Change Management Overview

Change Management Introduction

Change management within a project is a pivotal activity to project successes; change management practices that are established, followed, and used my mindful and change aware project managers will be able to control a project's outcome in turbulent and taxing scenarios. It is not enough for an organization to have a change management process, there must be a champion to steward and lead team members through the world of change management as change management extends past a form and flow chart diagram. Project managers, executives, and team members must be aware when a change is present, without that, the most streamlined and robust change management infrastructure will never realize its benefits.

Change Management Overview

Change Management, or Integrated Change Control, is the process of reviewing, approving (or rejecting) all project change requests and managing changes to all deliverables of a project throughout its life cycle. Integrated Change Control provides a standardized, effective, and efficient way to centrally manage approved changes and baselines within a project. Change requests, a central tool in the change management process, capture new or revised cost estimates, schedule dates, resource requirements, and analysis of risk response alternatives. Every documented change request must be reviewed and either approved or rejected by team members and sponsorship.

The Change Management Process

The Change Management process includes the following change management activities:

  • Reviewing analyzing, and approving change requests in a timely manner since a slow decision may negatively impact schedule, cost, or the feasibility of a change
  • Reviewing, approving, or denying all recommended corrective and preventive actions
  • Ensuring that only approved changes are implemented
  • Managing approved changes
  • Maintaining the integrity of baselines and ensuring that only approved changes are incorporated within a project
  • Documenting a change’s impact and associated time frames
  • Communicating and coordinating changes across the entire project

The change management process requires a few key components in order to make it work. First, the change process should have documented procedures, forms, and a change process. These elements allow the change to be captured and following a standardized format while using a standardized activity set. Second, the change management process needs a governance structure to review and approved changes. There are many names for this governance structure: change control board (CCB), change approval board (CAB), change review board (CRB), and there may be different change control tiers as well. These tiers are commonly established at a team level, executive level, and steering level. Each tier has different operating guidelines and performs different functions; these tiers govern change within an organization. Lastly, a change management process requires a charter for each governing tier. This charter depicts the role of each governing tier, voting responsibilities, and escalation procedures.

Change Management Conditions

Before any change management activity proceeds, some conditions must be met. The main conditions that commonly must exist in an organization's project structure in order for change to initiate is: a project's funding is approved, a project's scope is approved, or a project's requirements are approved. If any of these, or a combination of these exist, and a project team identifies a change, the change process is initiated.

Change Identifiers and Triggers

As previously mentioned, the change management process is triggered and must be used if any or all of the change management conditions have been met. However, if a change is not identified, or what constitutes a change request is not seen, an organization can experience both short term chaos, increased spending, and long term quality effects due to a lack of documentation, process utilization, and historical record keeping. Change identifiers are alive when the following become known:

  • The project’s scope requires an in increase or reduction
  • Project requirements require additions or subtractions
  • Additional funding is required
  • The project needs to finish outside a business case or charter's boundaries

Sample triggers that cause the identifiers listed above are:

  • A budget issue
  • An application issue
  • A schedule issue
  • A design issue
  • A vendor issue


An organization, project, or team will realize the many benefits of following a change control process. Not only will they be able to control budget, scope, and time as a unit, they will have leadership and clarity to help them through turbulent times. Mostly, change management allows a project to continuously advances toward the project goal while unforeseen technical challenges, personnel changes, and external activities are actively managed to stay on track. Team members will also remain focused on both the long-term goal as well as a charted path through the short-term challenges. In addition, timely and standard updates and key information to stakeholders. Integrate and coordinate activities so the project will stay on schedule, remain within budget, meet quality requirements, and keep stakeholders sufficiently informed.

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