A key component of scope management is being able to address how you will handle change requests.
Some people consider change management (otherwise known in some circles as change control) to be a part of scope
management, and in a way this is very true -- the better the job done in defining and communicating scope,
likely the less need there will be for changes later on. However, in reality in my experience, changes are
inevitable, and thus are worthy of their own discussion. What is change management? The management of change and
development within a business or similar organization. In projects, we work hard to define the scope, the
project requirements and specifications, as well as it's time frame and costs. A key success factor is pinning
down the scope of what is to be done so as to not experience "scope creep" where a project never gets
completed. Change management is concerned with ensuring that any
changes that occur are agreed upon, having a process in place to determine when change has occured, and
managing actual changes when they do occur.
In management, here it is in a nutshell: A change control process needs to be put in place once the project baseline and scope has been set and agreed upon. Whatever you determine as your change control process needs to be put into place at the time of the scope baselines release--not later in the project. What you are trying to do is establish recognition of changes that may reduce or increase the project scope. This might be a form that has to be completed, a signature from a "higher up" that must be obtained, agreement by a committee, whatever. The most common is a Change Request Form that must be formally submitted and approved. Whatever you end up using, having something in place will deter or at least diminish "scope creep", "bleed", "tackons", "snowball effect" -- whatever you want to call it that makes your project perpetually grow larger with no additional time or resources or clarification attached.
Change management is the planning, initiating, realizing, controlling, stabilizing, and sustaining of
new or altered work activities at levels ranging from personal to corporate. Overall, the goal of change
management is to enhance organizational relationships between all stakeholders. This may occur by introducing
change in some cases and not introducing change in others. It involves considering areas of organizational
management, industrial engineering, and psychology disciplines. With change management that are often ripple
effects. Thus a question to ask is what will be impacted positively or negatively, what might be impacted, and
how important the change is itself when considering these factors.
When implementing change it is important to realize that it is not just a rational fact-based process, it also is based on emotion and trust. Often change management is based at least in part on the quality of the relationship the change agent has with stakeholders. There needs to be support for the proposed change as well as practical work capability to accomplish it. Additionally, there has to be a commitment to its success which includes individuals taking responsibility for ensuring the change is incorporated permanently.
There are multiple perspectives that can be taken when addressing change as well as in overall management practices. Considering the perspectives of yourself and your workplace may help in the change management process as it expresses how individuals and the environment are seen. Below are some perspectives that may come in to play:
As with other transformational efforts, there are times when intended change does not go as planned. Below are some potential reasons for this occurring:
Having an agreed-upon change management process at every organization and for every project is critical. Is equally important to have a clear understanding of the decision-making paths and roles for change requests. It is quite possible that there will be different change management decision making processes for different change requests; those need to be clarified as well. It is not always the case that one-size-fits-all and it is not always the case that every decision needs the same level of authority to be made. These are things that should be addressed and understood before a project even begins. No matter what the change approval processes are, it is critical that a communication method is in place for all stakeholders. It is also highly suggested that there is a means for stakeholders to look up change request as desired and to see their status at any point during the project.
At a minimum a change management process should include the following:
In a way, the change management process is sort of like a mini-project plan in itself. All of the things that must be done in planning a project must be done for project changes as well. To have the process work requires that an individual submit information on the change to be considered. In most cases, anyone within the project team, user community, stakeholders, or contractors can submit a change request.
Often there is a form called a change request or change control form that is used to submit a change request. This ensures consistency of information, all necessary information be provided, and a means of record-keeping all requests.
While there are many types of change request forms that vary based on the platform or on the perceived information needs, there is some information that could be considered key from a requestor. These include the requestor name and department, some type of short title for the change request, a more thorough description of the change request, any applicable references or materials, a description of why the change is proposed, an impact statement if the change is or is not implemented, and any change alternatives that may have been considered.
Once the change request is submitted, a review of the request process should begin. This process should include an Initial review that determines the viability of the request and if it should proceed, be modified, be rejected, or be deferred. Assuming the request proceeds onward, it should be followed with an impact analysis discussion. After the impact analysis, the request should again be reviewed and a decision made as to the status and priority. If the change requests precedes to implementation, the appropriate parties must be assigned any applicable tasks and the status update should be documented. In most cases change requests and outcomes are stored in a database. Below is a sample of such a database:
|Actual Hours||Modifier||Actual labor hours of effort needed to implement the change.|
|Description||Originator||Free-form text description of the change being requested. This cannot be changed after it is entered. If reporting a problem, enter the exact error message text observed here.|
|Date Submitted||System||Date this issue was submitted to the tool.|
|Date Updated||System||Date this issue was most recently updated.|
|Estimated Hours||Modifier||Estimated labor hours of effort needed to implement the change.|
|Implementation Priority||CCB Chair||Relative importance of making the change: Low (default), Medium, High.|
|Issue ID||System||Sequence number assigned to the issue.|
|Issue Type||Originator||Type of change request being created: Problem, Enhancement, Requirement Change, New Project.|
|Modifier||CCB Chair||Person who is assigned responsibility for implementing the change.|
|Originator E-Mail||Originator||Originator’s e-mail address.|
|Originator Phone||Originator||Originator’s phone number.|
|Originator Priority||Originator||Originator’s relative importance of the change: Low, Medium, High.|
|Planned Release||CCB Chair||Product release number for which this approved change is scheduled, determined by CCB.|
|Product||Originator||Name of the product or project in which a change is being requested or a problem reported.|
|Problem Severity||Originator||For a problem report, set severity of the change (see Table 1). Use N/A if this issue is not a problem report.|
|Response||CCB Chair, Modifier||Free-form text of responses made to the change request. Multiple responses can be made over time. Do not change existing responses.|
|Status||Originator, Modifier||Update current status of the change request as it moves through the states described in the Change Request Status section. Date of status changes and name of user making the update are shown automatically.|
|Title||Originator||One-line description of the issue.|
|Verifier||CCB Chair||Name of individual who is responsible for verifying that changes were made correctly.|
Problem Severity Descriptions.
|Minor||Cosmetic problem, usability improvement, unclear error messages; customer can live with the problem (default)|
|Major||Problem adversely affects product functioning, but a workaround is available; customer will be annoyed; serious usability impairment; problem blocks some testing|
|Critical||Product does not function at all or crashes; the wrong results are generated; further testing of the application is not possible|
|Emergency||Anything that requires a change to be made immediately, bypassing the change control process temporarily|
Sample above from http://www.processimpact.com/index.shtml
Project Management Institute (2000). A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge. Newton Square, PA: Project Management Institute, Inc.