Part of the overall project governance is the Change Control. This can refer to changes in the scope of the project, the budget, the Schedule, the services provided or the products the project produces. Change control needs to be in place to ensure that the project is delivered on time, to budget and delivers the required product. Change control ensure that any change introduced to the project is defined.
Change can be introduced into the project and will be introduced into the majority of projects. The world would be great if people did not change their minds, but this simply does not happen in the real world.
Change needs to be introduced in a controlled manner, hence we use the term “Change Control”. A formal process of submission, review, acceptance and implementation must be followed and documented to ensure all stakeholders understand the change and what it will mean for the project.
Any member of the Project Team, or Stakeholder should be able to request a change and the process begins with the Change Request. A document with a small number of mandatory pieces of information is required. This does not need to be excessive, however it needs to cover all of the information that a Project Manager and the Stakeholders need to be able to make an informed decision to continue.
The Change Request will include the following information; Requester, Description of change, Type of Change (budget, scope , schedule), Benefits of the change, Estimated Costs, Impacts of the change and the expected Deliverables of the change.
Once the change has been submitted, the Change Manager, or Project Manager in most projects, would accept the Change Request for review and assess the requirement. A feasibility study maybe required for large requests to understand the impact to the project and to obtain acceptance of the requirements. The Change Request details will be recorded into a Change Log.
Once the Change Request has been accepted and assessed, it will then be presented to the Change Board. The Change Board will decide with a conscious to accept the change or discard it for rejection. The Change Log will be updated to reflect the decision.
Once the change is approved, the Project Manager will identify all of the aspects that are impacted within the project, such as schedules and costs. The Project Plan will be updated to include the change and work packages will be created, assigned and executed. The Change Requestor will be informed that their request has been accepted.
Once the change has been implemented into the project, the Change Request can be updated to a status of complete and the original Change Requester will be informed. The Change Log will be updated to complete and close the Change Request.
The change process is very simple, but is easily over looked. A Project Manager must ensure that the Change Control Process is defined in the Project Plan, or even a separate document. A Change Log should be created to record all requests and the status of each and a Change Request Template should be created, so that all changes can be recorded with a standard document.