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Your Inventory Method: Does Yours Need Updating?

written by: Jean Scheid • edited by: Michele McDonough • updated: 4/30/2013

It’s possible most project mangers don’t even think in terms of inventory when working on projects. Inventory can be more than parts, nuts, and bolts. What is inventory in project management, and should you change your inventory method? Jean Scheid takes a look.

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    The PM Definition of Inventory

    Can We Change by CapeCard We all know that a project you are assigned to manage can be just about anything as long as it has an outcome, successful or not. Implementing good change management practices into your projects allow you a better chance to succeed.

    Inventory in project management can be your teams, elements in repetitive projects, similar projects for various clients, IT systems, and even outside resources you depend upon in order to meet project deadlines. How well you manage that inventory, or better yet, how well you utilize good change management skills to control that inventory can go a long way in achieving good project outcomes.

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    When Changes Become Necessary

    All resources should be examined at project initiation to determine good change control if something goes wrong. Let’s look at some examples:

    Project Teams – How often have you completed a project and said to yourself, “Could we have done better?” Most of the time if the project has had a satisfactory outcome, you might dismiss any team problems initially. By using good change control at project inception, you can determine from past problems what may fail within the team environment and have a good backup plan.

    Elements In Repetitive Projects – If your widget is your gold mine and you continually produce the same widget, is it always good or just acceptable? Could you use something different in the design of the widget? By analyzing the elements in repetitive projects you may be surprised at what could be changed or what you can identify as failure before the project begins.

    Similar Projects With Various Clients – Your firm may focus on similar projects but produced for different clients. Do you need to adapt similar projects per clients' desires? If so, change control management up front will prevent too-similar project designs.

    IT Systems – Do you account for your IT needs in every project? Or, do you assume you have what you need because the system has always worked fine in the past? Every step of your IT process should be part of your project planning. You've got to know what will be done if a bump in the road results in changing or modifying your IT system.

    Outside Resources – If you utilize vendors or other professional outside resources to help you complete your projects, do they always deliver? If not, revisiting your outside resources or making backup plans if they can’t deliver should be part of your change control plan.

    These are the way for managing inventory in change management, and your decision to change inventory methods should be part of every project planning stage to produce successful outcomes.

    If you need some brushing up when it comes to change management, change control plans, and how to implement them, there are some great articles to help you right here on Bright Hub PM:

    Create and Use a Plan for Change Management

    How to Define a Change Control Process

    How to Develop Scope and Change Control In Your Projects