It is said change is the only constant in the world! So we can understand why change management in project management is important. All projects be it simple or complex ones face changes along the way, and it is project manager’s job to manage those changes well, so that the project is not disturbed in any way. In this post, we’ll focus on this particular aspect of the project.
We have already looked into controlling a project in the previous post. And that is also relevant to the change management. However, here our focus will only be the change itself and how to manage it. What types of changes can happen. What methods we can use to manage those changes. What tools can be used. What issues we can face during change management in project management work.
Table of Contents
Why Change Management in Project Management?
Like we said, change is an integral part of a project. We can’t run a project and not expect any change throughout the life cycle of the project. So when the change is evident then we also need to see how we can manage that change. Change is not of only one type; there can be different types of changes in different areas of the project. For example, the scope of the project can change, the sponsor may change the requirements, the resource availability can change, or the risk factors can also have some impact on the change. While working on a project, the project manager must consider all those areas and then plan and manage the changes well.
What is Project Change?
A project change is a change in any of the key success factors of a project including scope, schedule, costs, quality, risk, and success criteria. If these factors observe a change in the original specification then the project manager has to manage the change for the success of the project. Change management in project management is not something special or unique. Change happens in every area of the business. In fact, this is the change in the first place which made us do the project to create a completely new output or product etc. It’s just that the change management in project management has key attributes and tools and techniques which are important to consider.
Configuration vs Change Management
Some people confuse configuration management with change management. Though both are related, but they are not the same. The first one manages the configurable items, while the second one manages any changes to those items. Configuration management happens before anything can be changed, and changes happen along the way as the project moves.
Issues Faced without Change Management
- Not following the baselines
- No information about who made the change
- No information about who approved it
- Missing or untracked information and files
- No one is accountable for any future issues
How to Manage Changes?
- Identity and track all the work items
- Define change management process
- Keep everything centrally documented
- Define change approval process
- Establish naming and versioning schemes
- Establish a change control board
Configuration Management Plan
Configuration Management Plan is part of the project plan, and created during the planning process. It contains work items to be managed, central repository location, conventions used, change process and reporting methods, and the tools to be used for change management. This helps in managing the change along the way.
Benefits of Change Management
- Avoid scope creep
- Meet customer expectations
- Increase chances of project success
- Avoids waste of time to find information
- Tracks ownership & responsibility of change
- Reduces risks to the project
Tools for Change Management
A variety of tools can be used for change management in project management and execution.
- Use configuration management plan
- Follow change management process
- Engage Change Control Board
- Create Flowcharts
- Do Stakeholder analysis
- Build Gantt Chart
The change management in project management is important but not unique. Any area of the business can face changes which needs the management to rethink the things. These changes in the business environment, in government policies, in socioeconomic situation, political situation and many other areas make us initiate a project in the first place. So change is not bad, it just need to be managed well in a project.