Saturday, March 8, 2008

What is a Schedule Change Control System?

Changes to the baseline schedule represent significant changes and require more than a simple "yes" or "no" approval process. A schedule change control system is a collection of formal, documented procedures defining the steps involved when contemplating a schedule baseline change.

A schedule change control system:
  • defines schedule change procedures
  • is a decision-making guide for the project management team
  • enables your company to assess project changes
  • helps your company track project changes.
Schedule change control systems are facilitated by a change control board (CCB) that is responsible for the approval or rejection of change requests. Senior management takes on this decision-making role, in the absence of a CCB.

The schedule change control system itself is a 5-step process.
Step 1: Initiate the change request. - The change request may be initiated either internally or externally. It may take the form of a written or oral request. The change request may be legally mandated or discretionary.

Step 2: Record specifics of project changes. - The recording phase requires the specifics of the change request to be recorded, preferably in a change request log where they can be easily managed. Enough detail must be recorded so that anyone related to the project can understand it.

Step 3: Conduct an assessment. - At the assessment stage, someone is identified as the change request "owner," and must conduct an assessment. Assessment consists of estimating the work involved in implementing the change and quantifying the impact on the remainder of the project as well as on the project's objectives.

Step 4: Recommend a course of action. - A recommendation to accept, reject or modify the change request, is based on the information provided via the assessment. Recommendations should be based on an objective time/cost/benefit analysis.

Step 5: Make a decision. - Recommendations are presented to management for decisions. If the change request is rejected, it is closed and documentation is filed. If accepted, the project budget, schedule, and scope must be adjusted to incorporate the approved change.
Each time a new change request is received, this system is activated.
In addition to this 5-step procedure, the schedule change control system must also include a procedure for making emergency changes automatically. When emergency situations arise, changes may need to be approved without prior review. However, automatically approved changes must be monitored and recorded so they do not cause problems later in the project.

Adhering to the schedule change control procedures will help you decide whether or not a schedule baseline adjustment is required. These sets will also ensure that all change requests are properly managed.

To decide whether or not to make changes to the schedule baseline, project managers must understand the impact the proposed change will have on the entire project. A schedule change control system provides a mechanism for evaluating the need and impact of the change. The system also ensures that a recommendation to accept, reject, or modify the change request is based on objective time/cost/benefit analysis.

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