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How to Control Change Requests

How to Control Change Requests
By Dave Nielsen

Changes are an important part of any project. There are 2 factors at work that guarantee the generation of change requests: changes that happen to the marketplace the project is aimed at and an unclear understanding of the goals and objectives of the project. The first factor is immutable, we can’t stop the world outside our door changing whether we like it or not. Successful projects are agile enough to respond to those stimuli and re-invent themselves so that when the product or service of the project hits the marketplace it’s the right thing delivered at the right time.

Change requests that are a result of a stakeholder’s unclear understanding of the goals and objectives of the project are easier to avoid. Clear communications about the project’s overall goals and objectives will place the project on a firm footing. Ensuring that the right stakeholders review project requirements and that the right decision makers approve them is also helpful in avoiding change requests that arise from an unclear understanding of project goals, objectives, and requirements. Read the Complete Article

Making Change Control Easy

Making Change Control Easy
By Andrea Brockmeier

If you struggle with a lack of sustained discipline in your project change control practice, one opportunity may be to clarify the distinction between controlling performance and managing change.

As we move through a project, two types of triggers prompt us to reach for that change management plan and tap into our change control process. To effectively respond, we need to be clear as to what type of change are we responding to and what it is we are trying to control.

Why Control Performance?

On the one hand, change control is required as a result of performance variation. In this case, we may discover that our project is not progressing as planned, so we make changes to the schedule, resource allocation, or some other variable. That is, change control is needed in response to how the project or team is performing. Here we are controlling project performance due to variations from plan. Read the Complete Article

Analyzing Scope Creep

Analyzing Scope Creep
By Torey Diggs

I am currently involved in a project that is at the beginning stages of scope creep. At the current school I work at, our leadership team consists of teacher leaders and administrators. Our teacher leaders three summers ago started creating a collaborative team manual to help drive the mission of our school, which is to increase student achievement by working in collaborative teams. For the most part the administrators are not involved in the process except by only providing a framework of what they would like us to work during the summer months. The project was supposed to be a three stage project that would be fully implemented in three years.

In the first year, the goal of the project was to create the language for the manual and start setting guidelines on how to accomplish the mission and goals of our school. During the second year of work on the manual, the project goal was to hone in on the Response to intervention (RTI) section of our manual and revise the manual to provide more detailed insight on how our teams are to work together using RTI to achieve our school mission. Read the Complete Article

Four Axioms for Controlling Change

Four Axioms for Controlling Change
By Samuel T. Brown, III, PMP, Global Knowledge Course Director and Instructor

Change is a constant in life and certainly a constant challenge in project management.

Our customers don’t know what they don’t know, and so they routinely ask for something more or different. Our teams are comprised of talented, creative people who often recognize opportunities for improvement of either the project’s deliverables or the processes agreed to for producing those deliverables.

The problem is that the team is so intimately involved with the work of the project that they often make changes without recognizing that they have done so.

Of course, there are also the changes that are driven by evolving business objectives, new constraints from regulations, the marketplace, etc. With change impacting the project from all of these sources, both on a requested and on a discovered basis, how can a project manager possibly expect to control anything? Read the Complete Article

Project Management Foundations – Managing Change

Project Management Foundations – Managing Change
By Steve Hart

In my experience as a project manager, I have found one of the most critical best practice areas during the project execution phase to be the ability to effectively manage change. Change is an inevitable component of managing a project – nothing works out exactly as planned. The project manager effectively manages change by maintaining the appropriate balance between control and discipline to manage to the baseline plan, and flexibility to adapt the plans to meet customer expectations. Nobody wants to be “that” project manager that leads a project that delivers on-time and under budget, but still has an unhappy customer. Below I describe in more detail the following aspects of managing change:

  • What defines a change in the context of your project
  • What are the sources of change
  • What are the early warning signs of change
  • Establishing a process to manage change
  • Measuring the cumulative impact of change

What Defines Change

By the end of the planning phase, the project baseline is established and approved by the project sponsor and project core team. Read the Complete Article

Scope Creep of a Different Kind

Scope Creep of a Different Kind
By Literal Thinking

Scope creep is often the bane of every project manager’s existence. High on project managers’ hate lists are the project sponsors, business process owners, and end users who seem to think that there is no time limit to the introduction of new requirements. This, while at the same time querying why the project takes so long to finish and costs so much to complete.

However, there are some project managers who not only tolerate, but sometimes even spearhead and encourage, scope creep. This typically happens when a project manager also wears the account management or business development hat. So while their project management side may want to complete the project on time, scope, and budget; their account management or business development side aims for more revenue and continuous work.

Take the case of Simon, who was enterprise applications manager of a large multinational firm. Read the Complete Article

How Should the Project Manager Deal with Scope Creep?

How Should the Project Manager Deal with Scope Creep?
By Kuntal Thakore

Every project has (or should have) a set of deliverables, an assigned budget, and an expected closure time. There are agreed upon requirements and tasks to complete prior to the closure of project. These constitute the scope of the project. Any amount of variation in the scope of project can affect the schedule, budget and in turn the success of project.

Scoping is the separation between what is included in and what is excluded from project. Scope creep occurs when the line is moved – usually outwards. Thus what was excluded is now included, making a project in most cases larger.

According to the PMBOK Version 4, scope creep is defined as adding features and functionality (project scope) without addressing the effects on time, costs, and resources, or without customer approval. This phenomenon can occur when the scope of a project is not properly defined, documented, or controlled. Read the Complete Article

The Scope of Change

The Scope of Change
By Lynda Bourne

This article is going to try and link project and program management with change management and benefits realization.

As a start, the only point of undertaking a project or program is to realize some form of value. Benefit realization! To realize value, three elements need to be brought together:

  • There needs to be a new product or process created (an artifact);
  • People within the organization need to make effective use of the artifact to deliver a service;
  • The service as delivered needs to be accepted and used in the ‘market’.

The role of Strategic management and Portfolio management is to determine what services are likely to be accepted or needed by the market; a new shopping centre, an improved insurance package or simply a more efficient process to deliver information. These decisions will depend on the objectives of the organization, and is not the province of this blog. Read the Complete Article

Managing Project Scope

Managing Project Scope (#30 in the Hut Introduction to Project Management)
By JISC infoNet

In any project there are likely to be changes to the original plan during the course of the project. The changes may arise due to:

  • The business case altering
  • The need to find a way round a problem
  • Identifying a better way to meet your objectives
  • The scope of the project altering
  • Somebody thinking the change is a good idea

A Change Control mechanism is necessary to ensure that such changes are handled in a managed and controlled way in order to keep the project on track. Without formal procedures in place the project runs the risk of ‘Scope Creep’.

Scope creep is an ever present risk in most projects. It is a particular issue in software development projects where it is always tempting to add a few extra changes as benefits become clear during the progress of the project. Read the Complete Article

How to Control Changes to The Project

How to Control Changes to The Project (#5 in the series How to Control a Project)
By Michael D. Taylor

Changes to the project management plan are inevitable. Rarely does a project manager finish a project with the same project management plan established at the Final Planning Review. If a project manager does not have a formal process for reviewing, evaluating, and approving any such changes the resulting impact will be uncontrolled scope creep.

Why Control Changes?

Uncontrolled changes will create confusion, and confusion will erode commitment to the project. Product quality, overall morale and general loss of interest will most likely take place when a project manager cannot control changes to the project management plan. The project manager’s upward spiral in career advancement may also be dampened when key stakeholders see ineptness in managing project changes. If changes are not managed properly the project manager will experience unacceptable schedule slips, significant cost overruns, and reduced product quality. Read the Complete Article

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