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Build a Change Sustainment Plan

Prevent your change from washing away by creating a plan to sustain the benefits of your change beyond go-live.

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  • Melody Barnett, Managing Partner, Pivot
  • Julia Cartwright, Head of People & Culture, GroupBy Inc.
  • Tim Creasey, Chief Innovation Officer, Prosci
  • Scott Farley, Group Director, Talent Management, Komatsu
  • Donna Gray, General Manager, Service Innovation & Performance Department, City of Ottawa
  • Susan Howard, Management Consultant
  • Delphia L. Howze, HR Director, Employee Relations & Development, Ithaca College
  • Amira Hossain, Senior Director, Global Change Management, McCormick
  • Anna Hrapkova, former Head of HR & Change Management, Tangerine
  • Jeff Kargus, Learning and Development Consultant
  • Suzan Khatcherian, Director, Workshops and Training Programs, McLean & Company
  • Diana Laufenberg, Executive Director, Inquiry Schools
  • Beverley Patwell, Founder and Principal, Patwell Consulting
  • Alexandra Rizzuto, VP, Talent Management, McCormick

  • Leaders often are not actively involved in sustaining the change, signaling to employees that the change isn’t important.
  • Lack of planning for sustainment impacts the ability to obtain the appropriate support and resources needed to sustain the change on an ongoing basis.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

Sustainment cannot be done well ad hoc. The creation and implementation of a targeted sustainment plan is an integral part of the change process and key to long-term change adoption.

Impact and Result

  • Don’t leave sustainment to chance.
  • Involve key leaders in planning to build ownership from the start.
  • Create a plan to sustain the change until the change becomes business as usual.
  • Review and incorporate the appropriate sustainment components into your sustainment plan.

Research & Tools

1. Gather a sustainment planning team

Review the project and change plans with the sustainment planning team in preparation for plan design.

2. Identify where sustainment is needed

Prioritize actions and identify the current status of the core and supplementary sustainment components.

3. Build the sustainment plan

Create a plan for each sustainment component, including implementation owners, required resources, budget, and timeline.

Guided Implementations

This guided implementation is a seven call advisory process.

Guided Implementation #1 - Gather a sustainment planning team

Call #1 - Discuss sustainment planning team composition and roles.
Call #2 - Identify sustainment targets for project and change metrics.

Guided Implementation #2 - Identify where sustainment is needed

Call #1 - Review plan to engage planning team in discussing sustainment components.
Call #2 - Review proposed supplementary sustainment components.

Guided Implementation #3 - Build the sustainment plan

Call #1 - Review draft plan for all sustainment components.
Call #2 - Identify the right owners of sustainment plan implementation.
Call #3 - Determine key dates for sustainment plan implementation.

Onsite Workshop

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Onsite workshops offer an easy way to accelerate your project. If you are unable to do the project yourself, and a Guided Implementation isn't enough, we offer low-cost onsite delivery of our project workshops. We take you through every phase of your project and ensure that you have a roadmap in place to complete your project successfully.

Module 1: Prioritize Actions for Sustainment and Identify Sustainment Components Needed

The Purpose

  • Establish goals and success measures.
  • Review the project/change plan.
  • Evaluate the use of sustainment components.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Evaluated current use of sustainment components.




Set sustainment targets/success criteria for change goals and metrics.

  • Sustainment targets/success criteria established for project

Prioritize the most impactful project/change actions to determine where to focus sustainment.

  • Project/change actions prioritized for sustainment

Identify obstacles to sustainment.


Determine if core sustainment components are in place.


Determine which supplementary components are needed.

  • Core and supplementary components identified

Module 2: Create Sustainment Plan

The Purpose

  • Create a plan for core and supplementary sustainment components for each prioritized project/change action.
  • Outline roles for sustainment actions.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Integrated sustainment components into the project/change plan.




Build plan for core sustainment components for prioritized actions.

  • Sustainment plan for all components

Build plan for chosen supplementary components for prioritized actions.


Create a RACI chart for sustainment plan implementation.

  • Completed RACI chart to identify owners and support of sustainment plan components

Module 3: Prepare for Sustainment Plan Implementation

The Purpose

Form a timeline and review process.

Key Benefits Achieved

Defined process to implement and monitor the sustainment plan.




Draft an implementation timeline.

  • Implementation timeline determined

Establish sustainment planning team meetings and review process.

  • Sustainment plan review process determined

Determine approach for gathering feedback on the sustainment plan.

  • Feedback approach confirmed