During CAPM exam preparation one of the challenges we face is to memorize 47 project management processes and knowing their relationships. Initially, I used to believe that processes in one knowledge areas talks only to processes within the same knowledge area but in reality each of the process may take input or output to any of the process residing in different area.
Let’s take example of ‘change request’ As stated above, each of the process is tied up with other processes so we can identify distinct path based on one of the major input or output. The ‘change request’ is also related with certain number of processes so we can visualize a path which belongs to it. Consequently, I visualize below ‘change request cycle’. So if you understand it you will get a good hold of all topics related with ‘change request’.
As per PMBOK version 5 the change request could be the output of almost of all Executing processes except two - 9.2 Acquire Project Team & 9.3 Develop Project Team , all Monitoring and Controlling and only one Planning process process – 12.1 Plan Procurement Management.
‘Perform Integrated Change Control’ process is triggered when the change request is generated from its source processes. All changes, no matter how small, should go through change control (4.5 Perform Integrated Change Control). Project change management is controlled by Change Control Board (CRB) which is authorized to assess the change and approve it or not.
On contrary, if project team member accepts any change without using change control it could adversely affect scope, schedule or cost. The by passing of ‘Perform Integrated Change Control’ process and implementing the change without analyzing its impact on project (cost and schedule) is called ‘Scope Creep’.
I recently attended a seminar by Mark Langley (CEO PMI) in Dubai where he stresses on ‘change management effectiveness’. According to his statistics it is one of the key area to have high performance projects (by the way the second is ‘active sponsor’). So the question is, how can the change request be effectively managed? And the answer is provided by 7 principles of ‘Perform Integrated Change Control process:
Develop method to identify changes Project manager may request daily email status update to address any issue of the day from the team. Weekly phone call from the customer or main stakeholder to find out any change that could affect the project. Project manager should keep himself up to date from any environmental, technical or legal changes that may affect the project.
Address and manage changes quickly Project manager should be able to understand the effect of delay in implementing urgent changes. So there must be a procedure to fast track the approval of change requests when its urgent.
Evaluate impact of changes Project manager should track and document the impact of all changes in an issue log or change control log. This practice enhance own change control skill and also develop lesson learned for other similar projects.
Review, assess and decision on change request Change control board (CRB) evaluates the change request based on who initiated it and what type of change is asked for. The impact of change on scope, schedule, cost and quality is also determined. After analyzing change request the decision is made whether the change should go ahead?
Implement approved changes Once the change request is approved by change review board (CRB) and sponsor (sponsor may or may not be part of CRB) only then it should be implemented. The ‘Approved Change Requst’ is one of the output of the ‘Perform Integrated Change Control’ process. The approved change request is implemented by ‘Direct and Manage Project Work’ process which belongs to Executing process group. Once the approved change is implemented it is verified in ‘Control Quality’ process. In the case where change request is originated from procurement management knowledge area then after change implementation the verification of it is done by ‘Control Procurement’ process.
Does change request implementation adjust project baselines? It is important to know that not every approved change request implementation calls the need to update performance measurement baselines (schedule, cost and time). The effect of approved change request implementation can be visualized as:
Coordinate approved changes As discussed above in point 5 that the change request is implemented by ‘Direct and Manage Project Work’ process which belongs to ‘Project Integration Management’ knowledge area. This means that the change implementation is integrated across the project. Changes in one area might require update in other areas. For example update to the product scope baseline usually result in changes to budget and schedule baselines. So you need to assess the impact of a particular change right across the project.