Change Management Challenge: Planning the Communications for a Multi-Wave Project

Background
Mead Johnson Nutrition (MJN) was separating from Bristol Meyer Squib (BMS) into a standalone, global-entity. This project had a zillion moving parts; MJN had to replace everything that BMS had previously delivered to MJN’s 7,000 employees in 33 countries. One of the key changes was new business application environment built on an SAP ERP implementation. SAP was being implemented in waves with staggered Go-Lives based on region.

The Challenge
Employees needed specific information to help them through the change – from general overview/background on the project to precise details on their required actions at Go-Live.

The SAP implementation was happening in four waves – but while the steps and details were the same, they were occurring in a slightly different based on the region requirements.

We also had separate language requirements for each region – some more stringent than others.

How to keep our communications synchronized with the project while meeting the needs of the employees in each region?

The Solution
I developed a catalog of communications that we could then make specific for each wave as required. I then organized the 63 separate communications into a template we could apply to each successive wave.

The template covered 16 weeks as a countdown to Go-Live for the wave. By working back from the Go-Live date we knew when we needed to start the communications program. And to keep our communications synchronized with the project, we could slide the communications up or back based on the progress of the project but within the framework of the template.

To ensure we met our specific deliverable goals, I developed a tracking form that listed the date when we released each communication to a country – and the date when the country then released it to their employees. The detailed tracking also gave us a means to report on our progress through a communications dashboard that highlighted our progress. Our dashboard took a typically “soft deliverable” in a project like this (the communications) and made it concrete.

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