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  • Writer's pictureHeather Belbin

Prosci Certification: Worth it or not?

Note: I am not affiliated with Prosci other than being a Prosci Certified Change Practitioner. This post is not monetized. It's an opinion piece based on my own experience, and someone else would likely have a different experience. There may be slight errors or ommissions, so for information about Prosci certification and ADKAR methodology, I suggest you visit .

1. What is Prosci?

If you want the official version, voila:

Prosci is an international provider of training, research, and accredition that focuses solely on change management.

For this article, I'm talking specifically about the Change Management Certification Program. It consists of 3-day course that can be done virtually or in-person, and it takes you through the fundamentals of:

  1. The Prosci Change Triangle (PCT) model

  2. The ADKAR model*(framework for individual change) *ADKAR stands for Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability, and Reinforcement. Prosci considers these to be the "5 outcomes an individual needs to achieve for a change to be successful." Source

  3. The Prosci Three-Phase Process (framework for organizational change).

I did the certification last winter, and almost 8 months later, I have some thoughts.

2. What I wanted from the learning experience:

A sanity check.

I work from home and am technically my own boss. This means that I alternate between periods of impostor syndrome and other periods where I think I am a genius that all of my ideas are absolutely fantastic. Over the years, I have figured out my own ways of doing things and formed my own (obviously flawless :)) opinions of how and when certain things should be done. Of course, the truth is somewhere in the middle, so I wanted the opportunity to assess my own ways of working against reputable, fundamental methadology.


I do either full-time corp-to-corp mandates or part-time consulting and I noticed Prosci certification was becoming more of a "must have" requirement for my target clientele. Not having the cerfitication risked losing out on contracts, so I felt that the cost was worth the risk for me.

Change Management specific structure and tools.

It's the nature of the job that any Change Management consultant is going to be working closely with Project Managers, Product Managers, and developers. Those fields have methodoliges that heavily influence the project itself. In order for Change Management to be seen as an equal partner, we need to show up with our own tools and best practices. Otherwise, we are at the mercy of others and risk devaluing our profession.

Access to research.

In addition to wanting access to research for my own professional development, I wanted to be able to talk numbers with potential clients. Companies are starting to realize that they could benefit from investing in Change Management. They know when their previous rollouts have not worked, and they know, at a high level, Change Management would probably have helped. But we don't come cheap. Whether in-house or external, the budget for a Change Management resource should be roughly on par with what you'd budget for a Project Manager. This can come as a surprise to the people in charge of the money, so I wanted access to solid research to talk about the ROI in order to help potential clients make the case up the chain for the budget.

3. The Positives

It's makes sense.

It's not fluff. As I went through the training, it was very easy to relate things to my day-to-day work. It was the kind of workshop where I was eager to get out of it so I could go back to work to start doing the things we were learning.

It clarifies what do to next.

Some projects and orgs are chaotic, where everyone wants everything at the same time. It is easy to fall into Dwight Schrute trap of having seven first priorities and multitasking, but to what end? It's not going to get your change adopted better or faster. Being able to do a PCT assessment allows you to cut through that noise and know what you actually need to do next, regardless of whoever is being the squeaky wheel.

One year access to Proxima is included.

Without getting into the details of Proxima and whether or not it's worth it to pay for a subscription after the year is up because I don't actually know the cost, I can say that it's pretty cool. The tools (such as PCT assessment, impact assessment, role rosters, impacted groups) are incredible and usable. They are all designed to make sure you ask the right questions at the right time, and why reinvent the wheel?

I have taken the time to create a sample project for my portfolio and go through everything available in Proxima. I'm still working my way through it, but this having a full year of access is an excellent way to reinforce learnings and build upon the foundation. Thumbs up to whoever at Prosci made the case for a full year.

4. The Drawbacks

The cost.

I can't speak to the enterprise costs, but for small business or those paying as an individual, it's can be a significant investment. I paid $4100 CAD for the virtual course, which is the equivalent of a fairly nice holiday week away.

More focused on Waterfall than Agile and iterative approaches.

ADKAR can absolutely be appled to an iterative project environment, but how to do that is not as clear as I would have liked during the course. I did ask the question, and the response made sense and I think I've figured it out since then. However, I could have used another half day specifically on ADKAR in an Agile environment.

The word "Desire"

Using ADKAR methodology (Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability, Reinforcement) you make people aware, then you make them want to do the change by focusing on what's in it for them. The word Desire (the D in ADKAR) though, that's pretty heavy. For me personally, it's more of a date night word, maybe the folks at Prosci see things differently.

There are lots of changes where, once we highlight the "What's in it for me?", people will desire the change. However, there are other kinds of change where the "what's in it for me?" for an impacted group is not very sexy and is along the lines of "so that the company can continue to operate and you will still have a job."

Personally, I would have made it AMKAR instead of ADKAR, the M being for Motivation. (I'm obviously writing this in my "I'm a genius!" phase of the day.) Humans are motivated to do lots of things that they don't technically desire. I'm not looking to be picky on wording, but I think that the word Desire could result in some Change Practitioners spending a lot of energy trying to inject cheerleader energy and forced positivity into a change where a simple "we get to keep our jobs" would have better results.

Capacity is missing.

Going through a change requires considerable time and effort from stakeholders, SMEs, Change Champions, UAT testers, and end users. These are not four separate groups of people; Someone who is a SME could also be one of the change champions AND and end user. A stakeholder could also be a SME whose expertise is frequently required.

These people already have jobs, many of which have performance metrics that are entirely separate from this project. Here are two scenarios that I've come across:

  1. The project team asks a sales rep to help out with a sales-related as-is / to be process. That sales rep is super helpful with the process map, so then they get asked to help with UAT. And at that point, since the sales rep knows quite a lot about the change, he's getting pinged on Teams and pulled into meetings every day. Their sales targets aren't changing though, there is no backfill for them, but the project is eating up hours each week for months.

  2. Let's say you're rolling out a new ticketing system. Everyone is trained, the sofware works. However, it's normal for people to be slower when using new technology at first, so common sense tells us that the team will need more time on task per ticket for the first month or so. But did anyone plan for that? Does the current capacity for the team allow for more time on task? If they do fewer tickets per day, how many days behind will we expect to be, and will we be breaching any SLAs with out clients? Are they being asked to make this change during a peak period? How many are going to be on vacation at that time and how are we covering that?

You might argue that capacity planning sits outside the role of Change Management, but I would disagree. Project Managers are measuring resource capacity on the IT side, so someone has to own it on the people side. Planning for capacity issues needs to happen early and be reassessed often. You may need to backfill some roles temporarily. You may need to adjust your performance metrics (which could impact revenue).

5. My verdict: Worth It.

From a biz dev perspective alone, the certification is very much in demand from clients (at least in North America). When you add on the actual learning aspect, plus the 1-year access to the tools in Proxima, it's good value*. If you treat it as a three-day course, done and dusted, it might not be worth it for you. For me, the three days were the introduction to the fundamentals, and then I have a year to use their excellent online tools to hone my skills.

6. Final thoughts:

In my opinion, the type of person who would get the most out of this course:

  1. has worked on some change projects already (so that they can reflect and make connections.)

  2. works in an environment where there are other Prosci people.

  3. works in an environment that is open to making changes to how they do change management.

  4. has strong critical thinking skills. It's not an exact science, so you need to evaluate and adapt.

How to make the most out of what you've learned.
  1. Reflect.

  2. Make the most of your Proxima subscription. It doesn't matter if nobody cares to see your latest PCT assessment, do it anyway as a learning exercise. If it's easier, think back on some projects you've worked on in the past and that background knowledge to do a risk assessment, stakeholder list, impact assessment, etc.

  3. Take what works in your environment, add what you need, leave the rest.

Another note: If you're experienced in Prosci and have any feedback, clarifications, or guiding questions to send my way, please do! There's a wealth of information that I haven't had the chance to dig into and I'm looking to improve. You can connect with me on LinkedIn, email me at, or message me at @Whenchangehurts on Instagram.


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