Project Management Template: Managing Change Requests
Projects are subject to change. You’ve probably seen it many times if you’ve managed a particular project.
Sometimes the change is significant and requires adjustments to your plan and scope. Sometimes, the change is minimal and doesn’t have a significant impact.
As a project leader, it is important to keep track of changes to ensure they don’t negatively impact your budget, timeline, and team. It may not be possible to prevent project change from happening, but you can manage it.
What is change management?
Change management is a process that identifies, documents, and then remediates any change in a project. This change could affect the project’s scope, budget, resourcing, or timeline. It could also be used to modify an existing project requirement.
Change can come in many forms, just like projects. It’s up to the project manager to be aware of it and take the necessary steps to prevent project combustion.
Each organization approaches change management differently. However, a change request form can be used to document and track ongoing changes.
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Get your free plan. How to manage project changes
It doesn’t matter if you have a change management system in place, it is important to consider the steps you might take to agree to a project move.
1. Evaluate the impact of the request for change
You will need to inspect a change request from a stakeholder or member of your team to make sure it is necessary and then assess the impact.
These are some questions that will help you and your team decide how to manage the change.
What is the meaning of change?
Why is this change necessary?
Is the change contributing to our project goals
What are the challenges of the new environment?
After you have discussed these questions with your stakeholders and team, you can now focus on how the change will affect your budget and timeline. It’s a good idea for your team to meet together to discuss the effort required to make the change happen.
Let’s say, for example, you are contracted to install an inground pool. The customer decides to add hot tubs after the pool has been built. Before you can proceed, you’ll need to determine how this affects the existing plan, labor and eventually costs. It is expensive and time-consuming to stop work on the pool redesign, get approval from the customer, and order the correct materials.
In some cases, stakeholder approval may be sufficient to allow the change and all associated costs. It can often be just as surprising to them as your original request for change.
Be thoughtful and clearly explain the changes required. Also, be specific about the budget and project timeline impacts. This will allow everyone to agree on the next steps and any additional costs before you start work.
2. Modify your project plan
Once everyone has agreed on the next steps, it is time to update your plan. A documented plan will make it easier to manage changes and ensure that your project is completed on time. You can also see other benefits of a plan for your projects.
Be sure to take a baseline of your plan to track any changes that may occur to your schedule. These lessons can be used to guide future planning and project decisions.
To ensure that your plan is up-to-date, adjust any impacted tasks. You may need to reschedule, or reassign staff.