CHAMPS2 - The (Relatively) Unknown Soldier in the Change Management War...

So true so often...but when the change is real, you need
a real way to manage it.
Managing change is one of the core skills of the real world consultant. Whilst it's actually (relatively) easy to produce amazing analysis and reach visionary conclusions that inspire all with awe and wonder, the fun stuff is actually leading the change in the real world, sticking around to see if the theory you can devise matches the reality you can deliver. 

But to do that, you need to resist your first natural urge: cut and run into the sunset with the cheque...

The practical management of change is a challenging discipline and one that has become a field in its own right, with specialists who combine skills in PPM, psychology and organizational theory. In my experience, I have seen many individuals who are well suited to change in one environment but quite out of their depth in another. For example, my own skillset and approach in change management would be a very bad choice for many public service organizations: I simply find the culture of many frustrating and indeed alien.

The most commonly used formal methodology is Prosci's ADKAR method. In existence for about 20 years, it is an excellent foundation. However, it is very much focused on the human aspect - and that is both superb...and insufficient.

Naturally, success with managing transitions in business systems ultimately rests with how people respond to those changes and always one needs to be mindful of getting maximum buy-in. ADKAR offers an excellent high level approach to achieve that from a human perspective, but in the real world, it leaves so much to work out. It tells you what needs to happen from a people perspective, but not how it can be achieved from a process perspective. 

However, there is a solution. One that I feel is every bit as good in this field as Prince2 is for project management. And interestingly has its origins in the British public service, as does Prince2. 

Is my aversion to public servants misplaced...?

Like Prince2, CHAMPS2 is essentially a reasonably sized book describing in detail a set of steps that need to be taken to initiate, manage and succeed in change. It is logical, detailed and well thought out. On reading the first few pages, it becomes pretty clear it is based on what's needed for - as well as learned from - major IT systems implementations, but it can easily be applied to an M&A or any other field where change is needed. Managing change is like a war: so many factors are fighting against you. CHAMPS2 is the soldier you want on your side...a soldier who has been somewhat unknown of for a bit too long outside specialist areas. It's time for that to change.

CHAMPS2 was created by the Birmingham City Council from a major systems implementation they did...and which turned out to be a much larger cultural transformation too. CHAMPS2 is nothing if not comprehensive. It actually drills down into a lot of detail - too much detail, according to some. But for changing the processes, systems & even culture of an organization of many thousands of people that have been doing things a certain way for don't cut corners.

Anyone familiar with Prince2 will definitely feel at home with CHAMPS2: the systemization, the style, the logic, the flow...there definitely is a similarity. Below are the Phases.

The CHAMPS2 Phases. Whilst different in approach to ADKAR, the two are actually quite compatible with each other.
But perhaps the nicest thing about CHAMPS2 is exists. And I don't mean to damn with faint praise, quite the opposite. CHAMPS2 really answering a need that prior has been ignored and largely left to be created 'on the spot' situation. True, there needs to be a lot of tailoring, but you should never underestimate the incredible value of having a comprehensive but flexible guidebook that is well written, clear and can be understood equally by frontline staff as well as CEOs. 

It's a bit like being in a world where there is only one car instead of thousands to choose from...but that car happens to be a McLaren P1. Not a bad world at all.

Using CHAMPS2 puts you well ahead of the game - it's a roadmap through a very real jungle of uncertainty. By providing a common language for an entire team, it allows change management professionals to start with a comprehensive but flexible package to ensure success in getting from A to B. Whilst it can be overkill for smaller projects, it remains the best solution I have come across for major transformations of great strategic impact in major organizations.

If you're in the change game, CHAMPS2 is worth your time in discovering more. Further information at