What is a Change?
Changes come about on projects for many reasons. It is the responsibility of a project manager to manage these changes as per the company’s policy. Changes are not always bad or results in delay and cost overruns. They can be positive at times like major scope cut done resulting in completion before time and under budget. What is important is that the manager must manage this process carefully, as too many changes or even one significant change can impact cost, schedule, scope, and/or quality. Once a change request has been submitted, some decisions needs to be made.
Before accepting the change request, the project manager must ask questions, such as these:
- Should the change be implemented?
- What will be the impact on the triple constraints: cost, time, and scope plus quality?
- What will the company benefit from this change and what will be the chances of project completion?
Changes cannot be entertained on random basis. They needs to be routed through proper channels and procedures. Stakeholders, if not handled properly can continue submitting change requests through-out the project life cycle. At the same time, we are all human, and sometimes things are not known at the early stages, resulting in change request. But this needs to be submitted along with strong justification document.
What is Change Control System?
Change control systems are documented procedures that describe how the deliverables of the project and associated project documentation are controlled, changed, and approved. It also often describes how to submit change requests and how to manage change requests. One of the benefits of change control system is to keep a track of the status of change requests including its approval status. As all change requests are not approved, so changes that are not approved are also required to be tracked and listed down in the change control log for future reference. It also define the level of authority required to approve or reject the change requests. Some change requests being not very critical can be approved by the project manager but others might need a review and formal approval by the project sponsor and executive management.
What is a Change Control Board?
Change Control Board (CCB) is a body comprising critical and powerful stakeholders of the project to review all change requests. The board is authorized to approve or reject the change requests as per organizational policy. But a different set of procedure is followed in case emergency changes and there may be scenarios where procedures allow the project manager to implement the change on the spot. CCB members might include key stakeholders, some project team members, managers, and others who might not have any connection to the project at hand. This varies from company to company. Some organizations have permanent CCBs with full-time employees dedicated to managing change for the entire organization while some might want to consider establishing a CCB only for critical projects.
A Change control board can be one of the primary reasons in the success or failure of the projects in an organization. Most of the projects fails because of too many unplanned changes and scope creep.
The reasons of changes can be
- Not involving the relevant stakeholders early enough.
- Doing it for the first time: Many projects run into problems because they are new in an industry and have never been done before.
- Poor Requirements Analysis: stakeholders or customers are generally not clear what the actual requirement and so provides an incomplete requirement.
- Changes not communicated to all the stakeholders: Incomplete impact analysis of a change can result in another change.
All these results in rework, delays and cost overruns, thereby resulting in project failure. This can be handled very effectively by a strong and powerful Change Control Board. A CCB have the power to accept or reject the change request. It completely depends on this group to treat all the stakeholders equally by penalizing the relevant stakeholders in case of miss out on their part. Though they cannot reject a critical change request, but they can ask for strong document from the relevant stakeholder, so that it can be bring to notice to their higher management. Thus resulting in better planning, requirement gathering, communicating and execution of the project.
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