Change management : much more than a communication plan

La gestion de changement - beaucoup plus qu'un plan de communication

Change management, in the context of software implementation, can be divided into three parts. To optimize the results, change management needs good communication, training and organizational development.


It is vitally important to draw attention to major changes that impact an organization during a transformational project. Effective change management will, at the project close, bring the organization the business benefits it expects. In contrast, resistance to change may destroy opportunities to benefit from transformations ensuing from the deployment of new business processes and systems.


Learn why change management is much more than a communication plan.


Part #1 of change management: Communication

Right from the start of a project, communication is key. The change management team will work to gain a full understanding of the decision file that was used to justify the launch of the project.


Throughout the project and thereafter, the team needs to keep the focus on the expected benefits. Next, the team will determine the stakeholders that the project will impact. Conversely, stakeholders could have an impact on the project. Each of these stakeholders will be met with to discuss the implications.


The next step will be to determine the changes that the project will bring about and to fully understand the effect these changes will have on each stakeholder. A matrix will be created and used as the basis for developing change management strategies to be used throughout the project. The strategies adopted will be chiefly based on communication, training and organizational development approaches.


Part #2: Training

The greatest challenges posed by implementation projects are human rather than technological. Keeping that in mind, stakeholders need to be provided with the resources they require to get to the point where the expected benefits come through. This will add up to a relatively small portion of the costs of the project, especially when compared with the extent of its impact.


Change management experts must also help the project team grow. The main goal is to put together a productive team as quickly and as efficiently as possible: forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning.


Part #13 of change management: Organizational Development

IT organizations frequently undergo major changes resulting from the deployment of new systems. It is not uncommon to observe that they are often largely ignored by change management. Why? Probably because greater attention is paid to business units, assuming – wrongly – that IT will adapt.


The change management role is not over the moment new business processes are introduced. Part of the team must stay in place to ensure that the expected benefits are achieved. Often, this means reinforcing the decisions and principles underlying the transformations that have been deployed and supporting managers in the execution of required organizational development activities. We can think of moving resources, making changes to organizational structures, making staffing adjustments, and modifying roles within the organization.



Too many organizations embark on a software package implementation without engaging an external expert management team. Result: disappointing statistics. Most organizations fail to achieve the desired level of success and often say that they will do things differently in future projects.


Attitudes towards change management vary greatly from one organization to another. It also varies among the managers of a single organization. Some managers are skeptical about adding change management resources to project teams, in which case it is up to the project promoter to convince them that these resources are vital to the success of any large-scale project and that their absence carries a major risk of negative consequences.


Jean-François Desroches is Program Manager at PlanAxion Solutions.
He can be reached at