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Change Management Plan And Change Control System: How, What and Why

By July 20, 2022No Comments

Change is a part of life, and learning to live with change is something we all have to manage. The same goes for project management. From Project Start to Project close, change requests can happen, and that’s where the Change Management Plan comes in. Ensure that your project runs smoothly and changes do not cause more problems with its scope than they have to with a well thought out and comprehensive Change Management Plan.

Change Management Plan: The Why

It’s important to have a system to control change requests, because even if a scope, deliverables and requirements have all been planned out and organized in advance, nothing can be predicted with 100% accuracy and project deliverables can change due to many reasons in any part of its life cycle. Clients may request additional features or changes to previously agreed ones – Or resources may unexpectedly become unavailable.

A change management plan is there to support the project as it shifts to adopt these changes. As the requirements change, so too must the project management plan change, and many other processes and plans may also require changing to fit the new changed project.

Change Management Plan: The What

Develop Project Management Plan

Change Management Plan:

  • Describes how changes will be managed and controlled
  • The negative effects of the changes should be limited.
  • Changes should not be undertaken likely.

The plan defines how changes will be organized and controlled. It should explain the process of evaluating and analyzing any change requests, reviewing the impact (positive and negative) it would have on the project, and if there are any alternative options that could be implemented in place of the initial change request. All of this must be described in the change management plan.

After all of this has been discussed, evaluated and a decision has been made by the change control board. Should the board approve of the change, the various project plans will be edited to fit the changed aspect of the project.

It’s important to remember that during the analysis of the change request, negative effects must be very carefully considered and reduced as much as possible. The PM and the team members must make the change management plan with this in mind.

More often than not, change requests are negative to project plans as all of the organization, projections, and project scope can be affected and creates a variance between scope expectations and the final deliverables. Increased features will cause the budget to be affected, along with the scheduled time/deadline coming into question, and scope creep is always a looming danger when more and more changes are requested.

However, to prevent too much damage, the change control plan board can analyze the requests and look for options that would not damage the project as a whole as much. Generally speaking, the solution that will change the project the least is the one that should be undertaken.

Reminder: Even small changes to a seemingly unimportant portion of a project can have large and unforeseen effects on the project as a whole – so all change requests must be analyzed for unforeseen effects. Evaluate not only how the change will affect the component it is in, but also how it relates to and could alter other components and parts of the project.

Change Management Plan: The How

What does a change management plan include….

Develop Project Management Plan

Includes:

  • Change control procedures (how and who)
  • Approval levels for authorizing changes
  • Creation of a Chance Control Board (CCB) to approve changes
  • A plan of how changes will be managed and controlled
  • Who should attend meetings regarding changes
  • Organizational tools to use to track and control changes

To obtain complete competency in the process of building a Change Management Plan, we’d suggest looking into a PMP Course which goes into detail about how to build them.

However, we’ll provide a summary of each section included in the change management plan below:

  1. The Change Control Procedures

This procedure is all about controlling the requests when it comes to asking to change the project. This also will lay out who can start a change request, who has the permission to take it to the board for analysis, and who should be the one to analyze the various effects it’ll have on the project. These will all be described with procedures in the plan.

  1. The Levels of Approval Needed To Create a Change

The control board is in charge of managing and approving the change requests. It is worth remembering however that those in charge of the board are not the sole deciders. For instance, the engineering staff may give the first approval, but that does not mean it is instantly available, the process may still require approval from the Managers and other senior staff.

3) Creating a CCB (Change Control Board) For Change Approvals

This board contains the controllers who are in charge of evaluating the level of variance a change will create. Once a change request has been submitted, it can only adjust the project after (and if) the CCB approves it. This board will also create a plan on what is the best method to use to implement the changes requested.

4) The Agenda and Meetings

In addition to the previous factors, the CMP must also describe who must attend the various meetings when change requests are submitted, and it must be described and explained within the change management plan. For example, the person who submitted the change request, the lead stakeholder the change will impact, and any relevant party that is going to be affected by the change should attend, and the Change Management Plan should explain this.

5) Tools and Tracking

Listing the various tools used for the change control and how they are to be utilized should also be included in the change management plan. Most companies have specific tools for this, some examples being Jira and PPM which monitor the various submissions inside of the project and business as a whole. It’s good to get comfortable using these tools as a Project Manager as controlling and tracking change requests is something that can save a project from running over deadlines or going over budget.

Change Management  Control System: The What

The change control system includes a full complement of the softwares, methodology, input forms and everything in relation to changing a project. It will list exactly the documentation that is needed, where it should be sent for approval and the procedure and phases of approval that are needed to finalize said change. All of these exact processes are described in this list of forms, tools and methods.

When somebody working on, or overseeing a project wishes to request a change, they must first establish a legitimate reason for why the change is needed, how big the change is likely to be and their thoughts on how important it is. Using tracking tools a Project Manager can monitor and view the pipeline the change request has gone through, who has approved it and at what stage it is at in the approval process.

The change management plan and change control are critical in creating and delivering a project from start to finish within scope, time, budget, and to the expected quality. It ensures changes, which inevitably do come up, are handled with care and ensure the project is not impacted excessively because of it.

To learn more about how to build a change management plan, the control system, and more, we suggest enrolling in an online PMP course that goes in-depth on both change management plans and all other areas needed for a Project Manager to excel and their projects to thrive.

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