Change Management and Change Control

Change Management


What is a Change and What are we Changing?

When it comes to change, it’s crucial to define what a change is and clarify what we are changing.

Changing the State

Some argue a change is a move from the current state to the desired state, especially from the strategic perspective of organizational change or transformation. As a result, we are breaking the status quo or changing the state to a better future. In light of organizational change, successful change management requires changes to behaviors, so there is a significant focus on people, culture, and behaviors.

Baseline as a Snapshot of the State

A baseline stands for the current state in a broad sense. Specifically, a baseline is an approved and formally controlled set of configuration items. Change is a modification to a baseline. A configuration item can be any type of artifacts, such as hardware, software, or security configuration, requirement, document, scope, cost, schedule, or performance measurement. Configuration refers to the particular arrangement or pattern of a group of related things.

Configuration Management and Change Management

Configuration management aims to manage the composition of configuration items, while change management focuses on the processes and records of changes to baselines.

For example, configuration management, in the context of IT or cybersecurity, manages a computer’s hardware configurations and informs the system administrator of the details; change management controls the changes to the computer, maintains the change log, and monitors and communicates the performance.

The Windows DeviceManager manages the hardware configurations. Replacing or upgrading hard drives is a change to the hardware configurations that should be managed by change management.

What is Change Management and Change Control?

Management is a structural or systematic approach (e.g., PDCA) to achieve goals or objectives.

  • Change management is the structural or systematic approach to prevent baselines from creeping or uncontrolled modifications to address risk.
  • Change control is part of change management in terms of the PDCA cycle.

The author distinguishes the two concepts from the perspective of parts and the whole instead of organizational levels or hierarchy (e.g., organizational level vs project level).

The following are perspectives from other sources:


  • Baseline. The approved version of a work product that can be changed using formal change control procedures and is used as the basis for comparison to actual results. See also cost baseline, performance measurement baseline, schedule baseline, and scope baseline.
  • Change. A modification to any formally controlled deliverable, project management plan component, or project document.
  • Change Control. A process whereby modifications to documents, deliverables, or baselines associated with the project are identified, documented, approved, or rejected.
  • Change Control Board (CCB). A formally chartered group responsible for reviewing, evaluating, approving, delaying, or rejecting changes to the project, and for recording and communicating such decisions.
  • Change Control System. A set of procedures that describes how modifications to the project deliverables and documentation are managed and controlled.
  • Change Control Tools. Manual or automated tools to assist with change and/or configuration management. At a minimum, the tools should support the activities of the CCB.
  • Change Log. A comprehensive list of changes submitted during the project and their current status.
  • Change Management Plan. A component of the project management plan that establishes the change control board, documents the extent of its authority, and describes how the change control system will be implemented.
  • Change Request. A formal proposal to modify a document, deliverable, or baseline.

Source: PMBOK 6th edition


  • Change management is the overarching approach taken in an organisation to move from the current to a future desirable state using a coordinated and structured approach in collaboration with stakeholders.
  • Change control is the process through which all requests to change the approved baseline of a project, programme or portfolio are captured, evaluated and then approved, rejected or deferred.


  • Change Management is the discipline of understanding, adjusting and adapting to a new normal after an enterprise transformation.
  • Change control is the process of how changes to requirements are sourced, analyzed, managed, and included in the roadmap and implementation schedule.
  • Change Management is about molding hearts and minds. Change Control is about governing the requirements management.
  • Change Management is about not letting investment into a transformation come to naught. Change Control is about not letting the requirements runaway train derail a project or a program.
  • Change Management may or may not involve technology involvement. Change Control is a part of the overall IT enablement realm.
  • Change Management could impact an entire company. Typically, Change Control is about a specific project and a set of requirements.

Source: Change Management versus Change Control


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