Change happens, especially when it comes to the project life cycle. Those changes can sometimes seem to come out of nowhere. If they’re not managed properly, changes during a project can lead to risks that may eventually turn into project failures. It is for these reasons that the changes within a project require assessment, evaluation, and implementation using activities which are planned and structured. Called the Change Management Process, these activities organize the unexpected chaos that can occur during project management. Therefore, change management is an essential ingredient in the successful management of any project.
The change management in a project includes 8 primary steps. This article will elaborate on each of the 8 steps, as well as summarize those eight steps into 4. By combining the steps, change management becomes easier to learn, memorize, and execute.
If you’d like to learn more about the importance of change management within the overall project integration management process, consider taking a PMP course. A PMP course will not only familiarize you with change management, but also provide valuable insight into all the project management knowledge areas.
The 8 Steps of Change Management: What are They?
First, let’s introduce the 8 change management steps individually:
Establish Integrated Change Control
1 – Prevent Change by Eliminating the Root Cause of the Change
2 – Spot the Change
3 – Determine the Impact of the Change
4 – Develop and Deliver a Change Request Process
1-Prevent Change by Eliminating the Root Cause of the Change
The initial step of change management is preventing change in the first place. Too much change results in a loss of control, therefore action must be taken to prevent change from occurring. Furthermore, change can adversely impact planning, management, and coordination and even demotivate members of the project team. To prevent change, the root cause of the change should be prevented or eliminated as the initial step of change management during a project.
2- Spot the Change
No matter how hard you try to prevent or mitigate change, you will never be 100% successful at eliminating it. Change is ultimately inevitable, but it can be managed. To manage change, however, you have to identify the change. Spotting the inevitable means finding the reason for the change, what the goal of the change is, who started the change, etc.
3- Determine the Impact of the Change
After identifying the change, the next step is to evaluate its impacts. In change management, you must objectively identify how the change affects the project. This evaluation includes both the project product and the project performance. As an example, a change in the requirements or standards for a project will affect the end result, bringing about additional features and costs. What’s more, these changes also cost time, perhaps costing months in project management. It’s these types of changes that need evaluation as part of change management.
4- Develop and Deliver Change Request Process:
The fourth step of change management is submitting a change request. After evaluating the change impacts, a change request is submitted. The change request begins the formalization and possible integration of the actual change. It is the start of making the change official and incorporating it into the project. Take note that a submission for a change request can only occur after the change is identified and its impacts are evaluated.
Process for Incorporating Change:
5 – Carry Out the Change Control Process
- Analyze the Change
- Identify Options for Implementing Change
- Keep or Discard the Change
- Record the Change in the Change Control System
5-Carry Out the Change Control Process
Once the submission for a change request process pmp is completed, it’s time to perform integrated change control. This process helps to ensure the change is manageable and allows for the exploration of options. The integrated change control process is within the project monitoring and control phase, which in turn is a part of the project integration management processes.
To successfully carry out the change control process, a 4-step process is necessary:
- Analyze the change: To assess the change, you must analyze the start of the change request, the magnitude of the change, and what the main purpose of the change could be. Additionally, the impacts of the change are assessed and analyzed.
- Identify options for implementing change: In implementing a change request, there may be a multitude of options to choose from. These alternative options should come from both a technical and project management perspective. In doing so, finding the best option for implementation means choosing the option that will have the least amount of effect on the.
- Keep or discard the change: during this stage, the change control board analyzes the impacts of the change and reviews the options for implementation. The change control board can then reject or approve the change. Changes must have approval by the board to implement.
- Record the change in the change control system: Recording the change allows for future review of the former change request.
Note about Steps 6-8: The last change management steps — 6th, 7th and 8th steps — are contingent upon the approval of the change by the change control board.
6– Make Adjustments
Once approval is received, changes are then included into the project management plan, project documents, and project baselines. To demonstrate: If the change calls for an additional $50,000 and a one month delay to a project, the project baseline is modified.
Carry Out Change Control
Process for Making Changes:
6 – Make adjustments
7 – Communicate the change to stakeholders and manage expectations
8 – Incorporate the Revisions and New Project Documents, Implement the Change
Let’s review these in a bit more detail below:
7– Communicate the Change to Stakeholders and Manage Expectations:
Stakeholders should be notified of the change by communicating the change to stakeholders. An approved change will impact the overall project itself, and also influence the project product, cost plan and more. Therefore, stakeholders should be made aware of the project change.
8– Incorporate the Revisions and New Project Documents, Implement the Change
The final step of change management is to implement the change. After revising the plan to include the change, the new updated plan gets put into action. This last step ensures that the change is implemented and woven into the existing project.
Change Management Summarized in 4 steps
Memorizing all 8 steps can be difficult. Therefore, the following are a convenient regrouping of all 8 steps to make remembering the change management process easier for you.
- The first step of change management demands an evaluation of the impact. When a change occurs, evaluate how the change influences the product, cost, scope, and schedule of the entire project.
- The second step of change management calls for the exploration of other options and alternatives. Several options for implementing the change should receive an evaluation. Most importantly, determine which option affects the project the least or is the most beneficial.
Change Process at a High Level:
- Study and Analyze the impact
- Create and Find Options
- Obtain change request approvals internally
- Win customer buy-in
Let’s review in greater detail below:
- Submission to the change control board and their approval or denial is the third step. An approval of the change control board is necessary to proceed with the change management process.
- The final step of change management requires stakeholder buy-in. Ultimately, the change will affect the final project result, including the budget, schedule, etc. If approved, the change is incorporated into the overall project.
Prepare for the changes you will encounter by learning about change management. Understanding how to implement a successful change management is an essential part of project management, making change management a vital part of the PMP exam. Improve your project management skills by taking an online PMP course.