Change Control Plan

A change control plan is a way to communicate your intentions, goals, and activities to employees or stakeholders. It can also help reduce resistance to change by providing essential information about the changes you're instituting. This idea sits at the core of the "change" concept. If you want something new, but others don't, then it's a good idea to have a plan in place that answers their questions and concerns.

Change control plans are useful for any type of organizational change in any industry, so whether you're starting a new project at work or planning a new product launch, this guide will help you create an effective plan.

The change control plan is an important part of the project management plan.  The purpose and usage of the change control plan and change management plan are almost identical, regardless of the terms used. The change control plan includes the specifications of a change control board establishment.

Who Needs a Change control Plan?

Any person or organization that is initiating a change will need to create a change control plan. This includes new hires, new positions, vacations, transfers of responsibilities, and any other changes in operations. 

While the needs of each company are slightly different, there are some universal components that should be included in every change control plan. For example, it's extremely important to include an explanation of why the change is needed and how it will benefit the business or its stakeholders. It's also helpful to include information about what will happen as a result of the change – for instance, who will do what tasks and how long it will take for things to go back to normal. In addition, you'll want to detail how employees can prepare for the change and how they can support one another during the process.

The purpose of a change control plan is to ensure that all changes to a project are properly evaluated and controlled. This helps to minimize the risks associated with changes and ensures that the project remains on track and meets its original objectives. Generally, a change log is used for tracking and controlling changes.

Project management is all about planning and ensuring that changes to the project don't disrupt its progress or cause any other negative impacts. That's where the change control plan comes in - it's a key part of the project management plan that establishes how changes will be made and monitored.

What Is a Change control Plan?

A change control plan is a document which lays out your intentions and goals for the change you want to make. It is an essential tool that outlines the steps necessary for change to happen, as well as your activities. Change control plan is a project management artifact and it is a sub-plan of the project management plan. 

The point of this plan is not to be too prescriptive, but rather to create a roadmap of the steps you need to take in order to successfully implement your desired changes. A change control plan should help increase compliance with organizational changes or new project objectives, while also reducing resistance and making it easier for project managers to achieve their goals.

The change control plan establishes a change control board, which is basically a team of people who will be responsible for assessing and authorizing any changes to the project. The change control plan should also specify how often the board will meet, and what criteria they'll use to decide whether or not a change should be made.

Change control board is a formal group that has the main responsibility of evaluating, approving, revising, or rejecting requested changes to the project. These decisions are always recorded and communicated to the related stakeholders of a project. The change control board is responsible for making decisions about all changes to a project. This board includes representatives from all key stakeholders in the project, including the customer, the project manager, and the team members.

Informal revision controls are not in the scope of the change control plan. Instead, it covers, change requests that are carefully proposed, assessed, voted, and accepted or rejected. Informal revision controls on the other hand useful in rapidly changing project environments.

The change control plan is a project artifact categorized as;

  • Plan Artifact
Its usage varies according to the result of tailoring processes but generally, they are used in;
Change control plan is an important input while creating a risk management plan while executing the project work, or controlling scope and procurements to create deliveries.

In a change control plan typically following elements exist but they are not limited with them:

  • The goal of the change control procedure,
  • Where to apply change control procedure,
  • Methods for proposing changes,
  • Assessment method for the impact of changes,
  • Approval procedures,
  • Authorization.

Creating the Change control Plan

The first step in creating a change control plan is to identify the changes that you want to make. The second step is to create a timeline for implementing these changes. When creating the timeline, think about what needs to be done before, during, and after the changes are implemented.

The third step is to identify possible risks or obstacles that might cause delays or prevent you from achieving your goals. Then, create a contingency plan for these risks and obstacles. Finally, come up with an action plan for how you will overcome any delays or problems.

Communicating Your Change control Plan

The first step in developing a change control plan is to come up with your goals. What do you want to get out of the change? Next, identify the pertinent stakeholders and write down the questions they may have about the changes. This will not only help you better prepare for these questions, but it will also provide a good starting point for creating a Q&A sheet that employees can refer to.

After you've identified your goals and stakeholders, write down what methods you'll be using for communications. Will it be one-on-one meetings? Group meetings? Email blasts? Company intranet site posting? Whatever method or methods you choose, make sure they're in line with your goals--in other words, if there are certain features of the change that aren't essential to understanding, then don't include them in the plan.

Finally, create timelines for each communication method and make sure all stakeholders are aware of the deadlines. The timeline should outline when information will be provided at each stage of the process, who needs to know about it and why, how frequently information will be communicated (e.g., weekly meetings), when certain steps need to happen (e.g., training sessions), etc.--basically everything related to communicating your change control plan effectively. Once you've created this timeline, take a look at it and make sure it aligns with your goals (i.e., if one of your goals was "to reduce resistance," then there should be clear instructions

The Importance of Stakeholder Engagement 

Change can be hard for everyone involved. It's important to recognize this and include stakeholders in the process of change control. When you create a change control plan, you need to make sure that those who will be most impacted by the changes are included in the planning process. This makes it more likely that the changes will have a positive impact on your organization.

Asking people what they think about your plans is an effective strategy for getting feedback and showing that you care about their opinions. Stakeholders often know more than we give them credit for, so having them as part of the conversation is essential to making a successful change happen. They may have valuable information or insight that you didn't think of before going forward with your plan.

The Process of Implementing Changes 

While each change control plan will be unique, there are four general steps that many plans follow. First, you need to gain support for your decision and communicate the benefits. Next, you need to solicit feedback from employees. Once you've done this, come up with a date when the changes will go into effect.

You'll also want to create a communications plan to tell employees what they can expect in the coming weeks and months. Finally, monitor the success of your changes and tweak them as needed.

Conclusion

A successful change control plan is key to a successful transition. You will need to make sure your team is on board and your stakeholders understand the need for change. You will also need to communicate the process and importance of change to them.

When it comes to the process of implementing changes, you’ll want to make sure you follow through with all changes in the plan. This includes both the small details and the overall goal of the transition.

You will also need to make sure you involve all stakeholders in the process. The best way to do this is by having an open dialogue with them and involving them as much as possible.