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What is the importance of Change Management in Project Management?

     -     Jun 23rd, 2017   -     Project Management   -     0 Comments

The one thing constant in life is change. For something so inevitable, it is better to be aware of its importance, how to deal with and how to emerge as a winner from this whole process of change management. The same is true for the projects we work as well. It’s important to both understand why change is inevitable and its importance. In this article, we shall touch upon these things so that we ready to accept the change and understand its importance to deal better with it.

pmp-change-management

Why change is so inevitable?

Keeping in mind my experience background in Information Technology, I would consider the change more from the product perspective than the organizational change. World is moving ahead in terms of technology, industrialization at a rapid speed.

Things which look reasonable today might become obsolete tomorrow. Requirements change, expectations change, skill levels change so does the final product. If we want to be in control of the final product we are developing, we better manage the changes pouring in.

What to consider?

Do we have to consider all the changes coming our way to satisfy every stack holder? Will we be successful in this attempt? The answer is no. We have to draw a line between a customer’s requirements and wish list.  Consider the change only when it is adding any value to the product we are developing.

This value will be from customer prospective. Every next day, the product should be the better version of itself and we have to make sure it is better by carefully choosing the changes that are required.

What is change management and how important it is?

Change management is a way of standardizing the way we operate to efficiently manage all the changes coming our way with minimal impact on the product, processes and organization.  There is a saying ‘Change is hard in the first, messy in the middle and gorgeous at the end’.

That is where the change management process comes into picture to take the change from hard to gorgeous stage. The change may not be only business related. The importance of change could be due to regulatory compliance, security issues or government mandated requirements. In the current age, we have lot many tools and technologies which will help in the smooth transition while adopting the change.

Things required but not limited to for Change management:

  • Formal strategy on how to approach change.
  • A good project plan which anticipates changes
  • Good communication plan
  • Tools which enable change management
  • Better tracking mechanism
  • Impact Analysis
  • Most important documenting the change.

Change in requirement does not only change the product we are developing, but all the things involved in project management. The cost, schedule, time line would change along the line and also the resources, skills required etc.

We need to have a control system to control and monitor the changes across all the parameters of the project management. Integrating all the control systems is the key for better change management. Project management has an area completely dedicated for the integrated change control to affirm the importance of having change management in place for the projects. integrated change control management Like any other requirements, change management will follow the same flow as below: Change Management Flow

Things to consider while making the changes

  • Evaluate the change for the benefits and risks
  • Keep the product/service under development still stable and reliable.
  • Keep every stake holder in loop to avoid any ambiguities.
  • Prioritizing the changes so that we do not over allocate resources.
  • And off course testing the changes post implementation.
  • Documenting the changes.

Prioritizing the change would help in placing the changes in proper buckets so that the team knows what to pick up next. Some changes are not optional for ex.  government comes up with a new tax rule, or retail rules, they have do to be done on priority.

Rest of the changes would go to backlog which would be taken up as per priority. Approving or rejecting the changes will be done by Change Advisory Board (CAB) consisting of people with different perspectives, different skill levels and expertise which would help in having a holistic view on how to approach the change. This is where the risks will be identified and mitigated.

The correct actions would be suggested to handle the risks. But CAB will not take any business decisions on the change related to cost etc. Change management might look like an overhead at the initial level. It might be difficult for the team to adapt to this new process when the deadlines are nearing. A little discipline within the team would streamline the entire process. An audit at some time intervals would be required to check

  1. If the process is followed by the team. If they are any hiccups, measures should be taken to overcome it.
  2. Once the changes are closed, are they documented? Backtracking the implementation to change request should be easy and smooth.
  3. The implemented change has not affected the system or product in any negative way. We need to monitor the trend by analysing the product reports.

Automate the change management

As per the latest survey in machine learning and artificial intelligence, about 45% of the activities could be automated in any field bringing in more stringent discipline to the whole process. Automation is the key as change management should follow lot of compliance.  

During emergency changes, people might unintentionally hurry up things which would make the whole change not compliant to either security or SLA etc. Change management needs lot of reporting and tracking to see if the change has followed all the process.  

There are some automated work flow engines in the market, which could help in stream lining the entire process so that the whole team is in the same page.  Especially areas like tracking and auditing can be automated which would eventually save lot of time and money for the organization. Less of manual work means it is prone to fewer errors.  

It is very unfortunate that sometimes most of the damage to the product would be done by human error.   So let’s brace change management and change the world.  

           


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