How to develop a Change Management Plan

Change management is an organized, systematic application of the knowledge, tools, and resources of change that provides organizations with a key process to achieve their business strategy.

Wanner, M. F. (2013). Integrated change management. Paper presented at PMI® Global Congress 2013—North America, New Orleans, LA. Newtown Square, PA: Project Management Institute.

Today more than ever, the level of competitiveness of an organization is directly proportional to its ability to manage changes. Economic scenarios are constantly changing, people's needs change, and, along with them, organizations' needs to create value.

No matter how accurate and detailed our planning is: change is a natural component of any project and often occurs without allowing us to foresee it.

However, the success of a project depends on how we manage change.

The penultimate edition of the study Best Practices in Change Management, developed by the US company Prosci, showed a strong correlation between change management's effectiveness and the achievement of a project's objectives. The study revealed that an effective change management approach makes achieving project goals six times more likely.

This correlation is strengthened by the findings of the Pulse of the profession® 2018, the annual survey of the Project Management Institute, which revealed that changes are the leading cause of projects' failure.

Hence, planning how to manage changes is the first step to avoid the failure of our project.

The Change Management Plan defines the roles and activities to manage and control changes within a project.

Changes will be measures against the project baselines, representing the detailed description of the project scope, costs, and schedule.

How to develop a Change Management Plan

1. Define the roles within the process

First of all, we need to identify who is involved in the change management process and at what level:

  • Who can request a change?
  • Who evaluates the request?
  • Who authorizes it?

The organization may have a Change Control Board (CCB) to authorize/reject requests for changes. The CCB will be composed of those individuals to whom it will be necessary to submit, depending on the case, all or particular requests for changes (e.g., those that would result in a cost higher than 100k dollars or a delay of three weeks in the project schedule). 2

2. Define the change management process

Define how each change request will be submitted, evaluated, authorized, and managed.


  1. Submission – Any stakeholder who identifies the need for a change can submit the request to the project manager by filling in and submitting a specific Change Request Form.
  2. Registration - As soon as received the request, the project manager will register it in a Change Log.
  3. Evaluation - The project manager will conduct a preliminary assessment of the impact of the change on the project by consulting the individual who requested the change and the project team.
  4. Authorization - The project manager will present the change request, together with the preliminary assessment, to the Change Control Board (CCB), which will decide on the approval or rejection of the request.
  5. Follow-up- If the request is approved, the project manager will update the project documentation to reflect these changes and notify the interested parties. Conversely, if the CCB rejects the request, the PM will communicate the decision and its reasons to the submitting stakeholder.

3. Develop the change management documentation

Create a Change Request template and set up aChange Log. The Log will be the tool to collect and track all the project's change requests and the Change Control Board's decisions.

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