Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Processing Project Change Requests

Imagine that your project has just encountered a risk. You have implemented a workaround to control the risk, but the cost of the workaround will affect the project budget. What should you do to ensure that this change is incorporated into the project plan?

When the members of the project team determine that changes must be made to compensate for controlling risks, they issue a project change request. Project change requests are used to recommend changes in project scope, budget, schedule, or quality. There are various types of change requests including oral or written, direct or indirect, externally or internally initiated, and legally mandated or optional.

Regardless of the type of project change being requested, either the person requesting the change or a project team member will have to fill out a project change request form. The form should include the project name, client name, who requested the change, a description of the requested change, the reason for the change, the impact of the change, and whether it is accepted or rejected.

Project change requests are processed using integrated change control. Integrated change control is concerned with maintaining the project scope and the project's integrated performance baseline. Its ultimate goal is to accept or reject project change requests.

Integrated change control is achieved in a series of five steps.
  • Step 1: Submit the change request.
    The process is initiated by the submission of a project change request. The person requesting the change, or a project team member, should fill out the project change request form.

  • Step 2: Record the request in the project change request log.
    Once the project manager receives the change request, he records it in the project change request log. This log keeps track of change request submissions and the status of those requests.

  • Step 3: Assess the impact of the proposed change.
    One or more of the project team members must assess the impact that the proposed change will have on the project as a whole. Project changes may affect many project areas, such as the scope, budget, schedule, quality, and objectives.

  • Step 4: Make recommendations whether to accept, reject, or modify the request.
    The people who were in charge of the assessment will make recommendations about whether to accept, reject, or modify the change request. They will base these recommendations on the validity of the request and its impact on the project.

  • Step 5: Decide whether to accept or reject the request.
    The project authority will use the recommendations to decide whether to accept or reject the project change request. Rejected requests will be closed and filed. Accepted requests will be incorporated into the project plan.
Project change requests are processed through the integrated change control process. This process leads your company to make informed decisions on whether or not change requests should be incorporated into the project plan.

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