The Change Project Canvas: A Step-by-step Guide For Your Next Big Change

Level up your Change Management with this free Project Plan Canvas

Are you a change manager or project manager looking to implement a big change in your business?

Are you feeling overwhelmed with the task of planning and executing this change? Whether it's restructuring, small change initiatives or just a new way of doing things, using the Change Management Canvas can help ensure your project is successful.

This canvas is a powerful tool to simplify and streamline your change and transformation process.

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Your Go-to Project Plan-On-A-Page

The Change Project Canvas is a visual and concise tool that helps you structure and organise your change project. It consists of nine different sections, each focusing on a specific aspect of the change process. These sections include:

  • Key objectives
  • Strategic Vision & Scope
  • Change Impact & Risks
  • Stakeholder Analysis
  • Communications Plan
  • Key Milestones & Timeline
  • Budget & Resources
  • Feedback and Lessons Learnt

Each section allows you to capture important information, ensuring that all aspects of your change project are covered. This not only helps you stay organised but also enables better communication and collaboration with your team throughout the process.

Make Sure Your Next Change Project is A Success

Change can be daunting, especially when it involves a large-scale project that affects multiple stakeholders. Without proper planning and structure, change projects can easily become chaotic and fail to achieve their objectives. This is where the Change Project Canvas becomes handy – by providing a clear and holistic view of your change project, it allows you to:

  • Identify potential risks and challenges beforehand, enabling you to proactively address them
  • Align your change project with the overall vision and objectives of your organisation
  • Clearly define roles and responsibilities for each stakeholder involved in the project
  • Communicate the benefits and impact of the change to all stakeholders, ensuring their buy-in and support
  • Create a realistic timeline and allocate resources efficiently
  • Reflect on the project's success and areas for improvement
canvas ipad mockup

Looking for a FREE Project Plan on A Page? The Change Management Canvas

A Step-by-step Guide For Your Next Big Change


Maximising The Potential of The Change Management Canvas

The best part about the Change Project Canvas is its simplicity. It can be used by anyone involved in a change project, regardless of their level of experience in change management. The Change Project Canvas allows you to easily create an integrated project and change plan on a page.


This change project canvas can be filled out using a pen or electronically. An instruction page is included to give you examples and guide you through the following steps. 

Step 1: Define your key objectives

Start with the end in mind. Ask:

  • What is the goal and why?
  • Are my objectives clear and concise, leaving no room for ambiguity?
  • How do my objectives align with the organisation's mission, vision, and strategy?

Example of a SMART project objective: By the end of the fiscal year, increase employee engagement scores by 15% as measured by the annual employee satisfaction survey, by implementing monthly team-building workshops and a transparent communication strategy.

Step 2: Articulate your vision for the desired future-state and its tangible benefits. Describe how you will get you there.

Then, think of the project deliverables and the success criteria that turn the vision into reality. Draw or insert icons for each. Ask:

  • What does success look like?
  • How will this benefit stakeholders?
  • What actions and changes are required to realise the vision?

Example of a strategic vision statement: To become an employer of choice and attract top talents, by providing a safe and supportive environment where everyone can learn, grow, and thrive.

Deliverables & success criteria: work management system, process maps, training

Step 3: Identify areas impacted by the change and assess the potential risks to the organisation / project.

Score 1 for low to 5 for high. Plot it on the graph to see your risk level.


  • What could possibly go wrong?
  • Who is impacted and likely to push back?
  • How severe and likely are the consequences?

Example risks associated with the change: Transitioning to new processes and systems may impact customers and stakeholders and have financial implications.

Step 4: Identify stakeholders with similar characteristics. Assess their roles and influence.

Then, land on a communication and engagement strategy for each stakeholder group.


  • Who will be directly impacted by the change?
  • Who can influence the success of the project?
  • Who might have concerns or interest to advocate?

Example engagement strategy: Leadership workshops, team meetings, coaching, feedback forms, etc.

Step 5: Craft your project’s key messages and select how you spread them.

Example Key Message: Employer of choice, Safe and supportive, Learn, grow, and thrive.

Comms channel: Townhalls, SharePoint page, factsheets, toolbox talks, team-building events, posters, newsletter, etc.

Step 6: Sketch your high-level timeline with key milestones and phases.


  • When do we start and finish?
  • What are the critical transition steps?
  • When will key outcomes and deliverables be achieved?

Example milestones:

  • Kick-off: Big announcement
  • Pilot: Super users use new processes in new systems
  • Transition completed
Step 7: Identify the resources (human, financial, technological) required for the project.

Don't forget training! Invest in practical change learning pathways to make change smooth and pain-free.


  • What resources are needed to transition successfully?
  • How can the resources be optimally distributed?
  • Are there capacity constraints?
Step 8: Capture lessons learnt and insights for future projects.

PRO TIP! Make your project a data project. Think early on of feedback mechanisms such as SharePoint widgets, Google Forms or Post-its walls.


  • What went really well?
  • What obstacles and challenges were faced?
  • Did our actions aligned with our objectives and vision?
  • What would we do differently next time?

"The Change Canvas has been an invaluable addition to my project toolkit, allowing me to approach change management in a fresh and innovative way. I believe it could greatly benefit others, especially in New Zealand, where many budding change managers lack a diverse set of tools and strategies."

- Change Manager, New Zealand

Embark On The Change Journey Today

As you progress through your change project, refer back to the canvas regularly to stay on track and make any necessary adjustments. Once your project is complete, use the feedback and lessons learnt section to evaluate its effectiveness and identify areas for improvement in future change projects.


Let's continue our conversation! Subscribe to TransformUs by Approach Services to get more videos, tips and tricks on how you can develop your change and project management capabilities. Follow us on LinkedIn to learn more about what we do.

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Sam is one of the authors of The 6 Cents of Change. He's a father, a CEO, an Engineer, a trainer and a problem-solver. His work impacted Apache, Santos, MMA, and more. In his other life, he loves CrossFit and cricket. 

To learn more about us and the solutions we provide, subscribe to The 6 Cents of Change, follow us on LinkedIn or connect with us here or +61 (08) 610 20 343.

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