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Intro to ABCDE – Part 4


I hope you found our introduction to change helpful.  If you need a recap, you can find it here.

In the Intro we gave you a conceptual, high-level overview of change. Now we need to help you with the ‘how.’

Let’s imagine you were baking a cake, would you take a chance, chuck all the ingredients in, stick it in the oven and hope for the best?

Chances are you’d weigh out what you need first and follow a method.

ABCDE, it’s a piece of cake

Child making a cake

Making project management a piece of cake

In this overview of the ABCDE method we give you something to work with.

Not quite child’s play but we’re very confident this is something anyone can use. We’ll show you how to turn the concept of change management in to practical, day to day, successful delivery.

What I’ve learned…

I’ve been fortunate to work with some big organisations and run some very large projects with big budgets and great people working for me.  Those projects have generally been huge multi-million-pound affairs with lots of people running around doing lots of things with very structured methodologies to make sure that the change happens very safely.

If you’re spending millions of millions of pounds on a change, you can’t really risk it going wrong. You’ve got to try and give yourself the assurance that it’s going to go right. But with that comes some very bloated frameworks which require loads of people to run them and check them and double check them and triple check them.

Whatever route you got down, you may have heard some terminology like Waterfall or Agile. Those methodologies generally require people and practitioners in change who are very, experienced and therefore very, costly and require lots of people to wrap around that change to make it happen.

That can make it seem unattainable or unachievable for smaller businesses or individuals. By smaller businesses, I don’t mean tiny little one-man band micro-businesses. I mean organisations where it’s not viable to have an army of folk doing loads and loads of change. That’s why we’ve developed the ABCDE way.

This is the starting block, and over the coming blogs, we’ll show you our tools and ways of helping you actually deliver change yourself using the ABCDE way.

We tried to think of something catchy, but we thought ABCDE was the simplest way to boil it down to this very, simple thing. It’s effectively a paint by numbers methodology, which you can understand and follow yourself.

Most importantly, it’s a method that will result in higher rate of successful delivery. It will need some structure, some practice but isn’t cumbersome or very detailed change methodology.

The ABCDE Way is broken down into five key stages.

5 Key Stages

1. AIM

The first stage is Aim. This is where we set our overall objectives and aim for the project that we’re trying to achieve.

In Aim, we do 3 things:

  • We come up with a hypothesis, this is a structured way of coming up with an idea, forming your idea, and effectively capturing your Why
  • We then workshop that through and we figure out our plan, our risks and our issues
  • Then we Summarise everything in one document. Having done all that, we then put it in front of our stakeholders to approve it.


We then get a stage called Build, and this is where build the thing, the product or service or change that we’re going to make in the project.

In Build, we create. That’s where we ‘do the do’ and build the thing. Whilst that’s going on, we manage that build. We do the progress reporting to make sure that we’re on track, we effectively mitigate our risks and our issues, and we also control. We manage any changes that come in from left field.  Then, again, when we get to the end of the Build stage, we approve what we’ve built, and we make sure that we’re happy with it.


We’ve then got the Comms phase, that’s where we go over some of the stuff around critical success factors, training and communications, and then how we market it both internally and externally.

Comms breaks down into criteria, critical success factors and training, how we educate everyone on the change that we’re making, and then marketing.


We then have the Deploy stage. That’s where we implement the change out into the big wide world and we measure it, and crucially, we look after it while it’s still young and requires some tweaking.

In Deploy, we have the three sub-stages, Implement, Measure and Warranty. Implement is about effectively putting it out there either in phases or all at once. In measure we check on it to make sure it’s successful.  In Warranty, any new project is going to need some looking after while it’s still in its embryonic stages to make sure that it doesn’t fall over, and we continue to extract the value from it.


Finally, we Embed it. Having gone through all those previous stages, we ensure that it’s thoroughly documented, it’s handed over into the people that are going to run this thing now, and that crucially, the benefits, are measured.

Then through the Embed stage, we use Document to write everything down and to update the business documentation and records. This makes sure that everybody’s aware that this is how we do business now. Then we do a thorough handover to those people that are now going to run it on a day-to-day basis.

We make sure that they know it inside and out, and they’ve adopted it into their business-as-usual processes. Finally, Benefit. If said we were going to deliver a million pounds worth of value by delivering this project, is that what we did? Did we get it right? What lessons can we learn from it? And then we are done.


We’ve subdivided each of those stages into each sub-stages with an approval at each point. Only when you’ve been through all five steps is the change properly done.

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