The People, Process, Technology (PPT) Framework: An Approach to Change Management

Effective change management is a core requirement for modern businesses, especially those undergoing software upgrades and digital transformation. The People, Process, Technology (PPT) framework encapsulates these three principles, each contributing to an effective enterprise.

This guide shows how the PPT method can transform an organization by providing strategies for implementing PPT within your organization, along with business use cases.

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PPT framework definition

The PPT framework assists companies in building systems that coordinate strategies for people, processes, and technology to support one another during a change process. It’s based on the idea that these three elements must operate together to mitigate the effects of transitions.

An element that is weak or doesn’t contribute to a business’s core goals can impact efficiency, so PPT is employed to create synergy among its core components.

This framework is most often applied to change and project management, but it can also serve as a starting point for other aspects of businesses, including risk management, goal setting, and overall strategic development.

Origins and evolution of the PPT framework

American management psychologist Harold Leavitt designed a model to illustrate the relationships between critical organizational factors during the 1960s. He called it Leavitt’s Diamond after its four interdependent components: tasks, people, structure, and technology.

Tasks are critical activities a business must routinely execute. Leaders should foster the attitudes and traits in their people that will help their organizations succeed. A business’s structure allows its teams to divide their responsibilities while also working together. Technology also helps organizations perform essential functions.

Leavitt’s Diamond started a systematic approach to business change based on the relationship between organizational factors. However, the phrase “People, Process, Technology” didn’t become common until the 1990s, when security technologist Bruce Schneier described the interrelationship of these three organizational components.

At that time, IT security was largely focused on technology, so Schneier tried to promote the importance of people and processes in the security realm. He also discusses the need for PPT to manage an infrastructure with rapidly evolving IT security.

The exact applications and terminology have changed since then, but the overall message of PPT has always been that change doesn’t occur in a vacuum. It will affect an organization in many ways, even when those changes are unintentional.

PPT components

The core principles of the PPT framework serve as a template for addressing operational challenges and their solutions, regardless of an organization’s specific business. Each element plays a distinct, critical role in this process.


Within the context of PPT, people are the individuals in an organization who contribute to a project’s completion. They include employees who perform tasks and leaders who make decisions and set goals. Stakeholders who bring organizations toward their goals are also people under PPT.

A change management project that includes leadership and key stakeholders is an effective vehicle to obtain the engagement and buy-in needed to implement lasting change. Building a team with the right members involves the following steps:

  • Identify all necessary skills, knowledge, experience, and capabilities. Team members must have a thorough understanding of the goals they need to achieve, which often requires them to develop new skills.

This requirement applies to all stakeholders, including project managers and individual team members. In addition, those stakeholders should possess the desire to make the effort required to complete the project.

  • Build a culture that embraces change. Project managers must understand their team members’ motivations and use them to establish realistic expectations for a change project. This process often focuses on communicating the reasons for change and strategies to identify and overcome challenges before they occur.
  • Provide adequate training and other support. Team members often require innovative methods of education to deal with change. This may include new tools to accelerate the adoption of change.
  • Manage your team’s time and energy. Allocate your team’s resources meticulously to avoid project delays. This is a common occurence when key team members are unavailable or start to burn out due to an overly aggressive schedule.


Thomas H. Davenport and Thomas C. Redman wrote in the Harvard Business Review that lasting organizational change requires members to rethink their processes from beginning to end. They need to develop new ways of meeting customer needs, creating seamless connections between their activities and managing changes across silos.

The Process aspect of PPT enables these advances by providing a foundation for aligning an organization’s people with its culture and the quality of work the project requires. It helps guide teams through the necessary steps to complete tasks, but it is important to note that PPT requires effective communication with all team members. Defining the necessary processes often involves beginning from scratch.

Project leaders must also be clear about their expectations, which may include mapping pathways for individuals to reach their goals. In addition, leaders should anticipate bottlenecks due to unclear instructions or excessive dependencies that can lead to missed deadlines.


The Technology component of PPT includes the systems and tools that support an organization in conducting processes more efficiently. The importance of this PPT component is increasing due to technological advancements across industries. A 2023 Pipefy study reports that 54 percent of surveyed executives considered technological changes to be the most significant in their organization.

IT tools are often major business investments; a 2024 Gartner report predicts global IT spending will reach $5.06 trillion in 2024. Even the most advanced tools won’t allow an organization to achieve business goals if they aren’t deployed properly, however. The PPT framework promotes the development of an IT strategy based on evaluation, implementation, and adoption as follows:

Evaluation. This step includes engaging with stakeholders to establish the business objectives that a project needs to meet. It consists of a requirements analysis that should include the capabilities of the technology solutions the project will use. Furthermore, organizations should evaluate vendors closely during this stage to ensure they meet these criteria.

Implementation. A software implementation plan should provide clear timelines, objectives, processes, and required resources. Integrating new technology into existing infrastructure involves the development of workflows to streamline these efforts and lay the foundation for repeatable success. PPT users accomplish this by creating data capture processes, automating manual tasks, and collecting feedback.

Adoption. The adoption phase focuses on creating positive user experiences, guiding users within applications, and providing them with self-help options for support. The goals of this phase include reducing ramp-up times and dependencies and increasing the use of IT investments. Common methods for upskilling users’ technology expertise include field validations, in-app nudges, interactive workflows, product tours, and smart tips.

Implementing the PPT framework

The key advantage of the PPT framework over other change management processes is its flexibility. Enterprises can easily modify it to overcome the challenges in meeting their own business goals, as shown in the following real-world applications of PPT.

Optimizing employee performance and workflow

Workflows often have room for improvement, especially those that perform digital tasks. Digital workflows may have a range of requirements and priorities, based on the responsibilities and roles of the employees who use them. A feature that increases the efficiency of one workflow won’t necessarily do so for another. As a result, it’s important to customize each workflow by considering how it will support the goals of that department.

PPT users must assess workflows across the available tools in the tech stack. For example, some parts of the workflow may be suitable for reduction or complete removal. The use of disparate tools may also create opportunities for streamlining tools between them. In addition, workflows should have standardized documentation that users can easily reference. Leaders can promote new workflows through the use of in-app content like beacons, pop-ups, and smart tips.

Driving digital adoption and best practices

Employees often fail to adopt best practices for digital processes, especially during a digital transformation. This resistance is typically the result of poor training or poor buy-in, but it’s important to understand the reasons why they have not changed their workflows. Best practices sometimes limit productivity, while steep learning curves can also eliminate the motivation to learn a new workflow.

The next step is to identify the key actions in a workflow that can benefit from additional training. Employees should have access to training material during onboarding and as they perform daily duties. Tools that optimize and distribute training resources are another means of driving the adoption of best practices in executing workflows.

Fostering innovation and organizational agility

It’s not unusual for businesses to struggle with innovation despite new process implementation. It may be necessary to evaluate your organization’s culture to ensure it fosters employee creativity, motivation, and productivity. New knowledge and skills may be necessary for them to contribute to process changes, indicating opportunities for training to leverage available tools.

One solution to this challenge is to analyze the processes comprising your team’s innovation efforts, including brainstorming ideas, communicating them to stakeholders, and implementing them. Bottlenecks like insufficient digital support, poor testing protocols, and slow approvals can slow the adoption of innovative practices.

Another approach to supporting innovation is the use of tools to remove barriers to these processes. These include tools that streamline tasks, such as analytics, communication, customer relationship management, project management and prototyping. Equip your employees with standardized documentation and contextual training so they’re prepared to adopt new technologies and apply digitization in creative and strategic ways.

Addressing common obstacles in applying the PPT framework

Common barriers to implementing the PPT framework include employee resistance to change, the integration of disparate processes and technologies, and driving innovation while maintaining core operations.

Employee resistance to change

Employee resistance to change is one of the most common challenges when implementing new processes. Users are typically comfortable with current processes, even when they aren’t completely satisfied with them.

Motivating employees to learn new ways of doing things requires their early involvement. These measures include training and communicating the benefits of the new technology for the employees.

Integrating disparate processes

The integration of new technology with existing systems can be challenging for multiple reasons. For example, they may not be compatible with each other in their existing condition, leading to delays and greater costs for completing the integration.

Overcoming this challenge should include a careful evaluation of the new technology’s compatibility with the current infrastructure before implementing it. In addition, systems integration services can help ensure a smooth integration.

Driving innovation

Driving integration while maintaining core processes can be particularly difficult, given the current pace of technological advances. Innovations that disrupt existing paradigms can emerge quickly to render predictions obsolete.

For example, smartphones have only existed for about 20 years, yet they’re already an essential part of our lives. Remaining innovative in this environment requires organizations to adopt more agile forecasting methodologies, such as cross-disciplinary collaboration, scenario planning, and trend analysis.

Strategies for sustained organizational growth

Business transformation strategies often focus on processes and technology while overlooking the “people” aspect. This approach will not yield the lasting, effective change that results from stakeholder buy-in.

The early involvement of non-management personnel is essential for creating a culture of continuous improvement. In addition, focusing on short-term gains at the expense of long-term benefits is another challenge to achieving sustained growth.

Leaders can identify an organization’s greatest problem with a project by considering both the change management framework and the changes they need to make. For example, a process that does not complete tasks quickly enough should indicate a need for closer examination of the technology, specifically for the possibility of automating more tasks.

Missed efficiency targets sometimes point to the process’s failure to scale. Failure to create new value can indicate that, for one of several reasons, users cannot innovate to the projected lengths.

It’s also important to ensure an organization uses its legacy technology to its fullest potential. Careful analysis may reveal capabilities that provide untapped utility in managing change. Company culture is another factor to consider when improving processes, especially the ways changes and decisions are communicated. Communication training may also be beneficial for employees new to the workplace.

The interaction of the three components of PPT is crucial for innovation. In summary, people do the work, while sound processes can improve their efficiency. Technology helps automate processes, which can facilitate innovation. The process of requesting time provides an example of how the “technology” aspect of PPT can drive process improvements.

Assume that the current process consists of employees emailing their supervisors to request time off, then waiting for a response. New software could improve this process through automation by accepting leave requests from employees after confirming current schedules and leave balances.

A request that passes these checks could automatically approve the leave request or pass it to the appropriate manager for further review, depending on company policy. Adding approved leave requests to the master employee calendar might further automate the process.

Change leaders often focus on processes at the expense of people. This is a mistake, as one person following an efficient process can be as effective as multiple people using inefficient processes. In addition, focusing only on processes can result in a process that looks good on paper, but lacks the necessary people or technology to support it.

The evolving landscape of change management

The PPT framework has existed since the mid-1960s, so many change leaders think that it’s no longer useful. The rising use of digital technology makes the PPT triangle heavy on the Technology component, requiring more work on the other components to balance out the triangle.

For example, organizations are starting to use the Prosci Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability and Reinforcement (ADKAR) model to manage the People component. For the Process aspect, companies often use the Lean Six Sigma methodology.

Despite these practices, the rapid evolution of technology means that an equal balance of the three PPT components may no longer be the most effective approach to managing change. Experts generally agree that PPT isn’t obsolete, as organizational change still involves people, process and technology. It’s therefore difficult for a business leader to succeed without thinking in terms of these three elements.

However, some experts are suggesting the addition of a component for data to the PPT model, giving it a diamond structure like the original Leavitt’s Diamond. This model would help organizations define success more effectively in the digital age and better indicate the steps needed to achieve that success.

Another variation of PPT is the 3 Ps model proposed by billionaire Marcus Lemonis, which consists of the components of people, products, and processes. In summary, while PPT is still effective today, it’s unlikely to stand alone in a change management strategy.

The business process automation (BPA) solution from Pipefy supports the PPT model by providing an alternative approach to outsourcing that allows organizations to scale their operations. Our solution also easily integrates into existing workflows, allowing them to provide a consistent user experience.

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