How-to Guide: Change in Project Management

By Cora Systems

Change is expected (things in life don’t always work out the way we planned). In project management change is expected and sometimes is the norm. Merely stating that something must change isn’t important; it’s the way in which you manage it. Change in project management is not something that should be approached with caution and worry; it is a task that will help ensure that the project delivers exactly what it set out to do. However the management of this change doesn’t always run smoothly, from employee resistance to practice driven issues. Therefore having a process in place to deal with this change would be advisable.

Managing change effectively has been noted as being one of the most critical best practice areas during the execution of a project. Change needs to be effectively managed on both the technical side and on the people side. Technically the change must be established, planned and delivered effectively. On the people side of the spectrum, employees are going to be affected by this change and therefore a process that ensures the change is embraced, adopted and utilized by them needs to be established. Ultimately project managers will have to establish a process and manage the change. They will also have to foot any consequences that fall when change isn’t managed properly.

Change can creep its way in through the cracks of a project; but there are some early warning signs to look out for. It is important to monitor your project to help identify the need for change early on. It has been known that the further you are in a project the more impact change can have on the cost and schedule. Some early warning signs could include schedule slippages, inconsistency trends to the cost/ schedules/ risks of a projects and an increase to the number of risks and issues. Bearing these possible early warning signs in mind, you can begin to put a plan in place if necessary.

Like any project, change should be managed through a number of steps. This will ultimately prevent the changes from having a negative effect on a project such as taking a project off track. Controlling change with your procedure/ process will help keep the project moving in the right direction towards a successful project delivery.

An example of a possible change process would be the following:

  • Identify: The project manager (PM) will identify or be made aware of the possibility of change. From here the PM must determine whether this change should be implemented. Having clear communication channels between the relevant parties will allow you to identify the need for change in time reducing the effect that it has on the overall project including budget and time.
  • Assess: Now that the change has been identified you need to access the impact that it will ultimately have on the overall project. Meetings between the relevant people should be organized. It may look like the change will throw the entire project out of scope and all the work done to that point is pushed to the side-line. Don’t jump the gun the change may not cause the implications you first originally thought of may not form.
  • Approval: Once all details regarding the impact, if any, is documented and reviewed by the appropriate people the change can be either approved or rejected.
  • Implement: If you decide to go with the change then they need to be reflected in the project scope, budget and timeline. When implementing a project change you will ultimately be establishing a new baseline for the project.
  • Review: Review all actions to ensure that the plan was fully implemented and that no issues arose from the change.

Change should be something that organizations accept and work with rather than avoid. Change is made in order to deliver a more positive outcome to a project and ultimately the organization. Once you have the focus and a researched process in place the project manager should rest assured that the change will be properly assessed, approved and implemented.

Established in 1999, with over 12 years of experience in Project Management Software, Cora Systems have developed a highly functional, web-based system. Our skills and knowledge have enabled us to become a world leader in Project, Portfolio and Performance Management Software. We value our extensive client base and provide a comprehensive range of services to ensure our customers gains the full value and benefits from using ProjectVision.

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