A change management plan is a critical part of any project plan can be the difference between project success and failure. Let’s break down how to create one so you can better manage project change, no matter where it shows up in your project life cycle.
What Is a Change Management Plan?
A change management plan is a process that implements a change or changes in a project or across an organization. You can think of a change management plan as a roadmap that shows all the steps you need to take from identifying the change to realizing it. This plan not only sets the course by which you can execute the change, but asks how it will impact the project or organization, how workflows will be affected and whether it will alter your relationship with your customers or teams.
Manage Change, Reap the Benefits
By using an effective change management plan you’re able to manage the process and thereby be more productive in its execution. It helps you control the budget, schedule, scope and resources. It even impacts your communication process. In fact, the change management plan is systemic, touching on all aspects of project management. When done correctly, it will minimize the impact to your project or organization.
Project management software can help you execute your plan. ProjectManager has an award-winning Gantt chart that can be used to create your change management plan: organize tasks, link dependencies, set milestones and even filter for the critical path. The plan can be shared with your team, who can use our multiple project views to collaborate better. You won’t find an easier-to-use or more powerful change management software. Get started with ProjectManager today for free!
Elements of a Change Management Plan
Define the following elements below to create an effective change management plan for your project.
- Change Management Roles: First, who is going to be doing what in your change management plan? Who has the authority to submit a change request, who reviews them and who authorizes them? Some of these roles will take place on a change control board.
- Change Control Board: Staff your change control board with people who will receive the change requests and have the authority to approve or veto them.
- Develop a Process: You need a process in order to effectively submit, evaluate, authorize and manage and control the change requests. Without a process, change management is unmanageable.
- Change Request Form: You can’t have a process, however, if you don’t first create a change request form to capture the data. It’s important that the information you collect is consistent throughout the project.
- Change Log: Basically, this is a place to collect, and then track all the change orders. Without a central location where changes can be identified, requests approved and assignments documented, there’s no way to know if there’s been any progress.
- Use a Tool: A project planning software can help you keep track of changes through every phase of the project until it’s finally resolved.
How to Make a Change Management Plan
Jennifer Bridges, PMP, breaks down how to create a change management plan in the following video. She explains how change is measured against the project baseline, which is the detailed description of the time, cost, scope and quality of the project that you have determined when planning. Therefore, a change management plan is going to take that baseline and ask how, what, when where, why and how to figure out change and how to manage it.
After you watch the video, be sure to try some of our free templates below to help you manage change and your project.
Pro-Tip: There are different types of change management, and the best way to get a holistic understanding of it is through the triple constraint. There are processes established to help with the change management process, and it’s crucial to know them. Also, keep in mind that change management procedures vary depending on the industry you’re in. For example, change order forms are used primarily in construction to change the scope of projects.
Take it Further: Sometimes, when tough changes happen in the midst of execution, technical debt can be accrued. Learn all about it and how to minimize it.
Free Change Management Plan Templates
Change management can be planned, executed and monitored best with project management software, but if you’re not using that tool then you can still get by with templates. ProjectManager has dozens of free templates on its site, which touch on every aspect of a project, including the change management plan. Below are three free templates to get you started.
A change management plan begins with capturing any revision that will impact the scope of work on your project. Our free change order form template for Excel is just the tool to get you started on the right foot. It helps you understand the change, from the opportunity it offers and the reason for the change to how long it’ll take, who requested it and who will authorize or deny it.
Our free change log template for Excel is part of any thorough change management plan. It is the next step once a change has been proposed and authorized by the project manager. This free template has space to write the change request type, the date it was identified, a brief description, the priority and its status.
Get that change management plan executed properly with our free action plan template for Excel. This is where you can organize all the tasks that are necessary to implement the change. You can note which action steps occur during which phase in the project and then assign them to your team. They’ll see the start date and due date as well as the planned hours you expect for the duration of each task. There’s even room for resources and costs related to the work.
Go Beyond Planning Templates with ProjectManager
ProjectManager is cloud-based work and project management software that connects hybrid teams to help implement change across an organization or project. Real-time data makes it collaborative to the core and multiple project views mean anyone in any department, no matter how, when or where they work can use it the way they want, whether in a task list, Gantt or kanban board.
You’ve seen how a Gantt chart can organize the change management plan but when that plan is assigned to teams that maybe work in a more agile environment, then they need a different tool. Kanban boards visualize workflow and workflows can be customized to automate task approvals, for example. Managers have control and transparency, while team members can manage their backlog and collaborate when planning sprints.
Track Change on the Dashboard
Monitoring change is how you make sure your actual progress is aligned with your change management plan. Our real-time dashboard gets live data and crunches the numbers to display metrics on time, cost and more in easy-to-read graphs and charts. It’s a status report whenever you need one so you can catch issues and resolve them before they cause problems.
ProjectManager is award-winning work and project management software that connects hybrid teams for greater productivity. Manage change without impacting your schedule or budget. Get started with ProjectManager for free today!