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Managing Change: Planning in Advance

written by: Ronda Bowen • edited by: Michele McDonough • updated: 7/30/2010

Creating a change management project plan isn't as difficult as you might think. Learn how to handle changes more effectively by studying this example.

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    An Example of a Change Management Plan Template Can be Found in Our Media Gallery A change management project plan is a document that will help you to evaluate any change that a project must undergo - and it will help to keep change management projects on track. Before continuing with this article, you may wish to take a moment to download the example of a change management project plan template from our media gallery.

    A change management plan demonstrates that you take the process of creating change seriously. By taking the time to carefully plan how any changes will be implemented into processes, you can save money and time in the long-run. What goes into your plan? The easiest way to learn this is by looking at an example of a change management plan.

    Image Credit: Screenshot Courtesy of Ronda Levine

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    1. Document Approval and History of Revision

    When you implement changes, you may need to refine your change management document a number of times. For this reason, all change management plans should contain a page that lists the date, document version, revision description, and author as well as information about the approval of the plan. By making sure you have a place for approvals, you can get everyone to sign off on the plan - and ensure that any changes that are implemented are agreed upon by the most important stakeholders for your project.

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    2. The Executive Summary

    The executive summary lists the history of the change that is to be implemented in your project. By taking the time to ensure that you describe the history of the project and the change plan to be implemented, you can catch people up on the reason for the change. In this section, you will also describe the purpose of the change. Ensure that you include a scope statement which describes the constraints and direction of the change to take place.

    Finally, list any stakeholders in the project. You will need to communicate with your stakeholders about the status of any changes that you make to the project.

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    3. Roles and Responsibilities

    In the roles and responsibilities section of your change management project plan, you will want to list the different people and their work allocations for affecting the change. By making sure that every aspect of the change is covered by an individual, and all team members and stakeholders understand what is expected, what will be done, and by whom it will be done, you can ensure that your change management project will be effective.

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    4. Change Management Project Procedures

    Next, you will list the procedures for executing the change. You may find it useful to list the different elements of the process for executing change in this section. If necessary, include a work breakdown structure in your plan. By ensuring that you cover these aspects, you can help avert any ambiguity that might otherwise occur.

    Additionally, you will want to list any tools necessary for implementing the change. If your company will need new software, list that here as well as the specifications. Anything required for ensuring that the process of change occurs will go in this section.

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    5. Budget for the Change

    Changes usually mean that more money must be spent. Make sure you include a budget in your change management project plan. Every project comes with budget constraints, and you should account for this in even a change management plan.

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    6. Risk Factors Should be Analyzed

    No project plan is complete without a risk analysis, and any time you implement a change, you should factor in any potential risks that may be associated with that change. Make sure that when you construct your change management plan that you also perform a risk analysis and account for potential risk factors associated with the change.

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    7. Change Management Project Schedule

    Finally, your change management project plan should include a schedule for implementing the different phases of the change. You can do this a few ways - either insert your Gantt Chart using an Excel spreadsheet file or you can use project management software designed for this purpose. Make sure you have accounted for everything that needs to be done and when it needs to be done in your project schedule.