Change Management

Change is Inevitable

The purpose of change management is to ensure that the scope of work does not increase without appropriate approval. The change control process should provide a way for the Project Sponsor to approve all modifications to the budget, scope, or schedule of the project.

Change management is an important aspect of project management, as it helps to ensure that changes to the project are properly planned and implemented. Here are some best practices for successful project managers in change management:

Set clear expectations
It is important to communicate the reason for the change and how it will impact the project. This should be done promptly to ensure that all stakeholders are aware of the change.
Involve all stakeholders
It is important to involve all stakeholders in the change management process, including team members, customers, and other parties who will be affected by the change. This can help to ensure that the change is well-received and that potential issues are identified and addressed.
Develop a plan
A change management plan should be developed to outline the steps that will be taken to implement the change and any potential impacts or risks.
Monitor Progress
It is important to monitor the progress of the change and make any necessary adjustments to ensure that it is implemented successfully.
Evaluate the change
Upon completion of the change, it is important to evaluate its impact and assess whether it has achieved the desired results. This can help to identify any areas for improvement and inform future change management efforts.
Set A Tolerance level
Attempting to formally manage small changes can overwhelm the project manager and distract user management. Informal change control can be used when the project budget and schedule are not affected. All changes are documented for reference purposes.
Manage Expectations and Scope
Assessing and managing change requires the project manager to be sensitive to the people dimension of the project. Managing the perceptions of team members and the user community is just as important as managing scope.

By following these best practices, project managers can effectively manage changes to the project and ensure that they are implemented smoothly and successfully.

The project management process is creative, and will naturally bring about some change and the need for change management . The project manager's job is to recognize the inherent discovery process in the project and manage the change - not stop it.

The Change Management Process

Change management involves the documentation, tracking systems and approval levels necessary to justify and manage changes to the budget, scope, and schedule for a project. The scope detailed in the project proposal is the baseline against which changes will be controlled. A change control system is put in place to preserve the integrity of the project charter and to allow for the management of change requests.

It is important to note, that the success of change management depends on a detailed project baseline (Statement of Work). There is a natural discovery process in all projects due to factors such as omissions, mistakes, creativity, misunderstandings, and external influences. This discovery process normally creates pressure to modify the project scope, schedule, or budget.

The purpose of the change management process is to constructively manage that pressure. A change to the project scope is acceptable as long as:

  • The project sponsors agree that change is justified
  • The impact of the change on the project is analyzed and understood
  • Resulting change to the project (i.e. cost, timing, quality, and human resources) are approved and properly implemented.
  • The project plan is updated and republished.

The change management process provides a means for retaining historical change information that can be used to enhance future project efforts.

Project Change Life Cycle

Initiation of the Change

Anyone within the project organization can request a change by completing a change request.

Impact Assessment of the Change

The project manager will review the change request; the impact of the change will be assessed across all knowledge areas. The project manager will document the impact of the change on the current scope, schedule, and project budget. The completed change document is submitted to the project steering committee that is identified during the project initiation.

Approval of the Change

The appropriate project sponsor will ultimately approve or reject the change request. Upon approval of the request, the client project sponsor, and the project manager will sign the change request form. The project manager will maintain a hard copy of the signed change request.

Rejected Change

The Project Sponsor may close the change request at any point in the process prior to approval. If the change request is rejected, the change request is still maintained. However, the scope, schedule, and budget are not affected.

Implementation of the Change

The project manager will incorporate the change into the overall project scope and republish the project schedule, budget, and scope definition documents as needed.

Project Status Reports

Delivering regular project status reports is an important part of project management, as it helps to keep stakeholders informed about the progress of the project and any potential issues or concerns. Here are some best practices for delivering project status reports:

  1. Set clear expectations: Before you start delivering project status reports, it's important to establish clear expectations with stakeholders. This includes agreeing on the frequency of the reports, the format and content of the reports, and the audience for the reports.

  2. Use a consistent format: Consistency is key when it comes to project status reports. Use a consistent format for each report, and make sure that the report includes all of the necessary information, such as a summary of the project's progress, a list of completed tasks, a list of outstanding tasks, and any issues or concerns.

  3. Use visual aids: Project status reports can sometimes be dense and difficult to digest, especially if they include a lot of data and numbers. Consider using visual aids, such as graphs, charts, and tables, to make the information more accessible and easier to understand.

  4. Focus on key messages: A project status report should not be a comprehensive update on every aspect of the project. Instead, focus on the key messages that you want to convey, and provide just enough detail to support those messages.

  5. Be transparent and honest: A project status report is not a marketing document – it's a report on the current state of the project. Be transparent and honest in your reporting, and don't try to sugarcoat or downplay any issues or concerns.

  6. Follow up on action items: A project status report should not just be a static document – it should be a starting point for action. Make sure to follow up on any action items or decisions that arise from the report, and keep stakeholders informed about progress on those items.

In conclusion, delivering effective project status reports requires careful planning and attention to detail. By setting clear expectations, using a consistent format, focusing on key messages, and being transparent and honest, project managers can ensure that their project status reports are effective and useful to stakeholders.

For any project that is in progress, the project manager will create a weekly status report. The status report will have a summary status with one of the following:
  • Red - The project has outstanding issues that require immediate attention from the Project Sponsor.
  • Yellow - The project has outstanding issues that require the project sponsor's attention.
  • Green - The project has no outstanding issues that require the project sponsor's attention.

Status Report Details

In addition to the high-level status, the project status report will include the following sections:
  • Accomplishments - Deliverables that were completed and delivered in the past week
  • Planned Activities for Next Week - Deliverables that will be completed and delivered in the next week
  • Issues Needing Action - Issues needing action by the Project leadership or sponsor
  • Issues Resolved - Issues that were resolved in the past week
  • Budget - The state of the project budget includes approved scope changes.
  • Project burn rate - An accounting of the cost per week of the project team.
  • Schedule - Description of the state of the project schedule. Can also include a copy of the MS Project document, an HTML report from MS Project, or a link to the MS Project document on a server.