Once you put a good project change management procedure in place then you, as the project manager, can effectively administer how alterations are made to your project in the middle of implementation.
Change control is often seen as a barrier to rapid dynamic processes within the company but it really is in the best interests of everybody involved to follow the change procedures.
It should be a fundamental part of all project management training and product control techniques used by management.
In this article I’ll go into detail about how using such procedures benefits each of the stakeholders related to your project.
To the project team…
If a project is allowed run without effect change control then team members will invariably find themselves being on the receiving end of additional last-minute work that has to be rushed through for deadlines. This is not an ideal scenario and something which can only be done in the short-term.
If let go on, it can result in a lack of morale and declining trust in the project manager and senior management. Nailing your change management process is therefore a key part of initial planning.
Good project change management helps the project team to:
- Plan out their own work and stay on top of what changes are in the queue (via the change control log).
- Achieve a work/life balance.
- Establish better trust with the PM.
- Reduces the amount of rework required when done in parallel with a quality assurance & quality control plan.
To the project manager…
The project manager is the key role in any project. They act as the communication points between team members and other projects. The effectively shield the team members from any of the politics going on between the teams and allow them to focus on their own work. The project manager can also filter & evaluate at a higher level how performance or productivity improvement ideas that are raised in change request forms can help improve the overall innovation strategy of their business (let alone the project/product).
Good project change management helps the project manager to:
- Clearly define authorization levels for minor/major impact changes.
- Demonstrates to other teams/stakeholders the impact of changes. That is, many changes can only be implemented if other features/change requests are rejected or deferred sentence most project teams will only have a finite amount of resources. Other teams may be blind to how overworked your team members are so having a change control process allows you to inform them of what impact each change will have.
- Establishes who is authorized to approve different types of change requests.
To the project sponsor…
The project sponsor usually has a higher level view of the project than the PM. They may often be referred to as the product manager and would have a greater interest in the financial elements of the product (i.e. how it will improve sales performance) as well as specific features being implemented for customers they are in contact with.
Good project change management helps the project sponsor to:
- Effectively predict when new features can be implemented and communicate these to customers. If you needs to get in change management consultants to this professionally then do so. The benefits to operational procedures will have long-term effects.
- Define strategic ways to use the change review meeting to dynamically pick which features or change requests should be implemented. This can prove to be very beneficial when specific customer requests need to be fast-tracked through an implementation cycle.
To the dependent parties/teams/projects…
The definition of dependent teams or projects in a project change management procedure is any other internal departments or group of people who can be affected by the project changes your team implements. This can include quality control departments, other engineering teams, marketing, etc.
Good project change management helps the dependent parties to:
- Evaluate the impact of change requests on their own project scope, time-lines, costs or quality control plans.
- Stay abreast of changes and innovation strategy and project plans across the company.