Project change control process
Project change control process
What is the project change control process?
The project change control process is a set of procedures to control changes that might happen on a project. The emphasis is on control. It is not about stopping change. It is about keeping the project ‘on the right track’ in spite of change. It is about having processes and procedures in place that keep the right balance between rigid adherence to the baseline plan and having the flexibility to respond to needed change.
A proposed change to a project might eventuate:
- as a direct request
- through circumstance (e.g. a key resource becoming unavailable)
- on the job (e.g. identified in the course of delivering the project).
A potential change to a project may impact on its management in many ways:
- It may change the scope.
- It may increase the cost of the project, or the time it will take to complete.
- It may introduce new risks that need to be considered.
- It may mean that additional resources or skills need to be acquired.
- It may impact on quality aspects of the project.
- It may influence stakeholder expectations.
- Conversely, it may also reduce the cost, shorten the schedule and reduce the need for particular resource.
A project control process is a component of good project management. It is a set of procedures designed to control how changes are considered and possibly approved—not, as indicated above, to prevent them being considered.
Communication is a key factor in the project change control process. All affected parties need to know what is happening, what their role and responsibilities are in relation to it, and what are the implications of an approved change.
Creating a project change control process
Even the best-planned projects can be subject to change: new technological developments, changed government policy, the revelation of unforeseen risks and adjusted client requirements are some factors. An effective project change control process allows needed change to happen without jeopardising the overall success of a project.
How the project change control process operates
A project control process sets delegation limits and guidelines for decision making. It may include forms and templates to be completed. It also outlines the sequential procedures to be followed in respect to project change, which are typically to:
- identify the proposed change
- assess its potential impact on a project— on factors such as scope, cost, quality, risk and schedules. The extent of rigour applied to this assessment will depend on the nature of the project itself and key stakeholders.
- approve or reject it. Approving it may be beyond the delegation of the Project Manager. If so, it may be referred to the project sponsor or the project Steering Committee, with recommendations based on the assessment.
- advise the party who requested the change of the outcome, with reasons
- implement the change, if approved, and adjust planning documents to reflect its impact
- follow up to check that implementation has occurred and been done properly.
It is important that the project change control process is managed expeditiously so that it, in itself, does not become a delay factor in the delivery of the project.
This website provides further information on the project change control process.