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Scope of Change


Disciplines > Change Management > Planning for change > Scope of Change

What is changed | Who is changed | Four levels of scope | See also


The scope of any change has a significant impact on the approach that is needed. A small change can be done on the fly, whilst changing everything is not so easy.

What is changed

One dimension of scope is the amount of things that are changed.

Scope of impact

When some things are changed, they have a significant ripple on other things. Thus, for example, changing a company policy or an organizational goal will have a very broad impact on whoever is involved.

Amount of work

The 'what' of change equates to the amount of work that needs to be done. This does not necessarily equate to how many people are affected, for example where the change work involves few people, but stretches over a long period of time.

Complexity of work

Some work is easy to do, whilst other work requires significant expertise, such as when new products or complex IT systems need to be developed. Complex work needs expert people who are expensive and who do not always agree with you. Complex work also brings with it risks of failure that need to be managed.

Who is changed

The most difficult work of change is often around people.

Numbers of people

When you have to change a lot of people then, even if the change is small, the job will not be that easy. When you have a lot of people to change, then you may find that someone, somewhere will be more trouble than the rest of people put together.

Degree of resistance

If you are going to implement a change that will highly unpopular into an organization where authority is devolved to a low level (for example where most people are 'professionals'), then you must expect a significant level of resistance.

Four levels of scope

Combining the above 'what' and 'who', four common scopes of change can be identified, in which different approaches may be used.



Small what

Big what

Small who

Fine tuning

Do it on the fly

Standard project

Separate project manager. No special change methods.

Big who

Local transformation

Engage everyone involved in the change.

Major transformation

Use change teams. Engage all major players. Lots of human change.


See also

Change Complexity Analysis

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