Prosci developed the Change Management Maturity Model™ in 2004 following a study with over 150 organizations. Unlike process-oriented maturity models, the Change Management Maturity Model describes different levels of organizational maturity related to managing the people side of change on projects and initiatives. In 2012, Prosci has developed and released a Change Management Maturity Model Audit - building out the initial framework with Capability Areas describing five dimensions of maturity and specific observable factors that constitute organizational maturity.

This tutorial, module 4 in the current series on institutionalizing change management, presents the Prosci Change Management Maturity Model and the new web-based self assessment for determining your organizational maturity level in change management. Learn more or purchase an audit for your or your client's organization.

Prosci Change Management Maturity Model

The Change Management Maturity Model presents five levels of organizational maturity in change management:

  • Level 5: Organizational Competency
  • Level 4: Organizational Standards
  • Level 3: Multiple Projects
  • Level 2: Isolated Projects
  • Level 1: Absent or Ad hoc

The table below provides expanded descriptions of how change management is perceived, when change management is applied and who is practicing change management for each of the five levels.

Level 1: Absent or Ad hoc

  • Seen as:
    A distraction from the focus on installing technical solutions
  • Applied when:
    Not at all, or as a last resort and as a reaction
  • Practiced by:
    Dependent on particular individual practitioners
    Not at all by managers and leaders

Level 2: Isolated Projects

  • Seen as:
    Important by some
    Unimportant by most
  • Applied when:
    On few projects, from initiation
    On some projects, in reaction to resistance
    On most projects, not at all
  • Practiced by:
    Handful of unaffiliated practitioners

Level 3: Multiple Projects

  • Seen as:
    A structured approach that adds value
  • Applied when:
    Localized in particular parts of the organization
    At initiation on some projects
    Still missing or as a reaction on many
  • Practiced by:
    Practitioners who are starting to work together
    Some senior leaders, managers and supervisors

Level 4: Organizational Standards

  • Seen as:
    An important success factor on all projects
    A common and standard approach
  • Applied when:
    Regularly at project initiation or planning
    Integrated into project management approach
  • Practiced by:
    Most practitioners and project teams
    Most senior leaders, managers and supervisors
    Potentially a centralized functional group

Level 5: Organizational Competency

  • Seen as:
    A critical core competency for the organization
    Essential on all projects and initiatives
    Second nature and commonplace
  • Applied when:
    At the start of projects and initiatives
    On virtually all project and non-project changes
    Inseparable from project delivery processes
  • Practiced by:
    Practitioners, project teams, technical professionals
    All senior leaders, managers and supervisors
    Centralized functional group

As an organization moves up the levels in the Change Management Maturity Model, change management can be found on more projects and initiatives and in more parts of the organization. Participation in change management is found more broadly throughout the organization, and employees begin to internalize their role in making change successful based on their relationship to change. Steps are taken to embed and integrate change management into more functions in the organization. Ultimately, projects and initiatives are more successful, realizing benefits and achieving desired outcomes.

Prosci Change Management Maturity Model Audit

Capability Areas

As part of the build out of the Change Management Maturity Model in 2012, Prosci reviewed the research and extensive client experiences to identify dimensions of maturity. The result of the analysis was five Capability Areas - attributes of how change management occurs within an organization that expand on the five levels. These Capability Areas are:

Capability Area 1: Leadership - Not general leadership, but leadership support specifically for applying change management on efforts in the organization. Examples from the leadership capability area:

  • Primary sponsor for change management deployment effort
  • Sponsor coalition for deployment effort
  • Communications from key leaders about the importance of change management
  • Vision for the organizational change management capability
  • Business rules, policies and procedures making change management a requirement

Capability Area 2: Application - Use of change management processes and tools on projects and initiatives. Examples from the application capability area:

  • Percentage of projects applying change management
  • Parts of the organization (divisions, functions, units) applying change management
  • Availability of tools for managing change
  • Availability of time and resources to apply change management on projects

Capability Area 3: Competencies - Competency and skill-building for "leading change" throughout the organization, based on employees' relationship to change. Example from the competencies capability area:

  • Training and competencies for practitioners
  • Training and competencies for executives and senior leaders
  • Training and competencies for managers and supervisors
  • Training and competencies for employees
  • Training and competencies for project team members
  • Continuous learning opportunities

Capability Area 4: Standardization - Move toward common and consistent application of an organizational standard approach to change management. Examples from the standardization capability area:

  • Adoption of a standard approach
  • Provision of standard tools
  • Establishment of criteria for applying change management
  • Structural elements (e.g. functional group, Community of Practice, networks, etc.)
  • Integration into standard project delivery process
  • Embedding into ongoing improvement systems
  • Integrating with "change-initiating" processes and systems (e.g. Six Sigma, Strategic Planning, BPM, etc.)

Capability Area 5: Socialization - Understanding, appreciation and acknowledgement of the necessity of change management on efforts in the organization. Examples from the socialization capability area:

  • Executive charter
  • Understanding of value
  • Buy-in and support for applying change management
  • Common and shared definition of change management
  • Reinforcement of change management
  • Cultural value related to managing the people side of change

Change Management Maturity Model Audit Evaluation

The Change Management Maturity Model Audit is completed by evaluating 50 specific, observable factors using a rubric scoring system. For each of the 50 factors, users are presented with descriptions of a Level 1, Level 2, Level 3, Level 4 and Level 5 organization. By selecting the description that best matches the organization, users build out a more sophisticated and complete view of organizational change management maturity. Below are two examples of the rubric scoring used for the 50 factors that make up the Change Management Maturity Model Audit:


Capability Area 1: Leadership
Factor 1: Adequate sponsorship for building change management capabilities and competencies

  • Level 5: Excellent sponsor - right level, engaged, active and visible in support
  • Level 4: Effective sponsor - supporting the effort, right level to sponsor Project ECM
  • Level 3: Sponsor named, but not completely engaged, active or visible - may be wrong level of sponsor
  • Level 2: Looking for a sponsor, or sponsor is identified but not sponsoring
  • Level 1: No sponsor

Capability Area 4: Standardization
Factor 4.1: Adoption of a standard approach to change management

  • Level 5: Organization has adopted a standard approach and broadly communicated it
  • Level 4: Organization has adopted a standard approach, limited communication of standard approach
  • Level 3: No standard approach adopted, similarity of approach on multiple projects emerging
  • Level 2: No standard approach adopted, some similarity of approach on isolated projects emerging
  • Level 1: No standard approach in place or in practice


Change Management Maturity Model Audit Outputs

There are three outputs generated by the Prosci Change Management Maturity Model Audit:

  • Overall maturity score
  • Capability Area scores
  • Factor scores










Using the Prosci Change Management Maturity Model Audit

The Prosci Change Management Maturity Model is an invaluable addition to the toolbox for change leaders looking to add flexibility and durability as a core competency of their organization. The audit and the results are valuable in a number of different capacities in the effort to deploy change management more broadly throughout an organization:

  • Current state analysis: The Prosci Change Management Maturity Model provides a quantified baseline for change management maturity today including insights into each of the five Capability Areas.
  • Future state definition: The framework of the five levels of maturity and the five capability areas guides the effort to define what the organization will look like after successfully deploying change management and serves as targets for setting objectives and success metrics.
  • Transition state design: The result of the audit helps users identify gaps and begin to prioritize the elements of the solution that will move the organization from where it is today to a state where change management is the expectation, not the exception.

The Prosci ECM Boot Camp (one-day workshop) and the Prosci ECM Roadmap (online instructional tool) give you step-by-step instructions and additional tools and templates for creating your customized strategies and plans for institutionalizing change management and building organizational capabilities and competencies. 

Five Levels of Change Management Maturity article

Written by
Tim Creasey
Tim Creasey

Tim Creasey is Prosci’s Chief Innovation Officer and a globally recognized leader in change management. His work forms the foundation of the largest body of knowledge in the world on managing the people side of change to deliver organizational results.