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Controlling Change Requests in Projects

Controlling Change Requests in Projects
By Michelle Symonds

Changes requested once a project is underway are an inevitable part of any project. They can either be the result of external changes in the business or they can be internal changes requested because the original aims of the project were not clearly defined or clearly understood.

Change requests resulting from external factors are usually beyond the control of a project manager and there is usually little choice but to deal with them. Most successful project managers will have already put a process in place at the start of the project to handle such requests and the plan will be flexible enough to cope without unduly affecting the final outcome.

But change requests resulting from internal factors should be handled very differently. In an ideal project many of these would have been avoided by ensuring that the project objectives were well-defined and that the requirements were clearly documented and communicated to all stakeholders. Read the Complete Article

Customer Management in Project Management

Customer Management in Project Management
By Dave Nielsen

It is fair to say that good communications is essential to the task of managing the customers of a project, but good communication is tool that will enable you to improve on your management style. Managing your customer requires you to understand who your customer is, what they need from the project you’re managing, how to set reasonable expectations around what you can deliver, and demonstrating to them that you’ve delivered.

Here are some tips that will help you establish and maintain a good working relationship with your customer from the beginning of the project, through to closeout.

Identify Your Customer

This may sound simplistic, but in most software development projects distinguishing customers from other stakeholders can be tricky. Here’s a golden rule for identifying your customer: the ultimate customer is the one that signs the cheque. This person is frequently referred to as the business sponsor in software development projects. Read the Complete Article

Going Beyond Project Management – Adapt to Change

Going Beyond Project Management – Adapt to Change
By Victor Siegle

Change: A Product of an Old Adage

Project-based organizations realize that customer-focused project management is far superior to product-centric project management. In other words, “the customer is always right”. This famous adage that puts your customers’ wants and needs first has always been a motto for project managers. However, never has this saying been more critical to the success of project-based organizations than in the current, unyielding pace of business.

Project managers are faced with an unenviable challenge. Everyday, they are tasked to ensure that all facets of a project are working harmoniously for the common good – delivering a quality end product for the client in a timely manner and within budget. This involves managing schedules, budgets, people, and deadlines.

Being the primary contact point for clients, project managers understand that customers will only remain loyal when they get their needs met, fast. Read the Complete Article

Configuration Management and Change Control in PRINCE2

Configuration Management and Change Control in PRINCE2
By David Litten

I remember, many years ago, attending my first training course on Quality. Management couldn’t get enough people to attend, so they bribed them with a free scientific calculator (back then worth about $200) – so I attended.

To be honest, I found it a whole lot more compelling than I expected. After lunch on the second day, they had an expert talk about Configuration Management.

Well, she certainly knew her stuff – but I came away thinking that CM was a bit ‘academic’.

How Wrong Can I Be? Configuration Management is business critical! I’m serious. Would you buy another auto from your dealer if they weren’t set up with the right tools to service your car?

How about if they fitted the wrong replacement parts? Or if the Manual had errors in it?

There’s a famous story about the Space Shuttle incurring huge extra costs because European suppliers used the metric system and the USA used Imperial measurements. Read the Complete Article

Change Management Life Cycle: Prototyping – A Fluid Implementation Strategy

Change Management Life Cycle: Prototyping – A Fluid Implementation Strategy (#6 in the series Change Management Life Cycle)
By Jonathan B. Gilbert

As previously noted, for change efforts to be successful, the implementation strategies must be fluid. Instead of a grand plan, sufficient flexibility in process and execution tactics must exist to respond to shifting circumstances such as market or business conditions.

These mid-course corrections often take the form of rapid prototyping or alternative responses to “what-if” scenarios—considerations that are not typically included in a detailed master plan.

Prototyping monitors the thinking and activities of people—both users and implementers—as processes and technology are put into action. Its purpose during the implementation phase is to help organizations avoid getting mired in highly detailed plans that have the potential to stall change efforts.

Essentially, prototyping is another way to get people involved in the change as opposed to being recipients of the change. Read the Complete Article

Project Management Controlling Phase

Project Management Controlling Phase
By Michele Berrie, Queensland University of Technology

Definition: ensuring that project objectives are met by monitoring and measuring progress regularly to identify variances from the plan so that corrective action can be taken.

Controls show that the project is producing the required results (that meet predefined quality criteria), is on schedule in meeting its targets using previously agreed resources and funding and remains viable against its business case. Controls balance benefits against costs and risks.

In conjunction with the execution phase, the project manager will be watching the progress of the project and ensuring that variances from the plan are identified and reported on and using a Project Change Request if required.

The project manager, the project team and the reference group will handle operational issues and minor variances. The steering committee will take action on major issues and deviations, which are strategic. The project manager should prepare the presentation of information for the steering committee to make informed assessments and decisions. Read the Complete Article

Project Management Process – Phase 3 – Implementing – Change Control

Project Management Process – Phase 3 – Implementing – Change Control (#19 in the Hut Project Management Process)
By John Filicetti

Description

Overall change control is concerned with:

  • Influencing the factors which create changes to ensure that changes are beneficial
  • Determining that a change has occurred
  • Managing the actual changes when and as they occur

Change control requires all approved changes should be reflected in the project plan as changes to the product scope, as changes to the project timeframe (also noted in the project schedule), or as changes to the resource plan. Change Control is the act of coordinating changes across all knowledge and control areas of project management. For example, a proposed schedule change will often affect cost, risk, quality, and staffing.

The Change Control system includes:

  • Monitoring performance to detect variances from plan
  • Ensuring that all appropriate changes are recorded accurately
  • Preventing incorrect, inappropriate, or unauthorized changes from occurring
  • Informing appropriate stakeholders of authorized changes.
Read the Complete Article

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