Posted in Review

Book Review – ADKAR: A Model for Change in Business, Government and Our Community

TL:DR

ADKAR is a critical read for anyone implementing change. It’s less about theory and more about action, but it provides sufficient background to understand the basic theory. Change, whether personal or organizational, is hard. Having a framework to work within helps. The info is especially helpful for security professionals who need to find ways to shape behavior and get people on-board with security initiatives.

Quick book review…

The ADKAR book (Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability, and Reinforcement) basically puts the workshop into a quick read. I think it gives you enough to put the information to work, but attending the workshop/doing the certification would probably be helpful if you’ve got the funds. I don’t know that anything is ground-breaking or earth-shattering, but I found the content to be concise and easy to apply. For someone who is process oriented, ADKAR provides a process to actually get changes made. I don’t think the material is really standalone in the sense that it’s the only change/project management thing you need, but I think the pieces covered in ADKAR are a huge help. It’s a quick read, and I found myself connecting the material to projects I’ve been involved with throughout the book. Being able to take the concept, match it to something I’ve been involved with, and pinpoint how the task had been done (or not) was helpful. I could look at things and see where things had been done well (in terms of the ADKAR model) and where things could have used some improvement. For infosec professionals, I think it’s a great resource that can help put policy changes and the security program in a more person-focused light.

Application

If you question whether this info is applicable to IT/infosec, Cisco uses it as the basis for their transformation methodology. The info is actionable enough to let you incorporate it into current projects. You may need to start over in some cases, but there are things you can incorporate at any step of the project if you aren’t willing to go back to the beginning. Security awareness training would be an obvious place to apply the model, but it works for just about anything.

For me, I liked that this was very actionable. I’ve read most of Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard and while the concepts were clear, they weren’t as actionable. Though I suppose I should finish the last few chapters before I say that with certainty (my meh attitude toward finishing it probably says a lot). I do think Switch offers a lot of insight into change and the different ways that people approach change, but it was not as easy to put into practice for me. Plus it’s a longer book.

Closing Thoughts

Overall, I don’t think ADKAR is the be-all-end-all, but I think it’s a valuable tool. I’ve been learning more about project management and process improvement, and I think ADKAR is a nice addition. Having familiarity with PMI, ADKAR, Six Sigma, Lean, etc. will be beneficial as I work with people in a variety of backgrounds. Each is filling different knowledge gaps for me and is helping me with how I approach things. I guess I look at it similarly to how I looked at the various certifying bodies for personal training – each has strengths and weaknesses so I don’t want to be tied into just one. If you are at an organization that mandates a particular approach, you know which to go with. But if you aren’t locked into one, I think being aware of the concepts to be able to pull from a wide background is helpful. You should probably minimize mixing and matching for a single project, but I can see where for certain things, one might be more helpful than others.

Author:

Lifelong paradox - cyber sec enthusiast - loves to learn

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