Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Requesting Changes to the Project Schedule

Change requests are another input to schedule control. Change requests are the initial step in making schedule changes. They provide a means for management to review and adjust the schedule and to authenticate and record schedule changes.

Project requirements can change mid-stream. Some of the determinants of change are: competition, customer reaction, technological advancements, and supplier-related conditions.

Changes to project schedules may require extending or accelerating the project schedule. Once the need for change is determined, a company must examine realistic alternatives. Comparing the costs of approving the change with the benefits is essential.

Change request forms are recommended when projects require specific changes. Just as there are reasons for initiating change requests, there are also different forms of change requests to consider—oral or written; direct or indirect; external or internal; legally mandated or optional.

Oral requests - include the rationale for making the changes and the benefits of implementing the changes. Oral requests should be followed by written documentation.
Written requests - describe the suggested change, list affected drawings and documents, and include the reason for the intended change.
  • Indirect change requests - can originate at any level of the organization and eventually work their way up the ladder to the project manager.
  • Direct change requests - go directly from the team lead or supervisor to the project manager.
  • External requests - originate from sources outside the company.
  • Internal change requests are made within the company, often within the project team.
  • Legally mandated change requests - are the result of new legislation or government mandate.
  • Optional change requests - have not been imposed by anyone inside or outside the company.
There are numerous potential reasons for issuing a change request and several different request formats. Understanding the reasons for change and the options for making a request is an important part of managing and controlling project schedules.

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