Why is the Change Control Process Important to Project Managers?

Changes In Projects Are Inevitable: Controlling Change

change control

Why is the change control process important to project managers? Changes can upset schedules, costs, and resource allocation. Changes in a project can happen due to both external and internal factors that impinge on a project. Some changes are brought about by the marketplace and may affect the outcome of the final product. This may occur due to technological advances, a competitor’s market strategies or other elements that can cause changes to be made to a project.

These are changes that cannot be foreseen or stalled and the astute project manager must be able to respond to the changes and modify them as he or she executes the project. Project managers need to be constantly aware of the latest developments in technology and the market. This foreknowledge is often useful in Agile Management, which can avert major changes.

Quite often, the changes are requested by the owners of the project because they don't fully understand the goals or objectives of the project being executed. This requires the project manager to have a clear communication system with the stakeholders and ensure that the final target and achievement are fully understood as well as any changes they required brought about by making the right decisions. Project managers must strive to make speedy assessments of changes and inform stakeholders how the change could affect the product or service outcome.

The change control in projects is a formal process that ensures that all changes made to a project are brought about in a controlled and coordinated way that reduces any disruption to ongoing project activity and remains cost effective without placing a large requirement on generally scarce resources.

Image Source: Wikimedia

Implementing the Change Control Process

014 by Leila Fa

This change control process should be completed in gradual steps in order for the change to reach acceptance and final stages.

The first step in change management is to record and classify the required change with regard to its importance and how likely each element will impact the project including complex factors that need to be part of the change.

The project manager should assess the change and make a risk analysis and risk treatment plan to study the impact of the change on the project and its environs as well as the entire process. Managers then inform all stakeholders and team members affected by the change so they understand the required modifications needed. Team and stakeholder meetings are required to help everyone adapt to the change and deal with change resistance.

Managers and team facilitators can plan the modifications of the change while guiding teams through specific requirements needed for the change.

All major changes should be executed and tested before they are finally implemented. Throughout the testing phase, everyone concerned should review the change, the cost of making the change, and the time required for its implementation.

Once these reviews are made and the change finally accepted, the change control process can then be closed. The question why is change control process important to project managers can be answered easily once a project manager understands the effect changes can have on the project.