Change Management: A Failure to Plan is Planning to Fail

July 13, 2015

Written by:  Julia Hatton

With all the resources invested in an HR software implementation project, it is imperative to develop a solid strategy for managing change. The most successful implementations include a well-developed change management plan to drive the organization towards awareness, acceptance, and adoption of your future state.

HRchitect’s Change Framework promotes six change success factors. Planning is one of those factors. During the Planning phase, we identify and address expectations by developing a Stakeholder Management Plan, create awareness and build commitment with a Communication Plan, and develop a strategy for knowledge transfer with a Learning Plan.

Some ideas to get you started on an effective Change Management plan include:

Stakeholder Management

  • Establishing ownership with stakeholders and building alignment on the future state will assist with the system’s adoption. By obtaining support and buy-in, you will also identify change agents who will help generate excitement about the new tool.
  • Create a comprehensive list of what is changing and who will be impacted. Identify the various user types and roles impacted, both internal and external. Solicit feedback to ensure they will embrace and support the future state. What are they most concerned or apprehensive about? How will you ease their concerns and manage expectations?
  • Do not overlook other areas impacted by the change. What processes, systems, and data will be modified, replaced, or eliminated? Are there integrations or links to other technologies, vendors, and websites? What will it take to update these and how much lead time is needed?


  • Your Communication Plan should prepare your audiences for the change and build commitment. How will you get people excited about it? Highlight the benefits and advantages and be prepared to answer the age-old question, “What’s in it for me?”
  • Define key themes and messages to shape your communication strategy. Target the different audiences you’ve identified to inform, educate, and excite them about the upcoming change. Focus on the benefits!
  • Evaluate different methods available to spread awareness such as text messages, email, posters, intranet, and team meetings. Determine appropriate and effective methods for each audience to promote understanding and manage expectations.


  • Create a Learning Plan to ensure users are prepared and educated for a smooth transition. What are the key items you expect people to do differently as a result of the change? What information and learning opportunities are needed to enable this?
  • Who are your audiences and what delivery methods will be most effective for each? Remember different learning styles and preferences as well as geographical challenges. Roadshows, on-demand training, documentation, and traditional classroom training are a few examples depending on the amount of instruction needed.

These are a few areas to get you thinking about your change management strategy. Start early and remember that a well-developed plan for managing change is one of the smartest investments in the success of your implementation.


Julia Hatton

Julia has over 16 years of experience in Human Resources. As a Senior Consultant with HRchitect, her strengths include process optimization, requirements analysis, testing, change management, training, and system administration. Julia has experience with companies from small to enterprise scale on both domestic and global implementations.