Managing Project Changes

Change requests are inevitable in any project. Successful project managers effectively manage changes through the use of change control boards.

Change Control Boards

Change Control Boards (CCB) can take many shapes. Their purpose is to review and prioritize changes presented during the course of the project. The CCB can range from the project manager and the project sponsor meeting on a regular basis to review requests, formally or informally, to a committee of representatives from a variety of disciplines throughout the organization.

Where do changes come from?

There are three categories of changes that can occur:

  1. Changes that are necessary in order to meet the objectives of the project.
  2. Changes that were not part of the original scope, but are approved by the CCB along with the associated approved change in schedule and budget. Typically, these changes are in response to:
    1. A change in the market
    2. Additional knowledge forcing a modification in scope
    3. A new technology or product that may not have been available earlier in the project life cycle, but would significantly improve the probability of project success
  3. Changes that were not part of the original scope. The assessment of the CCB reported that these requests are not required in achieving the project objectives.

How do I prioritize them?

The selection and prioritization of changes comes from the work performed by the CCB. Changes should be quantified, analyzed and prioritized using some form of a ranking system. Having a pre-defined ranking system will facilitate decision making by making the decision an objective choice, eliminating emotional reactions. Keeping decisions as objective as possible will minimize unnecessary work affecting the overall success of the project.

Capturing change requests in Project Insight

In Project Insight, project management software, the best practice for capturing change requests is to use the 'issues' item type. Team members are empowered to add issues and to escalate problems or changes to other members of the team. Issues are designed to track problems and changes that come up on the project or task level.

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