What Is Change Management?

In this training video, Jennifer Bridges, PMP, defines what change management is and how it applies to the triple constraint.

In Review:

In this video, Jennifer discussed the practice of change management. It’s often confused with similar terms such as change leadership or managing change, which have broader implications in some organizations, as in changing culture or strategy. 

In the project management field, change management can best be understood in relation to the triple constraint. The triple constraint is the process of managing scope, budget and quality to set your project up for a successful outcome; namely to be on time, under budget and adhering to defined quality standards. 

Change management is the process of controlling any changes to those components that were outlined by your project management plan. Without a process to manage changes to current schedules or tasks or scope, your project quickly can succumb to scope creep and exceed the planned deadline. 

As changes occur in your project be sure to review, analyze and approve the change requests promptly as the come in. If you don’t deal with them right away there is the risk that they’ll be overlooked and an unattended change may have a negative impact on the project.

Pro-Tip: Use the risks, issues and changes features of your online project management tools to track changes as they come in. Then, you can also create custom reports to track how many changes are impacting your project. You may use that report to demonstrate the costs associated with the changes when you meet with stakeholders, so everyone understands how the scope is affected.

It’s helpful to see how an online planning tool can manage changes for you, rather than merely tracking changes on a list, to help you stay mindful of scope. When we developed the dashboard feature of our tool, we wanted to be able to show managers a visual representation of how changes were impacting project performance, and it’s updated in real-time, so custom reports aren’t timely to produce. You can see how a changes are monitored on a real-time dashboard tool and in project reports in our support video

Thanks for watching!


Hello, I’m Jennifer Whitt, Director of ProjectManager.com.

Well welcome to our whiteboard session today on, what is change management? So there are several terms that get intermingled and I want to clarify what the difference is between change management, you may also hear change leadership, or managing change.

Specifically the change management that we want to talk about today is specifically having to do with the triple constraint. So of a project the triple constraint is defined by the PMI, the Project Management Institute, is the components including; scope which are deliverables produced by the project, the budget, all the budget requirements, time, how long including the schedule, as well as the quality, what is the quality of the products being delivered.

So the change management is controlling the components of the triple constraint. As we know in project management, the project has a project management plan. The project management plan probably you’ve seen from some of our other whiteboard sessions, include the time management plan, scope management, budget, quality, risk, issues, also among other plans it includes the change management plan.

As a sub-component of the change management plan, it’s a plan that outlines who’s going to be, it’s a process, who, what, when, where, how are we going to manage the changes on the project and throughout the entire project. It also includes tools, what tools are we going to use? Are we going to use project management software?

There are several great packages out there now of project management software that can automate a lot of this. Some groups or organizations choose to use Excel because that’s what people have access to, and to be able to track it among multiple groups they have Excel, and then they use templates. So what are the tools we’re going to use.

Then the activities include things that, how are we going to, activities included for integrated change control throughout the project. So what are some of these activities? So the activities include; reviewing, analyzing, approving change requests that come in and doing that promptly.

Because if things are left, items are left, requests that come in, they come in for a reason because it’s things that may not have even be defined in the project, or through execution. Maybe things are uncovered, maybe things are occurring with the scope, the budget, the time, the quality that require changes to be submitted. So those have to be handled promptly, otherwise if things are left unattended it could have a negative impact on the project. It also includes activity such as managing the approved changes.

So once they’re reviewed, analyzed, and approved they have to be managed appropriately. And then maintaining the baseline. I’ve said in several of the other whiteboard sessions that the difference between a failed project and a successful project sometimes has to do with something as simple as re-base lining the project. Because when changes are approved formerly through your change control board then that gives the authorization to go change the baseline.

It also includes coordinating changes across the project, so when changes are approved a lot of times it may impact other groups, other organizations. Whether they’re inside, outside of the project or the organization, they may include some work required by your vendor partners.

Then also documenting the complete impact of the change request. So it’s important to document all of this formally, keep it, manage it, maintain it, as part of the entire project and also part of historical records. Because from time to, as you know, projects may be cancelled, they may be put on hold, they may be replicated. So by having that documented you can always go back and reference it to see why.

If you need a tool that can help you manage change on your project, then sign up for our software now at ProjectManager.com.

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