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Phase 3

3 Phases of Change


Step 1 - Before the Change

Step 2 - During the Change

Step 3 - After the Change





Phase 5 of The Linked Management Models

The Three Phases of Change

Change Management - How we can optimize the change experience. 

By Craig A. Stevens, PMP, CC and his students


The Three Phases of Change Table of Contents (Under Construction)





GodTube Video ChM1 - Introduction to Change Management


For a better picture go to -


“The only person who likes change is a baby with a wet diaper!” Mark Twain

So… Why Change? Change is going to happen! You either master change or become irrelevant.


(See also Change Control and Configuration Management)




"Without change there is no innovation, creativity, or incentive for improvement. Those who initiate change will have a better opportunity to manage the change that is inevitable."


William Pollard, Quote found by Glenn Doty (TNU 2004). 



Steven W. Gambrell and Craig A. Stevens wrote a paper entitled "Moving Through The Three Phases of Organizational Change," published in the July/August 1992 issue of Industrial Management magazine. They explained change in three phases: Before, During and After. They explained that with every major planned change in an organization, a natural dip will most likely occur in productivity, motivation, and/or quality of work.  They called this dip the cocoon stag of the change.  It may start before the change starts and will likely continue after the change is implemented.   





On this site we investigate change management using the Linked Management Models.  On this page, to help explain change we look at the evolution of the change curves, explain the three phases of change, how project management is the implementation tool, and how to minimize the cocoon stage.  We compare several different types of curves associated with, Technology, Project Management, People and Stress, and Organizations and then compare each curve with a our own specific change model. We challenges the descriptions of change as always having a “valley of despair” and compare this concept with the requirements of the 21st century.  Based on the comparisons, we explain an alternative philosophy and a way to describe change.  The links below take you to more details related to before, during, and after the change.


Sub-Step 1 - Before the Change Happens (Ensuring Success)

Sub-Step 2 - During the Change (Minimizing the Negatives)

Sub-Step 3 - After the Change (Maximizing Success)


PowerPoint Slides for the ASEM Conference

  1. Intro to Change Presentation



GodTube Video ChM2 - Why Change


For a better picture go to -

  1. Understanding and Comparing Change Curves

  2. Minimizing the Dips in the Change Curves




Consider The Butterfly and Change


In nature, picture the caterpillar. It is alive and appears to serve a purpose.  However, if examined more closely, it may appear to be inefficient. The caterpillar eats too much, stays on one bush all of its life, and is destructive, slow, and unproductive. But, a natural transition occurs as the caterpillar weaves a cocoon (chrysalis).


To a child the cocoon appears to be “dead.” It does not eat at all, it remains very still, and it appears to be a lot worse off than the caterpillar.  However, unseen by the human eye, a major transition is under way inside the cocoon.  The cocoon, once the sleeping place for the caterpillar, starts to open and slowly a creature appears, all wet and sluggish.  As it starts to dry, a butterfly transforms into all its glory.  In addition to moving away from the bush, it can now fly, sometimes the length of continents.  Now it seems to serve a more noble purpose, for it eats only nectar, is beautiful, and plays a role in the propagation of fruits and seeds by pollination.


Our own physical environments go through similar changes. As an example, think of the renovation of an old strip mall shopping center into a more modern mall. The shopping center has a purpose and provides a service; the store spaces are occupied and customers are present. But there is room for improvement. Someone has a dream of a more beautiful place and better environment.  However, To accomplish this vision, things have to change.


During the change parking lots are bulldozed, outdated buildings are demolished and dust is everywhere. Minor, temporary inconveniences are created for both shoppers and merchants, stores relocate and customers temporarily stop shopping, missing the way “things used to be.” Like the cocoon, the shopping center appears to be worse than before. But, gradually the mall is rebuilt, remodeled and cleaned. Soon the stores open, customers come back and the new mall looks better than ever, serves more needs, and makes more money.


Organizations go through similar stages of change.  Like the butterfly and shopping mall transitions, organizations go through similar stages of change. The curves may not all look the same but the stages are inevitable whether the change results in a negative or positive outcome.”

Stevens, C.A., Steven Gambrell, "Moving Through the Three Phases of Organizational Change," Industrial Management Magazine, Institute of Industrial Engineers, July/August 1992.



Everything naturally goes through a lifecycle and the only way to prolong the life is to change.  





GodTube Video ChM3 - Environments of Change


For a better picture go to -




Survey conducted by Gallup Organization and commissioned by Proudfoot Change Management, a division of international consulting firm. Reported in Barbara Ettorre, “Buddy, Can You Spare Some Change!” Management Review, January 1994, p. 5. As reported by Hersey, Paul, Kenneth Blanchard and Dewey Johnson, Management of Organizational Behavior, Leading Human Resources 8th ed., Prentice Hall, NJ 2001.



Check Out Those Curves:


Several different curves relate to change. Here we compare some to the Westbrook Stevens Butterfly Model.


1. Technology “S” Curves
2. Project “S” Curves
3. People “Stress” Curves
4. Risk Management “J” Curves
5. Organizational Change Management Curves








GodTube Video ChM4 - Intro to Change Curves


For a better picture go to -  





Original Butterfly Curve:


In 1991 Steven Gambrell and Craig A. Stevens looked at a few other writings to develop the original butterfly model as seen in below.  Lynn Fossum in her book, Understanding Organizational Change, Converting Theory to Practice, describes the cocoon stage as the “valley of despair.”  Later, Michael Bommer and Victor Pease, in an article titled “Mitigating the Impact of Project Cancellations on Productivity,” published in the National Productivity Review, explained their studies on project cancellations and the effect on productivity.  They found that a project cancellation would affect the team causing a major drop in productivity, where the drop started before the change started.  Furthermore, in one year’s time after the change, the productivity only recovers to about 80 percent of the original level.



Origin of the Butterfly Curve


Fossym, Lynn B. Understanding organizational change : converting theory to practice. Los Altos: Crisp Publications, 1989. Call Number: HD58.8 F68 1989


Bommer, Michael and Victor Pease, "Mitigating the Impact of Project Cancellations on Productivity," National Productivity Review, Volume 10, No. 4, Autumn 1991.


In the exhibit below, the curve used by a U.S. Department of Labor study appears to be similar to the original butterfly-type curve, yet displayed using a more realistic fitted curve.  Each of these helps us to update our butterfly model.


In 1999, Elrod and Tippett provided experimental proof of the drop in performance preceding a positive change and helped to validate this dip.  The entire point of the model is to show the natural dip (cocoon stage) that occurs when a change happens, then to consider what can be done to minimize or eliminate the dip.


“S” Curves, the Butterfly curve, and Late 1990’s U.S. Department of Labor


A Microsoft web white paper used the curve in below in describing organizational change management. (Microsoft Website, 2001).  The curve explains improving organizations' efficiency as it transitions in a new technology.  The point of the curve is that organizational change management (OCM) can improve productivity during what we call the cocoon stage.

Microsoft,, "MS Solutions Framework: Managing Organizational Change."  2001.



MS and Productivity with and without OCM



Technology “S” Curves:


Below, we see two “S” curves as compared to the Westbrook Stevens butterfly curve. Abernathy and Utterback used the “S” curve in 1978 to show typical technology growth behavior. Others have shown the "S" curve in differing applications.






Understanding the Three Phases Of Organizational Change:   


All of the current trends help to point to the fact that change is a natural and necessary process -- you either change or you die. Change may be revolutionary (which happens in a process of major steps) or evolutionary (which is a more continuous process and happens as more of series of minor changes, not as much of a major step, but rather more like a ramp.) An organization may also experience changes accruing in two different ways, either highly random and chaotically or as a planned effort. In a chaotically changing environment one never knows what is going to happen next. 





GodTube Video ChM5 - Industry verses Organization


For a better picture go to -  



Below is another way to look at change on the firm level or industry level. I think we could also add global level (other industries, governmental, or globally and outside our industry). Here we also see Continuous Improvement (1st Order) and Major Step Changes (2nd Order).


Strategic Management journal, Meyer, Brooks, and Goes 1990, Wiley and Sons, As reported by Hersey, Paul, Kenneth Blanchard and Dewey Johnson, Management of Organizational Behavior, Leading Human Resources 8th ed., Prentice Hall, NJ 2001, pp. 388.

Change Happens to You (Industry or Global)


The chaotic change sometimes happens in a random pattern similar to waves in a body of water as  "Forces of Chaotic Change and Thrive-ability." (See Step 2 the Storms of Chaos) In smaller markets, similar to smaller bodies of water, like a pond, these waves would be easier to understand and forecast. However in the largest markets, like larger bodies of water or an ocean, all the rules change and forecasting change becomes more difficult with everything hitting the organization from all sides.


Planned changes also have surprises. Chaotically changing environments may be made up of many planned changes. 


You Make Change Happen (Firm)


Follow the link to continuous improvement.



Are these two examples of an “S” curve the same as the traditional changed curves or the butterfly curve? - I say they are not! - Although many people use the term “S” curve to describe the dip in change curves.  I think we are comparing Cats-to-Dogs not apples-to-apples.  Although we can find some similarities, there are also many differences.  Take the flattened “S” curve  above.  If this curve represented the technology changes in buggy whips, then the lifecycle of that curve could be thousands of years long.  Sure the overall curve is made up of thousands of small improvements or at least variations to the buggy whip.  Nevertheless, few of the changes brought about a “valley of despair.”  On the contrary, the technology curve changes are more likely to bring about a bump in excitement.  Look at today’s cell phone changes.  How many people do you know, cry over having to upgrade their cell phones?


In our most recent past, technological changes in information technology may have caused some fear for our grandparents, parents, and anyone else over forty.  Today, change is so rapid and expected that it is less likely that technology will cause the same degree of  fear for our children and grandchildren. 




This interesting set of “S” curves above, by Steve Kleiman of CTO Network Appliance Inc. 2000, appear to have the same look as the “dip” associated with the Butterfly Curve. However, this dip is related to cacheable content (y axis) over time (x axis). Which is nothing like the organizational change curves.  Although labeled an “S” curve it is more of a set of technology related “S” curves.


When looking at the larger picture, the technology “S” curves are just as likely to be related to a paradigm shift and may include many product upgrade “S” curves. The butterfly curve is more akin to transitional changes that are likely smaller and more personal, maybe project related, shorter term, and organizational in nature.






GodTube Video ChM6 - Project Management and "S" Curves


For a better picture go to -  




Project “S” Curves:


Project Management is the primary tool for implementing a change. Therefore, it may be useful to look at the “S” curves related to project management.






Are the project “S” curves the same as the butterfly curve? No, again this is more like Dogs-to-Cats than Apples-to-Apples. The project “S” curves describe progress achieved during a specific project. The project "S" curves are project performance measurement tools and you will never see a dip in a cumulative curve.  Although project management is a tool to implement a is not the change being implemented.  Project management is not the goal, it is the vehicle to accomplish the goal. 



People “Stress” Curves:


People’s stress response, personal grief, motivation, and morale are often associated with curves similar to the butterfly curve.


Below, we see Imara’s Stages of Personal Grief.  The first thing that we notice is the sharpness of the curves.  In the earlier days before the nice neat software we have today, one would often find curves with sharp edges. These sharp edged curves are the same as the smoother curves we see today.  The next figure, shows the same type of curves in a more rounded way.

Imara’s Stages of Personal Grief Compared to Butterfly Curve




Classic Stress Curve, Compared to Butterfly Curve




Are the "people stress curves" the same as the butterfly curve? Yes, although there are some differences, the stresses that people go through during change cannot be ignored when looking at organizational change management.  The changes are more like comparing Apples-to-apples than Cats-to-dogs.  However, one could argue that it is more of an “Apples-to-fruit Basket” comparison with the butterfly curve being the Fruit Basket.


These two examples of stress curves do related to the natural curves found in organizational changes.  However, organization change is more complicated than are the people stress curves.  The most obvious difference relates to teams of people verses one person.  Furthermore, even if stress is not present, we would still expect to see dips due to the lag associated with implementation, downtime of equipment, cost, learning curves, or a hundred other possible reasons.  Even highly desired and long overdue changes that immediately reduce stress can bring a dip in performance.





GodTube Video ChM7 - Change Ripples


For a better picture go to -   



Imenger’s Morale Curve compared to the Butterfly Curve


Imenger’s Morale Curve is different from the other stress curves. However, it is interesting that there is a wave effect related to morale when looking at the amount of time that a person serves overseas.  This too could be compared to organizational change in a number of ways.  The farther away one is from the change within the organization, the smaller the wave feels personally.  Also the longer the change takes, the more our feelings related to the change seem to level out.  We become more familiar with the routines associated with the change.  






GodTube Video ChM8 - Change Risk Curves


For a better picture go to -   





Risk Management “J” Curves:


Often risk management “J” curves will refer to the risk of spending money and not breaking even.  So typically you will see return of investment (ROI) as the dependent variable and time as the independent variable.  In the figure below, good risk management ROI will be tighter than average ROI.  Where poor or no ROI is possible under poor risk management. 

Using this concept, we know a product that can help your million dollar and up projects move from average to excellent in one day.


Risk Management “J” curves as compared to the Butterfly Curve.


Are the Risk management “J” curves the same as the butterfly curve?  Yes, although like the stress curves there are some differences, the risk management “J” curves are definitely important when looking at organizational change management.  The “J” Curves and butterfly curves are more like comparing Apples-to-apples than Cats-to-dogs. Although the risk management curves are often used with ROI, one could also make an argument that they also apply to many other elements.


Another important point is related to the different looks of the “J” curves. The same thing goes for change management.  Although in the butterfly curve we expressed a happy ending.  Many cocoons never open.  Organizationally speaking, many changes take longer and therefore the curve is wider.  In addition, some changes are cancelled or are changed in the middle of the cocoon stage and additional dips may result.  Too many changes in the middle of the cocoon stage (or the dip of the curve) will give us a spiral of death and a loud flushing sound.  Wish our politicians understood this concept!



Organizational Change Management Curves:


The “Technology Innovation Productivity Curve,” shown below, (Berger, Sikora, Berger, 1994) looks very much like the butterfly model from 1992. The authors explain that this curve, like the butterfly model, shows that change introduces elements of concern, confusion, realignment, and even use the same term Lynn Fossum used, “valley of despair”. This implies that it is important to implement a management program to deal with the impacts of change on the organization.


Technology Integration Productivity Curve, 1994


Berger, Lance A., Martin J. Sikora, Dorothy R. Berger, The Change Management Handbook, A Road Map to Corporate Transformation, IRWIN Professional Publishing, 1994 ISBN 1-55623-975-0.



Replace “Valley of Despair” with a “Cocoon Stage:”


The major difference with each of the change curves and the butterfly curve is the word despair.  Many times people will refer to the change dip in drastic terms, such as a “Valley of Despair” or “Death Valley.”  The whole concept that a change has to bring despair is “Old School,” to borrow a current phrase.


A frustrated old SAIC Division Managers in the mid nineties once explained to me, “We have to get past the "Valley of Despair" language, it is no longer relevant.” It took me awhile to understand this.  The point we should all understand is this, to compete today, every organization has to master change and continuous improvement.  To despair over every (or even most) business change brings with it a paralyzing effect that we cannot tolerate in today’s fast-paced environments.  Our people have to look forward to changes and thrive on them.  To compare the dip to the “Valley of despair” or a deep personal loss is no longer acceptable and does not even make sense for the 21st century. Not only is the personal stress curves only a small part of the change curve, it may never even happen.


The risk “J” curves do always happen in some way, but a “valley of despair” is for the unprepared.  Although, we may find cases where despair is the right word, it had better not be the norm or we may have the wrong staff. 


Like the comparison of apples-to-apples above, personal depression is like comparing apples to a fruit basket, each change brings with it different fruit.  Times of personal despair are merely apples in our fruit basket.  Some change baskets may be all apples and others may have none.


The “valley of despair” comes from psychologists who explain deep personal lose with a shock, depression, recovery curve.  Not all business changes bring deep personal loss. Not only that but also, personal loss is only a piece of the picture. Other issues not as depressing may also occur.  True a dip will likely occur due to negatives during a change, such as learning curves, slowed production, confusion, distraction, and disturbed routines. Nevertheless, one is also likely to experience motivating factors and a range of positive experiences:

  1. Excitement,

  2. Growth, promotion, and empowerment,

  3. A pioneering spirit of wandering,

  4. Improved ease of performance,

  5. Solutions to long experienced problems, and

  6. New interesting challenges.

In addition to the positives and minor negatives not associated with “despair,” other factors have helped.  We have a deeper understanding of change management and implementation as systems have improved.  I remember being asked to set in on the National Academy of Science to represent the study of Configuration Management (CM) In the late 80's and early 90's CM was a new concept to a lot of people. 


Today, we have a better understanding of product development, configuration and innovation management, systems thinking, and the number one implementation tool of Project Management. Today improved PM training, acceptance, and related organizational infrastructures have given us the tools to not only improve change implementation but to master it. Now, many times change is exciting and desirable. 


Just as few people loss sleep when it is time to change their cell phone -- To most, it is a time of mild excitement.  Children look forward to new updated gaming systems with wild enthusiasm.  Likewise, many changes come with anticipation.  The idea that a business change will automatically bring despair is outdated.


Instead of despair, the cocoon stage makes more sense for today.  Like the caterpillar becoming a butterfly, so too are our changes likely bringing a vision of hope and/or excitement.  Just as God knits a butterfly from a caterpillar; we are knitting a solution to a problem or bringing about a vision of a successful future. 


Most of the people who will read this website are knowledge workers.  Most of their organizations will not even hire a person without a college degree.  Just to get their degrees required acceptance of change. 


In many changes, like the caterpillar in the cocoon, the struggle is needed to bring life to the wings of the butterfly.  If we cut the cocoon stage too quickly, we end up with nothing viable.  Shorten many of the changes, then we too end up with nothing that is worth the effort.  Also, change again in the middle of the cocoon stage and we perpetuate more dips. Too many "middle-of-the-change adjustments" may lead to a whirling death spiral.






GodTube Video ChM9 - Business Lifecycle Curves


For a better picture go to -    




Matching the Project Lifecycles

to the Three Phases of Implementing Change


Project Management (PM) is the primary implementation tool for change management. This Section explains how PM relates to the phases of change management.  In this section we compare several project management lifecycles with those for business, products, and organizational change.  We review the butterfly curve of organizational change and compares it to several different Business, Product and PM life cycles.


Looking At Lifecycles and Comparing Them To Change:


To understand the relationships between change management, business, products, and project management we will look at the lifecycle curves of each.

  1. Business Lifecycles,

  2. Product Lifecycles

  3. Project Management Lifecycles

  4. The PM process groups as used by the Project Management Institute (PMI) and the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK).

Business Lifecycles:


The figure below shows a classical way of looking at business lifecycles.  The curve starts in a embryonic stage, progresses through a major growth stage, levels off during a mature stage, and dies during an aging stage.  Each stage requires a different type of manager for success.



Stage 1: During the embryonic stages an entrepreneur is required.  Entrepreneurs take personal risk to make their vision possible.  Not everyone enjoys risks and therefore not everyone will make a good entrepreneurs.


Stage 2: During the growth stage things change.  Revenue is actually starting to come in. No longer can a small staff of people do business in inefficient ways and long survive. Systems are needed to track timecards and customer information.  Possibly hundreds of people come onboard.  Now the business needs more sophisticated mangers.  These are people understand the systems of business.


Stage 3: As the business reaches its market potential, grow slows or even stops. The business matures.  The question becomes one of surviving by maintaining customer satisfaction, more so than growing.  Many governmental organizations live in this stage.  The business no longer takes as many risks.  The business no longer needs new systems, more so the business needs to maintain and improve the systems it has.


The main goal may be to milk this “cash cow” as long as possible without killing it.  A different type of manager is required.  The goal of this person is to not-rock-the-boat.  Keep everything running as smoothly as possible.  In many cases the organization has become more bureaucratic and a critical administrator is required.


Stage 4: As the reason for the product or services goes away or as the company fails to compete the final stage is set.  The Aging Stage requires sacrifice and an Opportunistic Manager.  Someone who can take opportunities to prolong, kill, or sell the business.  Many times the critical administrator finds this stage painful and leaves the organization.


Mixing Strengths with Weakness:  Some companies go through these stages with every project.  Some companies go through these stages corporately and then fade away.  But one common mistake is putting the wrong leader in to manage the wrong stage.  As an example, consider a very large government contracting/consulting company by the nature of its business, continuously lives in the entrepreneur stage.  Often this type of organization will hire politicians, generals, admirals, or senior government officials who are retiring to lead major new programs, projects, or marketing efforts.  This is the equivalent of putting a 30-year critical administrator into an Intre-preneurial (internal entrepreneur) role.  Sometimes it works, most of the time it is painful for everyone.


How do the business lifecycles fit the Butterfly Curve?  The business lifecycle is a macro look at the business and the organizational change butterfly curve is a micro view of a specific change.  The business lifecycles have likely gone through hundreds of organizational and technological changes over the business’ life.  Therefore, the butterfly curve is a tool for the business and not a description of the business lifecycle.



Product Lifecycles:


Product lifecycles look very similar to business lifecycles.  One could also argue that in some cases they may actually be one in the same (for very small companies or small divisions of larger companies). We could compare the product lifecycle curve below with the business lifecycle stages above.


Business and Product Lifecycles Compared



With the business stages, different types of mangers are required.  Similarly different types of management skills are required with the Product Stages.  However, often the scope of the product is small enough that different mangers may not be as critical to the success of the product.  Larger programs are more like business lifecycles.


Product lifecycles are also longer-term cycles than typical organizational change cycles.  Like business lifecycles, product lifecycles may experience several organizational and technological changes.


Often the product is catalyst for an organizational change and brings with it the change curve.  But as the change curve matures and completes, the product lifecycle continues, bring other changes throughout its life. 


Consider the curves related to revenue and profit of a typical product lifecycle in the next figure.  When viewing, remember this in not the overall product lifecycle curve that explains the stages of management.  That curves looks the same as the Business lifecycle curve.  The following figure explains a more specific curve, designed to show cash flow or return on investment.


Profit and Revenue Product Curves


The “J” curve that describes profit, looks very similar to the butterfly curve and helps to illustrate our earlier point that all dips do not bring about despair.  The curve shows risks and cash flow, not depression and lack of output.  However, it is directly related to the butterfly curve’s cocoon stage.  Work is going on to bring about a quick breakeven point and long-term profit.  No despair but maybe some anticipation.

Prolonging the Product/Business Lifecycles.


Because businesses, products, and everything else dies or at least deteriorates by natural law, work is required to prolong the lifecycles.  Typically, by adding new products or services to replace old ones, a company’s lifecycle expands.  Often in literature, technology “S” curves show this progression as with the figure below.





GodTube Video ChM10 - Extending Business Lifecycles


For a better picture go to -    





Stacking “S” Curves to Prolong Lifecycles


“S” curves often describe long-term macro changes in technology, products, and possibly organizational structure and so too the business lifecycles explains long-term macro changes in business.  Therefore, this picture is plausible.


In the book Kaizen, we find that not only are major step changes important (centerline of the figure below), but continuous improvement also takes an important role in prolonging the business and product lifecycles.  However, poor continuous improvement leads to poor change results (as in the bottom line of the figure below) and excellent continuous improvement leads to improved change results (as in the top line of figure).




Kaizen, Good and Bad as Relates to Continuous Improvement and Change


Looking deeper into the changes that prolong business and product lifecycles, we find it is not that pretty.  The next figure shows what continuous improvement and change might really look like when compared to the business and product lifecycle changes.  Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, and most of the time there is a cost.

Ugly Continuous Improvement and Change

How does the product lifecycle fit the Butterfly Curve? The product lifecycle is often a macro look at the product and the organizational change butterfly curve is a micro view of a specific change.  However, product development changes can drive organizational change and therefore lead into the change management’s butterfly curve.  Nevertheless, most of the time the product lifecycle is a long-term process lasting longer than most controlled organizational changes.  Therefore, the product lifecycles have likely gone through many different projects and organizational and technological changes.  The butterfly curve may start with a new product, be associated with several changes along the way, but not a description of the product lifecycle.



Project Management Lifecycles:


PM Lifecycles are micro views of implementing change as compared to the macro views of businesses and products lifecycles.  Projects have short-term perspectives and may occur during any stage of a product or business. Companies initiate projects to implement a change.  Therefore, to understand change management requires a complete understanding of project management.  PM is an implementation tool of organizational and technological change management.  But, to complicate the subject a little more, change management is also a tool of project management.  For even within a project, changes do occur.  However, for the scope of this paper, we will focus only on the larger, organizational changes with PM as the primary implementation tool.


There is more than one picture for PM lifecycles.  From the Project Management Institute’s (PMI’s) PM Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) Glossary, PM lifecycles are defined as -- A collection of generally sequential project phases whose name and number are determined by the control needs of the organization or organizations involved in the project. Although many different lifecycles exist in PM, project phases can all be translated into the following six phases.

  1. The forgotten phase (Before the project ever begins, not really part of any specific project but directly related to the PM infrastructure systems)

  2. The Concept Phase (When the project actually begins)

  3. The Planning Phase

  4. The Implementation Phase

  5. Closure Phase (When the project actually ends)

  6. The Operations or Maintenance Phase (After the project is long over)

Two of the phases above are not real project phases, but do have lasting impact on the success of any project. There are many different ways to express the four basic phases. One interesting way to remember them is by using the letters of the alphabet “CDEF” which stands for:

  1. Concept Phase

  2. Design Phase

  3. Execute Phase

  4.  Finish Phase

We can explain every other set of special project lifecycle phases using these four titles.


AMA Project Lifecycles


The figure above, shows a typical four phase project management lifecycle as taught by the American Management Association (Criag spent four years teaching PM for the AMA).


 The next figure also show a four phased project management lifecycle as it related to “IT Project +” certification.


 “IT Project +” Certification Lifecycles


Dr. Robert Goodrich from Vanderbilt University described project management using five phases as in the next figure.  Notice the similarity to the business and product lifecycle curves.



I never met Dr. Goodrich but I did inherit some of his research. When Dr. Goodrich died, I actually tried to help fill his shoes for a short time by teaching his classes for the Management of Technology Program at Vanderbilt. I always felt it was my duty to bring his material to life for him.

Craig A. Stevens





Goodrich’s Lifecycles of PM



RAD PM Lifecycles


Each of other possible PM lifecycles with more than four phases can be rolled up to four phases. Although each company may have their own custom designed PM Systems it is easy to think in terms of the for phase of PM.

The Waterfall Lifecycle


The Spiral Lifecycles



How do the PM lifecycles fit the Butterfly Curve? PM is a tool for implementing organizational and technological changes. Therefore, PM lifecycles fit into the butterfly curve. The butterfly curve has three distinctive phases,


  1. Before the change, is related to three PM phases.

  • The forgotten phase of project management (Before the project ever begins, not really part of any specific project but directly related to the PM infrastructure and systems.

  • The Project Concept Phase (When the project actually begins, is directly related to developing the vision of what the project is all about or the picture of the butterfly.

  • The Project Planning Phase (is needed to successfully accomplish the change goals.)

  1. During the change, is related to one PM phase.

  • The Implementation Phase

  1. After the change, is related to two PM phases.

  • Closure Phase (When the project actually ends)

  • The Operations or Maintenance Phase (After the project is long over)


Lifecycles PMI Process Groups:


The five PMI Process Groups include 44 different PM processes. These groups sound very similar to PM phases but they are very different. The process groups act as guides to apply appropriate skills. Lifecycle phases are the actual stages that a project progresses through. All 44 PMI processes belong to one of the 5 process groups. This is a hard concept to understand, one could actually experience each of the process groups in each of the project lifecycles. The following list explains the process groups:

PMI Process Groups and PM Lifecycles

  1. Initiating – facilitating the selection and formal authorization of a project or phase and developing basic description of scope.

  2. Planning – developing plans to manage the execution, control and closure of the project.

  3. Executing – performing the work of the project to produce deliverables.

  4. Monitoring & Controlling – evaluating plan vs. actual and acting on the difference.

  5. Closing – formally terminating the project or phase.

Again to complicate things a little farther, not only do PMI process groups overlap the borders of project management phases, but project phases also may overlap other project phases. Notice the next figure, not only do the four phases of PM overlap each other, but the process of monitoring and control seems to have no boundaries.



Often to expedite the execution of tasks, the execution phase will start early. This sometimes leads to concept adjustments and preplanning. Also, changes during the project will likely lead to planning changes and contracts renegotiations.


The phases of Project Management and PMI Certification Principles can easily fit into these three change management phases.  




Optimizing the Change Process



Optimizing the Change Process


By Eric V. Atcher, Tim Cunningham, Thomas Douthitt, and Pamela J. Fleming (TNU 2007)





            Anytime a corporation experiences change for whatever reason, the corporation experiences a downturn in productivity and motivation.  The length of time a corporation stays in the downturn determines how successful they are in managing change.  Change managed poorly may end a period of profitability for the corporation and ultimately force the corporation into bankruptcy.  This paper outlines some steps management can take to accelerate the pace through the cocoon phase and ensure their companies return to profitability.  In Craig Steven’s chart below, he offered suggestions on managing what he refers to as the “Natural Cocoon Phase” of change.  He believes a company or corporation could minimize the amount of time spent in the period of decline by providing the employees with a history of commitment, excellent planning and leadership, and communication.  Change is not an easy process, but with a history of commitment, planning and leadership, communication, and a supportive team, it can be accomplished.




Developing a History of Commitment


            There are several ways managers can develop commitment from their employees.  Neves and Caetano quoted a study by Bridges, “. . . change can be implemented more easily if participants accept the new characteristics of the change and are able to enact them.  Successful organizational change takes place when employees have a purpose, a plan to follow, and a part to play in the change” (352).  One way management creates commitment is by involving employees in the decision making process.  By requesting input from its employees, management allows the employees to feel that they are a part of the change.  Therefore, employees “buy in” to the change increases.  Anthony Landale, an executive coach with the McLane Group, shared his thoughts on the leaders’ responsibility to engage employees in the plans for the organization, “. . . they ask powerful questions and take seriously what people tell them.  They are always authentic” (19).  Inevitably, change may bring downsizing of some businesses.  Leaders must understand the toll it takes on employees.  An article in the Journal of World Business, discussed employee commitment in a post-downsizing era,


Downsizing strategies . . . had a great impact on both laid-off employees and remaining ones.  The remaining employees lost their trust, loyalty toward the firm, and finally left.  The consequence not only affected the firms’ daily operation but also impacted employees’ learning and motivation for improving their ability to enhance the firm’s competitive advantage.  (157-169)


            Motivating employees is another key area to reduce the cocoon stage of organizational change.  Managers must be open and honest in all of their communication with employees in order to build trust.  Keeping the trust of employees helps them to stay motivated when companies implement change.  Management has to involve employees in and promote interest in the new changes taking place.  Phillip D. Wright,


President of Williams Gas Pipeline was the former chief restructuring officer for the company during the post Enron and Telecommunications Industry collapse in the early 2000’s regarding motivation, Mr. Wright feels that, “People respond best when they are a part of something.  It is the responsibility of a leader to cast a vision that is challenging and energizing and then engage people in owning and developing their piece of the actualization of that vision.  Stated another way, individuals respond best when they see what they do fits into a greater whole” (325).


Planning and Leadership


            Strong leadership is necessary during periods of rapid change.  Blazek and Stevens share their thoughts on the speed of change, “The speed at which change, fueled by technology, occurs in the world is accelerating.  Where it took the fax machine twenty-two years to get ten million users, in contrast, online company, Napster took just six month.  Company leaders no longer have ‘reasonable’ amounts of time to adapt and assimilate these changes” (16).  The sheer speed at which change takes place makes planning and leading during change quite challenging to managers.  Some managers panic at a negative dip in labor, cost, or production and implement even more changes.  Reacting by immediately changing the process again, must be stifled to ensure the actual time spent in the cocoon phase is minimized. 


            The time spent in pre-planning the change can minimize the transition time and the anxiety involved in the process of change.  After planning the change, management must accomplish a smooth execution of the plan.  Managers should cover all aspects of the change and inform employees of the perceived value of the change.  Establishing a history of trust prior to execution of any change enables employees to handle the change better.  It is advantageous to those stepping into new leadership roles to understand the organization’s culture.  Even if the previous leader was not trustworthy, just knowing this will help the new leader understand where to begin to develop an atmosphere of trust.  Managers must be diligent in maintaining an atmosphere of trust, “Trust as a management tool offers a key advantage.  As a strategy, trust provides a great deal of maneuverability.  People who trust have no need to wait for every favor to be immediately repaid. . . .  However, even a minor indication of a violation can end a relationship of trust” (Kuhl, et al., 187).


Open and Honest Communication


            One method to empower employees and to foster trust during organizational change is to develop open and honest communication with all employees Neves and Caetano explained, “Communication provides compelling justification for the change, enhances a sense of employee efficacy, and clarifies the changes to employee roles” (352) the interaction between upper management and employees resulted in an increased level of trust.  As they explained further, “Successful social exchanges lead to trust because it involves unspecified obligations for which no binding contract can be written this is a sign of mutual support and investment in the relationship” (353) supervisors who dealt with their employees fairly cultivated trust and shortened the time their corporations spent in the cocoon phase.  Even the level of management providing the communication determined the extent of sustained trust as Morgan and Zeffane contended, “. . . direct consultation with higher-level managers is the most successful mechanism in sustaining trust in management” (71).


Change and the Importance of Teams


            Teams are required in all aspects of business, especially during a change.  Teams help organizations accomplish results.  Each team member plays a valuable role in making a task more approachable.  It is much easier to tackle a challenge with a team by yourself, Calloway recognizes the point that “you want to get people on your team that share the same vision.  We are not talking about clones or people with identical personalities.  But people who will share a common vision and purpose” (44).  Building a team is a sure way to get everyone involved and working for a common goal. 


            Having a team, not only makes change easier from a task and vision sharing point of view, but it also provides the support that is necessary in a time of change.  “Most people would say, ‘Change is good.  You go first’” (Calloway, 51).  This type of thinking is the reason a supportive team is so valuable.  Change is much easier to accept when you have a team of people who give positive feedback and have opinions to offer.  Not just people taking up space in the meeting.  Change is never easy, but if you can manage to find a team that is willing and able to provide their resources and support, it will make the transition much more attainable.




            Motivating employees, developing trust, and providing open and honest communications ensure employees and management maintain a history of commitment.  The history of commitment along with strategically planning and leading employees through change shortens the period of decline when executing change.  However, it is not

an easy process.  Nevertheless, with a history of commitment, planning and leadership, communication, and a supportive team, the change will be less painful.



Works Cited


Blazek, Pete and Dennis Stevens. “Adaptive to Change: Developing the Skill Set of Tomorrow’s Leaders.” American Gas 89.3 (2007): 93-94. Business Source Premier. 3 May 2007. <>


Calloway, Joe. “Becoming a Category of One: How Extraordinary Companies Transcend

Commodity and Defy Comparison.” 2003: John Wiley and Sons, Hoboken, New Jersey


Kuhl, Stefan, Schnell, Thomas, and Franz-joseph Tillmann. “Lateral leadership: An  organizational approach to change.” Journal of Change Management 5.2 (2005): Business Source Premier. 30 April 2007. <>


Landale, Anthony. “No Engagement, No Leadership.” British Journal of Administrative Management Issue 58 page 19. Business Source Premier. April/May 2007. 3 May 2007. <>


Morgan, David E., and Rachid Zeffane. “Employee involvement, organization change and trust in management.” International Journal of Human Resource Management  14.1 (2003): 55-75.  Business Source Premier. 30 April 2007.   <>


Neves, Pedro, and Antinio Caetano. “Social Exchange Processes in Organization

Change: The Roles of Trust and Control.” Journal of Change Management 6.4 (2006): 351-364. Business Source Premier. Trevecca Nazarene University. 

30 April 2007.  <>


Stevens, Craig A. “Westbrook Stevens, LLC, The Principals of Results.” 26 Jan. 2007. 17 May 2007. <,_princ_of_mangt.htm>


Tsai, Phillip Cheng-Fei, et al. “A Study on Motivating Employees Learning Commitment In the Post-Downsizing Job Era:  Job Satisfaction Perspective.”  Journal of World Business 42.2 (2007): 157-169.  Business Source Premier. 3 May 2007. 



Wright, Phillip D. “In The Spotlight.” American Gas 89.3 (2007): 93-94. 

Business Source Premier.  3 May 2007. <>






Others have also considered three phases of change as seen below.  



Kurt Lewin, “Frontiers in Group Dynamics: Concept, Method, and Reality in Social Science; Social Equilibrium and Social Change, “Human Relations, 1, no. 1 (June 1974), pp. 5-41. As reported by Hersey, Paul, Kenneth Blanchard and Dewey Johnson, Management of Organizational Behavior, Leading Human Resources 8th ed., Prentice Hall, NJ 2001.


GodTube Video ChM11 - Minimizing the Cocoon Phase Dip


For a better picture go to -     



We use the same change model updated with other models and observations to explain the three phases of change. Our goal is to explore the actions we can take before, during and after the change to minimize negative effects on productivity, motivation and quality of work. The Steven and Stevens article starts off explaining the process with the following analogy: 


With every major planned change in an organization, a natural dip will most likely occur in productivity, motivation, and/or quality of work.  We can limit the effects of the dips in productivity of the cocoon stage by taking action before, during and after the change.




Notice here that the "before the change" part extends into the start of the dip.  That is because as soon as employees know that there will be a change the change starts to happen as explained in the Michael Bommer and Victor Pease article above.


In 1999, Elrod and Tippett provided experimental proof of the drop in performance preceding a positive change and helped to validate this dip. 


Landale, Anthony. “No Engagement, No Leadership.” British Journal of Administrative Management Issue 58 page 19. Business Source Premier. April/May 2007. 3 May 2007. <>


Morgan, David E., and Rachid Zeffane. “Employee involvement, organization change and trust in managem


GodTube Video ChM12 - Understanding the Hidden Cocoon Phase Dip


For a better picture go to -     t.” International Journal of Human Resource Management  14.1 (2003): 55-75.  Business Source Premier. 30 April 2007.   <>


Neves, Pedro, and Antinio Caetano. “Social Exchange Processes in Organization

Change: The Roles of Trust and Control.” Journal of Change Management 6.4 (2006): 351-364. Business Source Premier. Trevecca Nazarene University. 

30 April 2007.  <  



The point of the Stevens Gambrell Butterfly Model is to show the natural dip (cocoon stage) that occurs when a change happens, then to consider what can be done to eliminate this dip.



One of the biggest problems is this...we can see where we are and our goals or vision.  But we can never see the whole future related to the dip.  It will be difficult for us to know how deep the dip will be.  


One of the biggest mistakes that an organization can make is not sticking to the plan.  If you decide to change again in the middle of the dip you will ultimately prolong the problem.  The worse thing we can do is to keep changing, which could lead to an unstable uncontrollable death spiral.  Have you ever experienced changing management teams in the midst of a bigger organizational transition.  

"Learn the art of patience. Apply discipline to your thoughts when they become anxious over the outcome of a goal. Impatience breeds anxiety, fear, discouragement and failure. Patience creates confidence, decisiveness, and A rational outlook, which eventually leads to success."

Brian Adams, From the Unstoppable Series of Books by Cynthia Kersey

The effectiveness and efficiency of the management process could also be represented by the volume of the cocoon’s phase. If we were to write a formula to represent the volume of the dip in the cocoon phase, it would be a function of the Seven Attributes of Excellent Management found in the first phase.


Organizational Culture

Customer Focus

Teams and People

Problem Solving and Skills

Change Management and Continuous Improvement and

Performance Measures




GodTube Video ChM13 - Minimizing the Cocoon Stage


For a better picture go to -      




The Seven Attributes of Excellent Management

Force Field Analysis



FOR YOU ANALYTICAL PEOPLE --- A Mathematical Approach to Change: 


We can take a mathematical approach to change. Curves have a mathematical derivation. Accordingly, several people have attempted to look at the effects of change from a mathematical approach. Alan Klein in personal email-type conversations shared his version of the following mathematical formula that was first addressed by Dick Beckhard's Change Model in 1969. 

Bleckhard R. Organizational Development Strategies and Models. Out of print, 1969.

Change will not occur unless: Dissatisfaction x Vision x Positive First Step > Resistance. 

Alan Klein extended this model by adding a support variable. Change happen if and only if Dissatisfaction x Vision x Support x Positive First Step > Resistance.

 C if and only if D x V x S x F > R C = Change 

  • D = Dissatisfaction with the current state 

  • V = Vision of the future state

  • S = Support available for change

  • F = Positive first step

  • R = Resistance 

The formula is multiplicative, since if any of the terms on the left is zero, the whole left side becomes zero and will never be greater than the resistance. 


After analyzing a number of change cases, Coopers and Lybrand saw common themes emerge. The formula below illustrates these themes showing the success factors needed to overcome the resistance to change. (Coopers and Lybrand, 1996). "Successful Change = Vision + Need + Means + Reward + Feedback." That is "SC = V + N + M + R + F." 



A shared vision of the desired change has been developed, articulated, and communicated by the change leaders.


The compelling need for change has been developed and shared by all employees or stakeholders.


The practical means to achieve the vision has been planned, designed, and implemented.


The reward systems of the organization have been defined to identify & nurture appropriate behaviors in line with the vision of change.


Feedback is provided at each stage in the change process.  This provides a progress monitor and information to support continuous process improvement.



Berger, Lance A., Martin J. Sikora, Dorothy R. Berger, The Change Management Handbook, A Road Map to Corporate Transformation, IRWIN Professional Publishing, 1994 ISBN 1-55623-975-0.


Carr, David K., Managing the change process: a field book for change agents, consultants, team leaders, and reengineering managers, McGraw Hill, 1996
ISBN 0-07-012944-4.


Stevens, C.A., Steven Gambrell, "Moving Through the Three Phases of Organizational Change," Industrial Management Magazine, Institute of Industrial Engineers, July/August 1992.


Surfing Technology Curves, Steve Kleiman , CTO, Network Appliance Inc. 2000,

Meredith, J. R., & Mantel, S. J., Jr. (2000). Project management: A managerial approach (4th ed.) [UOP Special Edition Series]. New York: Wiley.


Elrod, P. D. II, & Tippett, D. D. (2002). The “Death Valley” of change. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 15(3), 273-91.


Fossum, Lynn, Understanding Organizational Change Converting Theory to Practice, Crisp Pub, Inc., 1990.


Bommer, Michael and Victor Pease, “Mitigating the Impact of Project Cancellations on Productivity,” National Productivity Review, Volume 10, No. 4, Autumn 1991.

Elrod, P. David and Tippett, Donald D., “An Empirical Study of the Relationship Between Team Performance and Team Maturity,” Engineering Management Journal, Vol. 11, No. 1, March 1999.


Microsoft,, “MS Solutions Framework: Managing Organizational Change.”




(Merging, Building, and Acquiring - Information Technology) 

By Carey Busby, Missi Housman, and Joy Kelly (TNU 2004) 


Conceptual Design Phase 


1. Admit the Problem, Acknowledge that we have an opportunity to improve our present circumstances. 

    Know that things have to change and begin to develop a plan. When an opportunity for a merger or acquisition presents itself, it is the responsibility of the CIO (Chief Information Officer) to ensure the transition goes smoothly. A successful integration is dependent on proper planning. Stephen N. David, CIO and B2B (Business to Business) officer of Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble, a CIO-100 honoree, states "75 percent of an integration effort during a merger or acquisition is determining which systems to keep, what data is important and how much integration is actually needed before the companies are technically joined. Once that kind of planning is complete, the actual hands-on work should be just like any other IT [Information Technology] project-only a little more exciting" (CIO par. 3). 

2. Believe that a power other than ourselves (management) can restore us to a sane business structure. 

Establish meetings between current organization and the merged organizations IT staff to discuss each systems capabilities and limitations. An open line of communication and sharing knowledge is necessary. Teams within IT across multiple systems can become silos of unshared information. If an organization distributes information across the company effectively, it will avoid reinventing work. This eliminates wasted time and effort by the individual teams. If teams come together on a regular basis, growth for the entire organization will occur. Teams are able to build together as a community when individual members of the teams take time to share their insight and ideas. Management must engage individual members of the IT organization in regularly held community building, idea sharing meetings (McDermott). 

3. Make a decision to turn our business and our past practices over to the care of people who can help us. 

If documentation does not exist, promptly hire an outside resource to create documentation. Many companies lose a firm grasp on their technical systems because they consider documentation a luxury versus a priority. Chang points out that there is a perception among many companies that documentation is less significant than analysis, coding, and quality assurance. This perception could not be further from the truth. Careful documentation of technical systems can save a company millions of dollars. Often, it is unknown what areas of a technical company can be improved because supporting documentation explaining the systems process does not exists (Chang). Documentation may be used to establish company processes and manuals. A company's system process is just as vital as documenting explicit system coding or edits. The systems documentation should also be integrated into customer documentation. If the customers do not understand how to use the organization's products, the company will likely fail. For any organization, inadequate documentation will lead to unnecessary frustration, increased costs, decreased productivity, and, perhaps worse, a black eye for the business. Why risk this outcome after all the hard work the company has put into developing its strategies and products? 

Planning Phase - Analyze and Understand the Problem 


4. Make a searching and fearless inventory of our systems and problems, to better understand those problems. 

When inventorying the systems of the organization, it is important to place emphasis on the databases as well as the infrastructure and what they provide. It is vital for an organization to know the architecture of its systems. After acknowledging the problem, it is easier to find a solution. Chris Garifo, author of the article Wireless Mergers, states, "Data mapping can answer questions about features, services and customer account data." ("Wireless Mergers" par. 21). 

5. Work with the people who can help us, once we have recognized the exact nature of our wrongs.

It can sometimes be difficult to accept the changes that a merger or acquisition can bring into an employee's life. If management is not ready to accept the change, how can they expect their employees to accept the change? In her article How to Survive Mergers and Acquisitions, Christa Sorenson states, "Focus on yourself and getting through the stages of change" (TechRepublic 2). Sorenson illustrates this by describing flight attendant instructions to passengers. The flight attendant instructs passengers to first secure their own oxygen mask before helping others. When experiencing a merger or acquisition, a manager must first take ownership of the changes before they can assist their staff. 

Implementation Phase -Work On the Problems 


6. Be prepared to remove all antiquated systems and practices from current company processes. 

Begin knowledge sharing on the new systems immediately. Train the newly acquired staff on the current systems. Cross training must occur to assure that the staff recognizes all of current and acquired systems potential. Before designing a training program, management must determine the goal. If the goal is to develop skills, then management will create a staff that only knows how to do their jobs. While that is a good thing, most organizations want their employees to be flexible and to be able to "think outside the box." Management must focus on personal development to build new leadership. Blending technical training along with personal development will produce the skills necessary for critical thinking, problem solving, and system management skills. Management should keep training straightforward and uncomplicated. When scheduling training classes, make a valid effort to keep the group as diverse as possible to promote conversation and feedback in the class. To continue learning outside of a training class, have a team randomly send small articles concerning system updates and frequently asked questions through company emails. The articles should have an attention grabbing method, such as large print or brightly colored text. The articles should also be very short or the organization will probably not read it (Bodimer). 

7. Humbly ask those helping the organization to remove all antiquated systems and practices from current company processes. 

The key here is removal of antiquated practices, more so than systems. Authors Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles explain the importance of communicating with employees in the book, Gung Ho!. They stress the importance of employee motivation and getting the staff to understand the importance of their contribution to the "big picture." Gain employee commitment by establishing shared goals guided by enduring organizational values. With a new mind set by the staff, it opens a world of organizational opportunities (Blanchard & Bowles). 

8. Make a list of all organizations and persons who had been harmed by past company practices, and be willing to make amends to them all. 

Continuing with lessons learned in Gung Ho, the organization should instill pride and respect in employees by giving them control over the work they perform and the goals they achieve. When the staff achieves set goals, it is important for management to generate enthusiasm by recognizing progress and results (Blanchard & Bowles). 

9. Make direct amends to such employees wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or compromise company integrity. 

If an employee is proud and respectful of their organization, they want the customer to be happy, going so far as to apologize for previous wrongs and making the current situation right (Blanchard & Bowles). The real goal here is to reduce or totally eliminate the need to make amends to employees and customers. It is often said that employees are a company's most important asset but how do company's prove this? By withholding information and keeping secrets especially during mergers. "Managers keep control by pretending information is sensitive and withholding it. It's great for power trips but it doesn't lead to trust. If you want your team Gung Ho, you have to tell the whole truth, and that means information belongs to everyone" (51). If a company truly believes that its most important assets are its employees it shows in the values they uphold. Sharing information proves that the company trusts and respects their employees. Transitional Phase - Continuously Improve 

10. Continue to take corporate inventory and when a system weakness is found, promptly admit it. 

The creator of the Deming Management Method, Dr. W. Edwards Deming, developed The Fourteen Points and Seven Deadly Diseases for management reform. The fifth point of the method states, "Improve constantly and forever the system of production and service. Improvement is not a one-time effort. Management is obligated to continually look for ways to reduce waste and improve quality" (Deming 35). Continuous improvement is not just important for the production line. Continuous Improvement can be applied to any task, including mergers and acquisitions. Marshall Warwaruk states, that the companies who are best at merging and acquiring "Frequently review and adapt their M&A [Mergers and Acquisitions] strategy to changing market conditions" and "Strive to continually improve the process after each deal" ("Corum Group" par. 5). 

11. Seek through regularly scheduled feedback sessions to improve organizational processes and obtain knowledge of the CEOs' will for company direction and the empowerment to carry that out. 

MBA strategies should be placed in a feedback loop, complete with direction and empowerment of staff linked to Deming's PDCA cycle. Once there is a design in place and it has been implemented, it is important to remember the Deming cycle: 

P - Plan 

D - Do 

C - Check 

A - Act 

In checking the process, it is important to report the results to those who can make critical decisions. Those who can make the decisions will, and then determine the changes needed to improve the process. Paul Beveridge states in an internet article, "Partners have to be in it for the long haul, with realistic expectations of what can be achieved and how quickly, and it is essential to carry the workforce on both sides along, communicating with them openly and consistently, managing their expectations." ("Mergers Made in Heaven" par. 15). 

12. Having had a technical awakening as the result of these steps, we are trying to carry this message to other organizations, and practice these principles for achieving a successful MBA-IT Team in all our mergers, building of internal systems, and acquisitions. 


In conclusion, if an organization wants to ensure success, the previous steps must be followed. Each step is vital and must be integrated into the organization together as a whole. Just as a government has laws in place for the betterment of the people, so should an organization have a process and procedures in place for the betterment of everyone involved with that organization. 




Works Cited

Beveridge, Paul. “Mergers Made in Heaven.”  May. 2004.


Blanchard, Ken and Sheldon Bowles. Gung Ho!. New York, NY: William Morrow and

Company, Inc., 1998. 

Bodimer, Jeffrey. Use Training and Development to Motivate Staff. 2004. PRIMEDIA 

CO. <>

Chang, Richard., Curtis, Gary A., Jenk, Justin. Eight Practical IT Integration Imperatives     

to Help Drive M&A Success. 2002. Accenture. May 2002.\outlook\pov\pov_predealallgo.xml

CIO. “Mergers and Acquisitions.” 18 Sept. 2004


Corum Mergers & Acquisitions. “Merge.” 18 Sept. 2004 


Garifo, Chris.  “Wireless Mergers.”  March.  2001.


McDermott, Richard. The Role of Communities of Practice in Team Organizations. 1999.

May/June 1999. < garden/cop/learning.shtml>

TechRepublic. “How to Survive Mergers and Acquisitions.” 19 Sept. 2004


Walton, Mary. The Deming Management Method. New York, NY: The Berkley

Publishing Group, 1986.





Transformation, the Earth Mover


Steven V. Scudder (TNU 2006)

Managers can direct change from the top adjusting structure. However, significant change only comes from a transformation of the organization. The need for transformation comes from many different directions and under various situations. A change in the external environment may trigger the need for a company to transform. Hersey writes, “currently, globalization is one of the most powerful external forces for organizational transformation,” (Hersey 416). Companies transform to survive. The pressure or threat reaches a level where change is not enough and the company must make significant improvements to survive.

Successful Transformation Requires Leadership

At the point that a business needs to transform is a very scary time for employees. Leadership must communicate the reasons for transformation and ease the concerns of personnel. Without buy-in, the purpose for the transformation will be lost. The company’s employees will work against the changes making it fail. Leaders must step in and convince everyone that the company will survive if only the transformation succeeds. Transformation is top down driven. Top-level managers must understand and support the transformation and push this knowledge downward. The transformation needs support from every level. Making the decision to transform, that decision should rush over the organization like a waterfall. Momentum is critical for success in the transformation process.

Focusing, Not Just Good for Burning Ants

Brining together all of an organizations parts develops a focused team. Burning away problems quickly is only achievable by the combined energy of the organization through shared vision. Bo Gyllenpalm wrote, “creation of a peak-performing organization requires that the energy be focused and directed toward the organization’s primary goal or vision,” (Hersey 439). Each individual department in the organization supports a shared vision. When they work toward that vision then the energy from all the employees’ efforts will combine into a focused cone of energy. Managers must continually monitor the situation keeping everyone working within the cone. When personnel start working outside the cone, energy is lost and the organizational goals become unachievable.

Throwing Out the Baby with the Bath Water

Past theories of management have all come up short developing a practical model for business. However, each theory is building toward our understanding of a more complete model. By combining, using successful parts of previous ideas to a new model our knowledge increases. Another way of using a past model is to adapt this model using new information gained through research. Minor changes or additions to an older model will make the model practical. Models that do not have a practical application are worthless for influencing a management situation. Keeping the ideas and theories that apply are the key to building a new model.

After accessing the situation, a manager then reaches into their toolbox and pulls out a model that applies. Understanding the situation leads to choosing the right management model for the problem. Argyris used McGregor’s Theory X and Y with structured and unstructured behavior developing a problem-solving model. The new model is now more practical for management use. This building process leads to the Situational Leadership model. By combining the best parts of four different models, the Situational Leadership model becomes a practical tool. Hersey asserts, “the value that a framework of this kind has is not in changing one’s knowledge, but in changing one’s behavior in working with people,” (Hersey 467). Good management models must be practical and lead to desirable behavior changes.

Using Technology to Create Teamwork

Organizations are missing the chance to build teamwork by not using technology properly. Employees waste time and resources by not sharing research information. Having computer software that alerts an employee that someone else in the organization is accessing the same information now is an opportunity to build a team. According to David Gilmour, “last year, U. S. companies spent $4.5 billion on software and other technologies that claim to foster information sharing among employees,” (Gilmour 16). This software operated in the past and did not put the two employees together in the present. What works is software that connects employees across functions and combines their efforts where there is a logical overlap. Employees in different sections working on a project cannot drop what their doing and run around trying to determine if someone else is tapping the same information. This is where technology and software can really do something beneficial for a company by brining these two employees together efficiently.

Apparently Managers Are Full of Inaccurate Data

Managers who sit through numerous staff meetings and read the latest business reports are coming up short on accurate information about their organizations. They tend to draw false conclusions from the data and focus on short-term information. Short-term information is perishable and causes leaders to loose sight of the bigger picture. Based on Henry Tosi research, “as early as the 1970s studies began to hint at the chasm between managers’ perceptions and the objective reality of their businesses,” (Mezias par. 3). Managers who base decisions on bad information will make poor decisions. Leadership must break this paradigm. Fear of being wrong traps managers into using current information that has a short life span of accuracy. Leaders need to encourage managers to gather accurate information but it must proper for the decisions they are making.

Fail Safe Management

Management needs a decision making process that allows for stale information. As information becomes bad managers retain the impression that it is still correct. This is why developing a process that allows for a degree of inaccuracy is vital for management decisions. Decisions made at the management level should not rely on the latest output from the production line. The challenge is obtaining the right level of information accuracy for making each management decision.


Cited Sources

Gilmour, David. “How to Fix Knowledge Management.” Harvard Business Review 81.10
(2003): 16-17.

Hersey, Paul, Kenneth Blanchard, Dewey Johnson. Management of Organizational
Behavior: Leading Human Resources. 8th ed. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall,

Mezias, John M. and William H. Starbuck. “What Do Managers Know, Anyway?”
Harvard Business Review 81.5 (2003): 16-17.



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