The importance of understanding and managing change in projects cannot be emphasized enough.
The larger and the more complex the project scope is the more accurate we need to track the change.
In many situations change is seen as a daily activity of design development and it is not documented in any written form but rather executed on a verbal basis. This initially seems to be a comfortable means of communication for both clients and consultants working in a harmonic inform relationship of mutual understanding and flexibility to meet needs.
The problems of course appear when the bills start coming in and the schedule is starting to drift. The debates could lead to serious arguments, deterioration of good trusting relationships and eventually law suits.
For the above reasons and many more it is essential to keep a good written log of key decisions that affect the scope of work. It is important to analyse how changes affected the work and update the “lessons learned” database.
In many cases consultants try to accommodate the client “wish-lists” and “nice to haves” but they do not assess the impact these changes might have and more importantly they do not make the client aware of the impact until the damage is already done.
So try to organize the work flow and manage Change following simple steps:
- Identify Change request and change initiator and document it in a written media (e.g. email, letter, MoM, etc.)
- Assess if the change is sufficient enough to generate an impact (i.e. change or SoW).
- If you can classify it as per company’s procedures.
- Interrogate if the change is necessary and if there any other alternatives with smaller impact or none.
- Inform all stakeholders involved as well any other parties that might be impacted from the change.
- Prepare man-hours and schedule impact assessment.
- Draw from the change, lessons learned points in order to avoid similar changes in the future.
The more organised and faithful you are to the Change management process the better you will manage your project, the more trusting your relationships will be with the client and the better the overall performance of your project will experience. It is a keystone for successful projects and returning client customers.