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What does it take to be on top of the game?
What is the constant in life, inevitable, bound to occur, but people always fight it? Well, you guessed it right. Change is a tough bone to chew and definitely an undesirable function in the equation of life. Yet, you can be sure that it will occur at some level, especially in project management. For instance, casinos had to revolve from what they were (remember old-style casinos in the hood?) Online casinos are the trend of the day. The big players now offer exclusive slots for real money to players, and that requires real-time management. These organizations had to embrace change.
Here comes the question, are you prepared for it?
Most businesses had not anticipated a global catastrophe that would alter the manner of conducting business in 2020. The majority had to adapt, while plenty of organizations had to close down, overtaken by the shifts.
Adjustments don’t only have to occur on such a big scale. Consider some of these scenarios that may necessitate change across the board:
- The government implements a new regulation affecting your day-to-day business operations
- A natural disaster such as an earthquake occurs or a hurricane affects your business
- The state revokes specific licenses for online casinos, hence a change of operations
- An acquisition occurs, meaning new top-level management who want a different approach to doing business
- A stakeholder funding the project approaches you and requests for diversity in certain areas
- An organized cyber pandemic fractures your business operations.
We could go on and list down all manners of possible events that would occur and affect a particular dimension of your business operation. That said, you need a plan if your project management skills are going to see you through the transition successfully.
That brings us to our topic of discussion, what is change control in project management?
Understanding Change Control in Project Management
As already said, it’s pretty hard to determine what event may occur leading to change. However, we should be adequately prepared for the alteration and develop a strategic plan as to how to go about it. As a project manager, there’s one thing you can’t afford to lose even when all hell breaks loose – that is CONTROL!
The change control plan in project management is a strategic blueprint that defines a process. It’s categorized under the change control process of project management. The change control plan defines how a specific event affects the project’s timeline, the cost, and dedicated budget, or the scope and deliverables of the baseline project. In other words, a change control plan outlines how specific change requests affect the different aspects of the triple constraints, including the quality of the product.
Once this has been clarified, it lays down a structure of approaching a new development, reviewing it, and monitoring it throughout the different faces. Sounds easy, right?
There’s nothing like a perfect plan, but there is something as a sound strategy
Wrong. A lot could go wrong in case of managing alterations. Flexibility is a much-needed component for project managers to walk through any change request effectively. Failure to control the process may place you at odds with the management, and we seriously don’t want that, do we?
The Aim and Purpose of Change Control
Any organization that aspires to success needs to have clear structures in place. Having a detailed change control plan listed under your project management methodologies is a considerable part. The change control plan is a fundamental part of the project’s management lifecycle that purposes to:
- Define the overall switch and illustrate how these alterations will affect the company and individual projects.
- Review and keep track of the metamorphosis for any discrepancies. The project manager is charged with investigating the loopholes or loosing ends that may arise due to untimely changes.
- Approve, reject, or defer change requests after thorough analysis by the change control board.
The Process of Change Control Using Succinct Project Management Techniques
Initially, you have your baseline project management plan intact before the event occurs. Most gaming websites follow through this change process to make additions for new games and slots. It works for them – it will work for you!
So what’s the next course of action to project management once something disrupts the plan?
Document the Change
Whoever is making a change request needs to construct a document indicating the modification and spell out the need for the change. The documentation needs to clarify who the transformation will affect, how, where, and when the project will be managed. Consider this documentation as a proposal sent to Congress to ratify or amend a bill. If the reasons are compelling enough, the change control board may be obliged to initiate and accept the request.
There should be structures detailing who can submit change requests and who can review and authorize them.
Assessment of the Impact
How will the desired differences affect the project’s time, scope, and budget constraints? What amendments need to be made to contain and properly manage the variations? Is the organization in a position to implement them at that time? Will the desired outcomes of the project be affected?
At this stage, the change control board reviews the proposed alteration and the impacts it would have. It’s imperative to involve everyone directly linked to the project so that all may have an understanding of the desired change and give their feedback. It provides and allows for clear communication, and no team member will feel side-tracked, whether through a physical meeting, a teleconference, or a video call.
The change control board will then give a final decision concerning the request. Therefore, there needs to be a transparent process to submit, evaluate, authorize, and manage change requests.
Once all the factors have been meticulously analyzed, a decision is made concerning the way forward. The change control board may either accept, reject, or defer a change request. If the change request is denied, that’s the end of the process.
Team work all the way through – that’s a must.
However, if the change request is accepted, the team now moves to project management certification. Before deciding on the project management tools to implement the request, the project manager should have created a change request form and fill a change request log that enables the team to monitor the process.
Implementing the Change
Whereas some do not consider the implementation under change control in project management, monitoring the reforms is a big part of the process. For example, if the state issues out orders to reduce the number of workers in a construction project management due to congestion, the time frame to complete the project may be affected. The team can develop real-time project management software that monitors the course of the project and the appropriate tweaks to be made.
Such a tool will allow for collaboration and enable everyone to participate. Document the changes and the impacts of the change for future historical records.
At the end of the day, it’s imperative for the change control plan in project management to focus on the baseline of the original project management aspirations. Do not lose focus on what you intended to accomplish initially, how, and when. Taking your teams through project management courses will enable them to have hands-on experience on how to deal with changes in the face of a project.
Thomas Glare started his career as a game tester and became a team manager. After that, he moved
on to project management and held various positions. For the past three years, Thomas has led teams
working on art assets for web development, with hundreds of employees in five different countries at
the peak of production.