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What to Include in a Project Management Change Document

written by: SusieBrown • edited by: Jean Scheid • updated: 4/22/2012

A well thought out and detailed project management change document is vital to conducting effective change management within the scope of a project. The following article explains the overall purpose of a change management plan and details the major sections to include within the document.

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    Purpose of a Project Management Change Document

    SDLC Phases Related to Management Controls Even with a comprehensive project proposal, the best project management tools, and the most skilled of project managers, project change is an expected and necessary evil within the management of a project. When change within a project is handled properly, the process can go a long ways toward minimizing the loss of precious project resources and reducing scope creep.

    This is where the project management change plan comes in. The plan, as detailed in the project management change document, sets out the process by which any changes to the project's goals, schedule, and/or resource usage are to be managed. In short, the change document is a vital component in managing projects of any size and complexity, and it heavily influences project success.

    Image Credit: Phases Related to Management Controls (Wikimedia Commons)

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    Items to Include In a Project Change Management Document

    It goes without saying that projects vary in size and scope and that this will be reflected in the project management change document. What follows are the elements of a change management plan which are essential to any project across various organizational types and industries.

    • Change Management Goals. This section spells out the goals of the project's change management plan. For example, changes are clearly determined, evaluated, approved, and tracked effectively and efficiently. It also details how the overall project change plan is designed to benefit the project.
    • Change Management Responsibilities. In this area of the change document you need to define the responsibilities of all the parties involved in the project that may be affected by a project change. So, for example, you should define who will receive project change requests, who will evaluate them, and how will project changes be communicated to project personnel, upper management, and project clients or stakeholders.
    • Change Management Model. In this section you will clearly lay out the details of the change management process. You should describe how project change requests are made and evaluated, who is authorized to approve them, and how they will be recorded.
    • Project Scope Change. As changes arise within the project, they often result in changes to the project scope. This section should detail how project changes are absorbed into the project scope as well as how project priorities and requirements will be reevaluated and enacted.
    • Project Schedule Change. Here you must define how and when schedule changes and schedule baselines will be altered and under what circumstances.
    • Project Cost Change. Determine how the project management budget will be amended and developed in response to the project change and how cost changes and cost baselines will be affected.
    • Change Request Forms and Logs. Included in the change management plan should be an example of the project change request form as well as the project change management tracking log. A free project change request form and change management tracking log can be found in our Media Gallery.

    In short, a good project management change document can greatly impact the way the project and the project personnel absorb project changes.

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