Korath and Tanaquil, valid points on what is success for any one particular M&A event and that is what success needs to be measured against just like any project would be. Are they looking to retain specific employees, is it for the R&D or existing product slate, is it entry into a new market or geographic area, or any mixture of objectives. Only when it is understood what success is can it be targeted and achieved.
Once the success criteria is understood then detailed execution plans and Change Management plans can be put into place to help drive towards that goal. However, if the leader(s) of the M&A event are not willing to fight for the resources and time needed to execute appropriately it needs to be understood that some or all of the success criteria is at risk. I have seen instances where success criteria is ranked, if we don’t get some it is ok but we must get 1 or 2 of the goals achieved.
Ingrid, as far as the right cadence for communications, this needs to be part of the Change Management plan, dependent on the M&A companies, their culture, the success criteria, any resistance or roadblocks anticipated or being experienced, and a few other factors the communications plan will be developed and executed. This plan need to targeted at all stakeholders including both organizations and the project team as well as tailored to the audience based on the success criteria and timeline.