Change Management Template Excel Download free templates

When a project manager drafts a project  plan he or she hopes that the project will run as per the plan. In reality, projects seldom run to plans. Change is the only constant. As a project manager you need to make sure that the decision to proceed with the change request is not made in an unilateral fashion.

Change Request Process
Change Request Process

When you put the project plan together you would have assumed somethings. Those assumptions may not always be correct.

You will have some or the other issues like resourcing, technical hurdles, budget issues and one of them which is very common is scope creeps. 

As a project manager you do not have control over lot of situations but you can definitely control scope creeps.

There are two challenges when it comes to managing scope creeps - : identifying scope creeps or changes and handling the change request(change request and change log).

Identifying the scope creep or change request

This is the most difficult task. Most of the times the project team members will be so focused on their individual tasks that they fail to identify scope changes. As a project manager it is your responsibility to identify scope changes. To be able to identify scope changes the project manager should be aware of the details of the project deliverable.

Sample Change request Template
It also important the project manager participates in scrum meetings, project meetings, technical workshops etc as the scope changes can come from different sources. The changes could come as part of internal team discussions, senior management feedback and from the system users.

Internal changes or changes which arise from team discussions could come as a result of design reviews, code reviews or team demos. Senior management can also provide feedback to make sure the deliverable is inline with the company's strategic goals. The system users may ask for changes after seeing a demo or prototype. Most of the times the requester of the change is unaware of the impact of the change on the project schedule and this is were a change management process is useful.

The change could be required or optional. All the stakeholders of the project should be aware of any changes to the project. In the next step we will see how a project manger can handle a change request.

Handling the change request

Change Request Template
Change Request Sample

There are two parts to handling change requests - first, document and then socialize the change request with the team and stakeholders. When documenting the change request the document type can be an XLSX or Word or any other format. The key to any change request is the different details that you capture. 

It is important that a project manager documents the change well and then publishes(or socialize) the document. But before publishing it is important that the requester reviews the change. As mentioned before people often ignore the impact of change requested and asking the requester to review the change request is a good way of confirming the change is actually required. 

Please see the images on the top for template and sample based on Microsoft Power Point. You can use any document format you wish - XSLX, Word etc. I have also shown a word based template at the beginning. The change request should be reviewed by the project manager, project team and the requester before it is published for approval. 

Generally, the change requests are approved by senior executives or project sponsors or investors but never the project manager. It may happen the change request may be shot down by the project team which will mean that the project manager need not go the project stakeholders for approval.

Re-baseline the project plan

One of the things that a project manager has to do when a change occurs is to re-baseline the project plan. I recommend that when presneting the change request to the project stakeholders for approvals (and you are reasonably confident that the change will be approved) a project manager should also present the re-baselined project plan for approval.

The advantage of doing this will be that the project manager will get a real assessment of the impact of the change as he or she are forced to re-baseline the project plan.

Maintaining the change log

A change is the list of changes that are logged for the project. The change log should contain all the changes logged approved or not.  Having a change log is key as being the project manager you should always know what change requests have affected the project. It can be a simple spreadsheet like below.

It comes in handy when at the end of the project everyone wants to know how and why certain project decisions were made.

Sample Change Log
Sample Project Change Log

Is also a good idea to mention the change requests details(open if any, closed, approved) in the summary section of the your project status reports so that everyone knows what are the change requests affecting the project. Please see How to write an effective status report if you need any help in creating a project status report.

And always remember that you will face resistance when you are following the change management process because people want to get things done without going through the documentation or without making it public. 

As a project manager it is your responsibility to make sure that any decision regarding the changes is taken by appropriate people in the most transparent fashion.

Swapnil Wale

Written by

Swapnil Wale is an IT Professional based in Sydney, Australia with over 10 years of experience in technology and project management. He is a passionate blogger and focuses on project management and BRMS articles.


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