Customer Success

Key Points in Implementing Change Management

Co-Authors: Norman Dee and Mark Scott


In the first blog in this series, we discussed the importance of planning human change management when implementing material technology changes within an organization to ensure the ongoing adoption and success of those changes.

Diagram 1 CMA Planning Steps

These ten steps are vital to establishing a common vision, changing the framework, provisioning resources, determining budgets, metrics & KPIs and designing the change plan based on the type of change taking place.

In this second blog of the series, we discussed the types of changes that might take place and what the impact is on the human side of the equation. We identified the kinds of change and their impact on the scope and level of effort in implementing change. This is summarized again later in this blog.

In this third and final blog of the Change Management Adoption (CMA) series, we are pointing to key components of implementing Change Management as part of a three-phased approach:

  • The Preparing for Change phase in which the ten planning steps take place, detailed in the first blog of this series.
  • The Managing the Change phase, during which the plans for technology and process platform changes are executed, as in the case of an infrastructure project. During this phase, we will learn of modifications and changes that need to be made, which feed into the communications.
  • We will then Reinforce the messaging, hold open platforms and process feedback into the human change management’s own change processing framework.

Change Management Phase 1 – Preparing

In this first part we:

  • Conduct readiness assessments – these are dependent on the needs of the overall project but can include skills assessments, collateral and process reviews, dependencies on tribal knowledge, regional requirements and relocation needs.
  • Perform risk analysis – based on the needs of the overall project and the readiness assessments. These will inform us of some potential gaps and exposures. Examples of these vulnerabilities could include:
    • the current key set of employees that are near retirement
    • the extent retraining will be needed
    • cultural resistance to change
    • a strong, hostile union
    • required relocation
    • required financial assurances based on regulations
  • Identify resistance areas – based on the risk analysis as well as insights from management. Resistance areas need to be categorized and prioritized with plans developed to mitigate and address them. The creation of a Risk Registry is recommended for noting and tracking the risks and mitigation plan.
  • Design approaches, tactics for mitigating the resistance. This entails building the plans and establishing the metrics and KPIs that will inform us of how effectively we are managing that risk.
    • Develop an overall strategy with input from the assessments, analyses and mitigation plans that will support the human change side of a larger program. This will entail:
    • Designing and building the change team. Based on the overall strategy, we will know the types and level of expertise needed on that team. Will HR relocation skills be required? Will standard or customized training be needed? Will legal representation be needed? Relocation expertise?

Types of Change

As covered in the previous blog, Defining the Type and Measuring Human Change Management, the types of change were discussed.

Each type has different levels of impact, required levels of investment and preparation.


The roles involved in executing change management are not meant to be those in our discussion on a cloud management organization but those needed to lead these changes. The key to leading these are:

  • Sponsors
    The leaders of change for the organization. They are active throughout the project and provide visual support for the change. They help build the support networks to provide influence and credibility within teams and departments. Finally, they provide the voice of the business to the employees.
  • Project Managers
    Focuses on the technical aspect of the change project, providing time and resource management.
  • Change Practitioners
    Formulate a strategy, apply the structured change methodology, and develop role-based and activity plans. They also support other roles.
  • Line Managers
    They are responsible for communicating to their direct reports and reporting back to the project team. Line managers must support the proposed change, providing guidance and coaching for their direct reports.
  • Impacted Employees
    The employees impacted by the change must be engaged (tracked, contacted, personally addressed) to adopt the change. Employees should feel empowered to take control of their change experience.


It is important to have clear and consistent communication!

All during the change program, you need to communicate and update everyone involved frequently. This reinforces the program, alleviates the ‘unknown,’ stops rumors and reduces speculation that fill a void. 

Ensure employees are involved. Explain how the various roles are key to the change, driving employee engagement to ensure better take-up of the change. Provide an opportunity for employees to have input into the change. This will result in:

  • Greater buy-in from all involved
  • Potential for identifying improvements and risks
  • Encourage questions.  These provide:
    • More opportunity to promote how important the change is and how important the employees are to the change
    • Transparency through open fact-based responses
    • Opportunity for clear and open communication

Change Management Phase 2

Now that the team is in place and the charter is confirmed, we can create the change management plans for communication, coaching, training and resistance management.  

These then can be integrated into a project’s overall plan for execution.

Integration of Project Management and Change Management

Up until now, we referenced the project as a part of Human Change Management. Though in this diagram, they look like equal programs, Human Change Management is one of the workstreams that fits into the overall project. This is not to belittle the importance of Human Change Management – it is critical.

Diagram 6 Project and CMA Integration

When we look at the project’s collateral (listed as “Tools” in this diagram), we must understand that the project’s SOW includes the Change Management activities, deliverables, staff and costs. Similarly, the business case includes the Human Change Management’s benefits. Therefore, Human Change Management ensures the project’s adoption and success.

Abstracting this at a level higher, we can think of the project as the technical side and Human Change Management as the people side but coordinated by the project side.

Change Management Phase 3

In the third phase, we collect and analyze feedback, determine how to effectively manage risks, resistance and adoption. We determine the needed corrective actions and implement them. We discuss these criteria in our summary.

It isn’t all about gaps and corrections. It also involves celebrating successes and acknowledging achievers. This positive approach is especially effective.


Change Management Success

Good characteristics of a Change Program include a well-defined scope that is agreed upon by stakeholders and management. This scope includes the determined set of impacted individuals, types of changes taking place and the amount of change. 


The scope needs to identify the level of the organization impacted by the change. The more limited the organization, the less risk, cost and resources are involved. Conversely, as we expand into the larger enterprise:

  • We increase the need for executive sponsorship and participation
  • We require more resources and formalization of a team
  • We increase the possibilities of finding more pockets of resistance, especially as we potentially merge domains and silos


Similarly, as we determine the number of individuals impacted by the change, we find that:

  • The number of resources needed for change management increases
  • The number of individuals who need to be trained increases
  • We find, as the number of individuals increase, that there will be more voices and feedback that need to be listened and responded to as well an increased complexity in roles, personas and sub-cultures that need to be included


The type of change, impact, and level of effort have been determined and the right amount of resources, funding and time allocated.

Additional Resources

The following are highly recommended, especially for those interested in the End User side of Change Management.

Mark Scott

Mark is a keen and passionate virtualization expert who excels at designing and delivering cloud-based infrastructure projects, to schedule and budget. He is visionary in his design and knowledge and ensures that details and scope are fully defined and wholly explored prior to and throughout the lifecycle of the project.


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