - the definitive work on Prosci's ADKAR® Model
  • Employee's Survival Guide to Change ($14.95 / quantity discounts available) - 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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