Project Change Management & How to Develop a Change Management Project Plan | Everything You Need to Know

When it comes to the project change management process, people can sometimes get confused. They have difficulty separating “change” management from “project” management.

The truth is that the two are intrinsically linked. Because projects very often impact people, the change management process in project management is a key component of project success.

When trying to separate change management and project management, it helps to define each one.

  • Project Management: The process of aligning methods, skills, knowledge, and assets to accomplish an objective according to a given set of parameters.
  • Change Management: The process, tools, and techniques used to manage the people impacted by an organizational change to achieve a required business outcome.

The bottom line in understanding a change management plan in project management is to identify change management as the “people” management part of a project.

project change management

Integrating Change Management and Project Management

Most projects will include a component that impacts people in some way. For example, if you were installing a new keycode entry system to your building, people would need to be trained on how to use it.

The process of aligning people to the needs of the project is what integrating change management and project management is all about.

Project management handles the logistics of what has to happen; change management ensures the stakeholders (people impacted) are educated, trained, and ready to support the project.

What You’ll Learn

In this AGS insight article, we’ll answer:

  • What is project change management?
  • How do you define the change management process in project management?
  • What is change management in IT projects?
  • What are the components of a change management project plan?
  • Is there a change management in project management PPT?
  • Is there a change management in project management PDF?
  • How do you develop a change management project plan?

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What is Change Management in Project Management?

We’ve touched on the definition of “What is change management in project management?” above. Now, we’ll go through an example to help in better understanding the project change management process.

This will give you a case example of how change management and project management come together in a common project that any business might have.

Say that you have a project to install a new IP security camera system at your office. The project manager will be aligning different parts of the project, such as purchasing the cameras, having an IT firm install and test them, etc.

But the employees that work in the building may also be impacted by the new security system. They may need to understand how to turn them on or off, how to view the video feeds, or just understand where they’re being used and their purpose.

People that are impacted by a change are called stakeholders. In this case, the change management plan in project management for the IP security camera installation would require identifying how people are impacted.

So, the project change management team would run an impact assessment, which would help them identify three different stakeholders:

  • Managers who need to know how to view the security feeds
  • Administrators who are responsible for updating and keeping the cameras running
  • Everyone else who just needs to be aware of where the cameras are

What is project change management in this case? It would be ensuring each stakeholder knew what was required of them once the IP cameras were installed, answering their questions, and ensuring no one’s resistance would derail the IP camera project.

Change management in project management is handling the “people” part of any project that’s changing the way things are done and is going to impact staff or other stakeholders.


Why is Change Management Important in Project Management?

The change management process in project management is crucial because if you don’t have people on board with a project that is going to impact the way they do things, then the project can fail.

People are naturally resistant to anything that changes their habits and normal routine. If you introduce a project that relies on people changing how they do something, you need to include a project change management process to ensure your project is successful.

In the case of the IP security cameras, if an employee that was asked to administer the camera system isn’t adequately guided through the new process, they could be confused, forget to update the cameras, and cause the project to result in a security breach.

What the project change management process brings to the table is expertise and soft skills when it comes to guiding people through a change in their day-to-day workflow, mitigating change resistance, and helping align stakeholders with the project goals.

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Components of a Change Management Project Plan

When you look at the answer to, “What is change management in project management?”, you’ll find that change management includes an entire set of steps to help manage the people part of a project.

Change management itself is about guiding people through a transformation of some kind, and it includes project planning. Often change management and project management happen simultaneously.

So, integrating change management and project management can consist of inserting the components of a change management project plan into the overall project plan.

What Does a Change Management Plan in Project Management Look Like?

Change management in project management will involve steps that are related to the people impacted by any project. These steps come from using change management best practices, being familiar with change models, and understanding how to guide people through a change at work.

When answering, “What is project change management,” these steps will give you the framework that experienced change managers use to handle the “people” part of a project to help ensure a successful outcome.

The components of a change management project plan fall into three main stages: Preparation, change implementation, and reinforcement.

Project Change Management Preparation

During the preparation stage of the change management process in project management, the change manager is gathering information, so they’ll know where to focus their efforts. They’ll be learning who is impacted by the project and how much they are impacted.

This information allows them to put together the right training and communication plan when integrating change management and project management.

Common steps:

Project Change Management Change Implementation

While implementing the change management plan in project management, the change manager will be aligning stakeholders with the project goals, communicating with them about the project, and training them according to the needs of the project.

How well this part of change management in project management goes depends heavily on the preparation stage.

Common steps:

Project Change Management Reinforcement

Without proper reinforcement of the new behaviors that people need to adapt to support the project, it’s easy for projects to backslide and not achieve the desired results.

This stage of change management in project management involves helping to ensure users don’t revert to old ways of doing things and that they sustain the behaviors needed to ensure project success.

Common steps:


What is Change Management in IT Projects?

One point of confusion when people are looking up, “What is change management in project management?” is that the ITIL process for delivery of IT services also includes something they call “change management.”

But the type of change management in IT projects is completely different than the project change management that we’re discussing.

In ITIL v3, the change management being referred to is when someone requests a change to an IT infrastructure. That change goes through a specific process that includes:

  • Evaluation of the IT change request
  • Approval or denial of the request
  • Planning and scheduling for the request
  • Implementing and testing the request

Those who are learning ITIL v4 will notice that the change management in IT projects from v3 has been renamed to “change enablement.”

Additionally, ITIL v4 actually includes a component called organizational change management, which is the “people” management that we refer to in project change management.

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How Do You Develop a Change Management Project Plan?

Just like project management, the change management process in project management needs to have a plan for guiding stakeholders through the change in process or procedures successfully.

The project change management process should begin with evaluating the project assessment to see which parts of the project are going to impact people.

Next, you’ll want to develop your change management plan in project management using change management best practices. This includes understanding the impact that your project will have on employees, managers, and other stakeholders.

Remember that the project change management process is key to resolving user resistance to a project. This is done by understanding a person’s pain points to a change the project is causing and answering those with information that addresses those pain points.

Without a project change management process being carried out strategically, a project can easily fail to achieve its desired results.

change management in project management

Tools to Develop a Change Management Project Plan

AGS has several tools you can use for developing a plan for your change management process in project management. We’ve included them below to help anyone searching for a change management in project management PPT, Excel spreadsheet tool, or a change management in project management PDF.


►► FREE Change Mgt Strategy Playbook and Toolkit ◄◄


Change Management in Project Management PPT or Other Tool

When you search for a change management in project management PPT, you’re likely to run across the change management in IT projects, and not the one that is designed to help guide people through the part of a project that impacts their daily workflow.

Change Management in Project Management PDF

We also found, that likewise, when searching for a PDF for the change management process in project management, it’s easy to get lost in a sea of information that doesn’t necessarily give you the step-by-step instructions you’re looking for.

Easy Guides to Project Change Management Plans

At AGS, we’ve developed several industry-leading free and paid tools that you can use for project change management to create a detailed plan. These can take hours off your research into change management in project management and help you ensure the “people” aspect of your project is managed according to best practices.

The best place to begin is with our free Change Management Strategic Playbook.

The AGS sample Change Management Strategic Playbook includes an end-to-end overview of change management in project management activities and deliverables.

It also outlines the key change management framework on which most project change management programs are based.

If you’re interested in a more robust tool to help with the project change management process, you can review the All-in-One OCM ERP tool that gives you everything you need for change management in project management from start to finish.

Popular Article: Guide for Implementing Changes in the Workplace


►► Change Impacts Assessment Toolkit ◄◄


Conclusion: The Change Management Process in Project Management

Any project that impacts the way that people work has a change element. This calls for a change management process in project management to ensure that stakeholders are adequately guided through the necessary change and don’t hold up the project.

When answering, “What is change management in project management?” it helps to explain that change management is about ensuring that any impacted employees or other stakeholders are in alignment with the needs of the project so the ultimate project goals can be met.

Change management and project management are closely related in that they depend upon each other. But project management is more about the overall logistics and planning to make a project happen successfully, where project change management uses change management best practices to zero in on the people being impacted.

It’s important for any project manager to understand the change management process in project management so they can ensure their project goes smoothly and doesn’t face any unexpected barriers or resistance.


Authors: Ogbe Airiodion (Senior Change Management Lead) and Francesca Crolley (AGS Cloud Content Producer)
Content on Airiodion Global Services (AGS)'s Airiodion.com website is copyrighted. Questions? Contact Airiodion Global Services (AGS) .

FREE Change Management Templates (Excel, PDF, PPT)

Get Free Templates Today

Free Change Management Plan and Template - Airiodion Global Services (AGS)-min

Get Your Free Change Management Templates Today


FREE Change Management Templates (Excel, PDF, PPT)

Get Free Templates Today

Free Change Management Plan and Template - Airiodion Global Services (AGS)-min

Get Your Free Change Management Templates Today


►► FREE Change Mgt Strategy Playbook and Toolkit ◄◄


►► Change Impacts Assessment Toolkit ◄◄


All-in-One Change Management Tools

Images: Microsoft 365 Clip Art Image(s) (Bing images licensed under the Creative Commons license system.)