Every result-oriented project leader or manager can appreciate just how invaluable a resource a change management plan template. The template provides a framework for communicating all the details relating to every step and aspect of the change management process. Even with the diversity in the formats and layouts adapted by different project teams, there are common elements that should always feature when creating one.
This section introduces the project background, its core objectives as well as the defined strategic goals. The introduction also addresses the intended audience of the change management plan such as the project sponsor, project manager and other stakeholders charged with ensuring that the change management plan as well as the project in its entirety are fully implemented.
Even more importantly in the introduction is a sub-section covering change principles and objectives. The section provides a detailed account of the following, among other issues;
- Principles that underline the change process
- Specific objectives that the change plan will achieve
- Ethical concerns relating to the change plan and provisions in the plan that will address these issues
Definition of Change
This section defines the type of change under request, whether it relates to change in project scope, schedule or budget. It details the change plan elements such as people and technology which the change plan will directly or indirectly affect.
Rationale for the change plan
Every project, for varied reasons undergoes changes during the various stages of its lifecycle. This section communicates the reason(s) driving the implementation of the change plan. It also describes the risks and constraints of the change plan.
Roles and Responsibilities
This is an extensive analysis of the main players and stakeholders in the project. The section describes the roles and responsibilities of the individual stakeholders with regard to the change management plan as well as any needs that they may raise. It also provides for an analysis of their response to the plan and willingness or resistance to be active participants. The section should also highlight effective channels of communication for reliable dissemination of information, which will allow for active consultation among the stakeholders and provide a pathway for feedback on the change plan.
Change Control Board (CCB)
The CCB is an important body in the execution of any change management plan. This section details the members of the body, usually headed by the project manager and describes the role that each member plays. The ultimate role of the board is evaluating and authorizing or rejecting any proposed changes to the baselines of the project.
Change Management Process
This is a detailed section and outlines the typical change management process right from submission of request for change to the approval for release of the changes.
Change Request Form and Management Log
This highlights all data elements that should be included in the change request (C.R) form such as the date of creation, title, submitter’s details and contact information and a priority code which suggests the urgency of the changes requested in the form.
The change management log is an important tool for tracking and co-ordinating requested changes during the lifecycle of a project. This section provides a guide or template for the data elements that should be included in the log.
Flow of Change Request Process
This section highlights the process a change process would undergo from submission to the point of approval. Typically, after creating a change request, the changes are evaluated following thorough scrutiny with input from the specific experts. Depending on the results of the evaluation, the requested changes may be denied or approved. If approved, the change manager gives authorization to implement the changes. The change management log is continuously updated with the status of the requested changes.
Assessment of Readiness for Change
This section of the change management plan allows for a brief commentary on the status of the change. The evaluation of this status is based on an analysis of the stakeholders’ response to existing strategies and policies which will provide a framework for the change. It also documents any support shown for the proposed changes by senior-level stakeholders. Also included in the section is an evaluation of factors such as contempt and dissatisfaction with the current situation, which may drive support for the changes.
Key Change Plan Messages
This is a section that highlights the pertinent issues that the change management team must communicate to the stakeholders regarding the specific change plan. This information would include potential gains and risks that the change plan represents as well as addressing concerns and reservations the stakeholders may have.
Comprehensive Change Plan
This section combines the definitions in the roles and responsibilities sections and the outlined change management and control process to give a structured layout of the who, what and when of the process. It also includes a detailed account of the performance measures that will be used to evaluate and ascertain the progress and effectiveness of the plan against the set objectives.
Change Plan Consolidation and Reinforcement
This section highlights deliberate efforts to remove or reduce organizational and bureaucratic barriers that would otherwise impede the effectiveness of the change plan. It also includes corrective action involving policies, processes and performance standards to reinforce the change plan and maximize the benefits and gains associated with the change.
Every undertaking in the project management process is guided by a set of goals and objectives. After implantation, these objectives are the standards against which the progress of the undertaking is evaluated. This last section of the change management plan details how the change management process and the change itself will be evaluated. It also includes a framework that will be used to communicate the results of this evaluation process to stakeholders. Additionally, the section describes how the results may be used in improving other aspects of the project and organization.
An effective change management plan is crucial for timely completion of a project without exceeding the budgetary baselines. A change management plan template provides invaluable resources for effective planning and execution of the change management process.