Change is inevitable. Yes, I know that statement might seem different than what you have read in our other PMP Blogs. In most blogs we spend a large portion of our post highlighting the importance of good planning. We might even go so far as to say that you should be able to account for every risk with a subsequent action plan to deal with the risk.
Well the good news is I am not contradicting the importance we have put on planning; instead, I am providing another area that you, as the PM, will need to plan for within a project. For every project you should create a well thought out change management plan, because as we said above, change is inevitable, so we have to plan for it.
Change management is a part of the Integration Management knowledge area and contains processes within the Planning and Monitor and Control process groups. Again, it is so important that you understand what my previous sentence is referencing. If the words, process groups or knowledge areas mean nothing to you, please consider spending some time reading our blog about the PMP Process Chart.
Within change management, there are a few key topics you need to know. Let’s spend some time learning more about change control, change requests, and the change control board.
Within your change management plan, you should detail your change control. What does that mean? Ultimately, during your planning process group, you should outline who and how change can be processed for your project.
Some companies have set policies on change control and have established change control systems. In these organizations planning for change is much easier as it is already decided for you.
As you are reading this you should be thinking about those OPAs you have learned about in my peers blog. A change control system is absolutely an example of an OPAs.
While your project is in the execution process group you should be constantly monitoring and controlling progress. (Yes, Monitor and Control is another process group, but should be done in tandem with execution). Is your project tracking on schedule, on budget, on scope?
If not, during your trend analyses, you might determine corrective action is needed. If action is needed this will result in a change request.
You should complete a change request based on what you have learned about your project and the action needed to bring the project back in line with expectations. This request is submitted to the Change Control Board.
Change Control Board (CCB)
The Change Control Board should be created during the planning process group. You want to know who is needed to approve any requested changes. The Change Control Board is the only group that can approve a change to the project.
The CCBs can look different for different projects, but it is critical that you have this group to ensure only appropriate or realistic changes are made to the project.
Change Management In Total
Within your project, you will experience change at some point. Stakeholders have different opinions and most project members are working on other tasks. With just these two very simple items you can receive a lot of requests for changes to the project plan.
Having a well thought out plan on how to handle change when it is requested is critical to your success. Not every change is beneficial to the project, so having a well-informed and thoughtfully appointed CCB is extremely helpful.
Remember you didn’t do anything wrong if change is needed for your project; you just need a good change management plan to address what comes up!
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