Difference between Change Management Plan and the Configuration Mangement Plan

1) What is the difference between Change Management Plan and the Configuration Mangement Plan since the two plans almost look the same.

2) Also, if we have change control procedures in the Change Management Plan (which I guess we have only 1 Change management plan for the entire project)  then why do we need sections to manage changes in the Cost, Scope and Schedule Management and other plans?

3) Finally, change management plan and configuration management plan are part of the Project Management Plan while I think change control system and Configuration management system is a part of the Enterprise Environmental factor. So if we have these systems then why do we need these plans ? Are these plans a part of the respective systems and if yes then shouldnt the 2 systems also be a part of the project management plan? I guess I am getting really confused in seeing the real significance and the difference between each of these systems andf the plans.



Although I have replied to the same question at some other forum, I would like to repeat the answer so that others may benefit from it as well.

According to the PMBOK guide the “A change management plan documents how changes will be monitored and controlled”. “The change management plan defines the process for managing change on the project.” (PMBOK pg: 81, 126). 
PMBOK defines the configuration management plan as, “The configuration management plan defines those items that are configurable, those items that require formal change control, and the process for controlling changes to such items.” (PMBOK pg:126)
The change management plan is more generic in nature and directs how any change to any of the project baselines and other areas needs to be managed. On the other hand, the configuration management plan only directs how any change related to the project configuration needs to be managed. Before I go in a little detail, let’s first see what does the term “configuration” means:
A “configuration” is the identified and documented functional and physical characteristics of a product, result, service, or component. That is, the physical and non-physical attributes of the product or service you are producing as an output of your project.
Now let’s see this from a different angle. You are carrying out a project to produce either a service or product. The project work itself is the process and the service or product you produce is the output of this process. The change management plan directs how changes to the “process” need to be done, while the configuration management plan directs how changes to the “output” need to be done.
Now, let’s address your second question. Whenever there is a change in the project, we have two situations at hand. First, we need to analyze the change and determine whether the change is necessary and viable, and then get it approved. The change management plan clearly directs us how we are going to get a change request approved, but it does not tell us how to analyze the impacts. If we have a change request, we first need to analyze it and have to determine which project areas (knowledge areas) this change affects. We will the visit the respective knowledge area’s monitor and control processes to analyze the change in a greater detail before we try to get the change request approved. Respective knowledge areas’ management plans help us here as they provide directions how to analyze any change and its impact in that particular area.
Now let’s hit your third question. Please don’t confuse the “change control system” and the “configuration control system” as something readily available in the enterprise environmental factors. The change control system and the configuration control system are your project-specific systems driven by your project’s “change management plan” and the “configuration management plan” respectively.
Please note that “configuration management system” is listed in the enterprise environmental factors as the organizational asset in the form of the project management information system, which is a software. You can only use this software if your organization has got a license to it. Even if the organization has a license, this is just a software, and you need to setup it with your “configuration management plan”.
Secondly, “change control procedures” and “configuration management knowledge bases” are also available in the organizational process assets. If these are available, these contain the information your organization has already captured during earlier projects. Even if you have access to these, you have to tailor it into your project-specific “change control” and “configuration control” plans to meet your needs.
I hope this answers all of your questions.
Exam Support Team


I wrote an article on configuration management vs change management. I think you will find it interesting. It provides 3 points of differences but it also talks about how these topics are complementary to each other - http://www.pmbypm.com/difference-between-configuration-management-vs-change-management/

Hope it helps.

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