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Change Management Plan Template

Use this free Change Management Plan for Word to manage your projects better.

Change management is a process that can transition teams, projects and organizations from the current state to the future state. A change management plan does this by outlining the steps, processes and activities that manage that change effectively to ensure the change is implemented properly with minimal disruptions. Download this free change management plan template for Word to capture the strategy for communicating that change, identifying stakeholders, managing resistance and measuring success.

Free change management plan template for Word
Free change management plan template for Word

Why You Need a Change Management Plan Template

A change management plan serves many purposes. At the top level, it helps ensure that the changes implemented are done smoothly and without issue. These changes often help organizations grow, save money and more. At the project level, they help deliver that project successfully.

Another reason to use a change management plan template is that it prepares employees for the changes and ensures they’re on the same page: one tenet of a change management plan is that it improves communication, which helps get buy-in for all those impacted by the change.

A change management plan template also reduces disruptions that can negatively impact the organization or project. One such disruption can be resistance to change. The change management plan can help identify those causes of resistance and provide tools to overcome them, including training.

In terms of practicality, the change management plan defines dependencies, provides a timeline for the transition and optimizes resources. This reduces the implementation time, identifies stakeholders and prioritizes changes. All of this is crucial to have a successful transition.

Once the change management plan template has been filled out, then project management software will help execute that plan efficiently. ProjectManager is award-winning project and portfolio management software with robust Gantt charts to plan, manage and track your change management plan in real time. Managers can link all four types of task dependencies to avoid costly delays, filter for the critical path to identify essential tasks and set a baseline to track planned costs and time against actual cost and time to stay on schedule and keep to the project budget. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.

ProjectManager's Gantt chart
ProjectManager’s Gantt charts help plan, manage and track change management plans. Learn more

When to Use a Change Management Plan Template

A change management plan template is often used when a change will impact an organization, project or individual’s job and a strategic approach is required for submitting and assessing change requests for a new project.

The change management process should begin as soon as possible by identifying potential changes that could occur in the future. However, others suggest it isn’t necessary to start a change management plan until the change has occurred.

Either way sooner is better than later. The longer a change is allowed to impact the organization, project or person, the less control managers have. That’s why being prepared, if one can be, is ideal. The faster an organization can respond to change, the more likely it can transition without negative impacts.

Who Should Use This Free Change Management Plan Template?

Everyone impacted by the change requires some involvement in the change management plan. In a smaller organization, one person might be tasked with the change management responsibilities. This can also be a team leader, developer or IT administrator.

In larger organizations, there can be specific positions for change management, such as a change management manager or coordinator. Sometimes that role is carried out by the project manager. Regardless, one will create the change management plan and oversee its implementation.

There are often change authorities or approvers who are responsible for deciding whether a change can happen. This is usually done by one person, who is a senior manager or executive at the organization. Some organizations will have a change advisory board, or the change will be peer-reviewed.

Those are professionals who create the change management plan and manage its implementation. But everyone, as noted above, will have some point of contact with the change management plan template. That includes business stakeholders, engineers or developers, service desk agents, operations managers, customer relationship managers, and, of course, the team tasked with executing the change management plan.

How to Use This Change Management Plan Template for Excel

Once users download the change management plan template for Word, they’ll find a fully customizable document. They can add or remove sections to align the change management plan to their processes. The sections included are basic components of any change management plan. They are as follows.

Document Information, History and Approvals

The first section of the change management plan template has an information table to track the identification of the document, who owns it, when it was issued, last saved and its file name. The next box captures the version number, the date it was issued and a list of the changes made. The document approval chart lists the roles, names, dates and signatures of leaders in the change management plan. A table of contents follows.

Template Guide

This informational section answers various questions, such as what is a change management plan, its key elements, team and how to use the change management plan template.

Change Management Documents

This section captures the various documentation necessary to plan, manage and implement the change management plan.

  • Change Description: Defines purses of the change, areas of impact, key goals and objectives, etc.
  • Stakeholder Map: A tool to measure the level of influence and interest of each stakeholder and how to manage them.
  • Gap Analysis: Used to contrast the current state with the desired future state.
  • Cost Benefit Analysis: Determines whether the benefits of the change outweigh the costs.
  • Change Readiness Assessment: A matrix to evaluate key areas of an organization in terms of the preparedness of each.
  • Change Impact Assessment: Defines the potential impact of the proposed change.
  • Implementation Plan: Action plan that defines the steps needed to implement the change.
  • Risk Matrix: Determines the impact and likelihood of risks associated with the change implementation plan.
  • Communication Plan: Describes how changes will be communicated and the channels of communication used.
  • Change Order Request Form: Document for internal teams, clients and other stakeholders to suggest changes.
  • Change Order Form: When a change is approved, this form is issued to execute that change.
  • Change Log: Document that tracks changes implemented over time.

Change Management Team

This section lists the roles, names, signatures and dates of the change management team, unlike what was captured above, which focuses on leadership.

What Other Templates Can Help With Change Management?

The change management plan template is thorough and has everything needed to plan for potential or imminent change, but it’s only one of over 100 free templates that users can download from our site. There are free project management templates for Excel and Word that cover every aspect of managing a project and cover many different industries. Below are a few free templates that can help with change management.

Change Log Template

Use this free change management log for Excel to capture change as it happens and then track that change throughout the project until it’s been successfully implemented or any issue has been resolved.

Change Impact Assessment Template

This free change impact assessment template for Excel helps to define the current state and the desired future state by asking a series of weighted questions rated between one and five.

Change Request Form

The change request form template for Word is part of the larger change management process and will help users collect the data needed to deal with change to avoid issues or problems with workload.

How ProjectManager Helps With Change Management

Change management needs constant monitoring to stay on track. Templates, as useful as they can be, fall short. They’re static documents that require managers to stop what they’re doing to manually update them. That’s bad enough, but templates are poor collaborative tools and change management is a collaborative effort. That’s why change management professionals use project management software to plan, manage and track change implementation plans. Beyond powerful Gantt charts to create a change management plan, our software has risk management tools to identify and track issues in real time and project and portfolio dashboards to monitor everything from costs to time, workload and more.

Manage Changes, Risks and Issues

Use risk management features to identify risks and, if they show up, track the process of resolving those issues in real time. Our risk management tools allow managers to describe the change request, who requests it, prioritize the change request, assign it to a team member to implement that change and more. The task card allows for defining the level of impact and likelihood of the risk occurring. Then managers can track those changes, attach change requests to specific tasks, get email and in-app notifications when changes are updated and more.

Risk tracker ProjectManager

Monitor Progress, Costs and More

To ensure that the change management plan is being implemented as scheduled and not going over budget, it’s important to monitor the progress, costs and resources. Use real-time project and portfolio dashboards to get a high-level overview of the change management plan. Live data is automatically captured and displayed on easy-to-read graphs and charts that show time, cost, workload and more. For more detailed information, use customizable reports for status reports, portfolio reports and reports on variance, timesheets, workload and more. All reports can be generated with a keystroke and shared in several formats with stakeholders to keep them updated.

Project dashboard in ProjectManager

Related Change Management Content

The change management plan is part of the larger change management process. For those who want to learn more about change management, this is the place to do so. Our site is an online hub for all things project management, with weekly blogs, tutorial videos, ebooks, guides, and, of course, free templates. Below are a few of the change management pieces published recently.

ProjectManager is online project and portfolio management software that connects teams whether they’re in the office, out in the field or anywhere in between. They can share files, comment at the task level and stay updated with email and in-app notifications. Join teams at Avis, Nestle and Siemens who use our software to successfully manage projects. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.