Mid-project changes can throw off your entire plan, from budgets to resource allocations—but sometimes changes are necessary and appropriate. How your project management consulting team manages, evaluates, approves (or declines), and integrates changes may make the difference between project success and failure.
1. Have a standard, workable change process. It’s important to evaluate change requests against a uniform set of criteria. This will also help to deter requests that are unlikely to meet a formal sniff test. Your process should include the oversight of expected budget impacts, and a communication plan to ensure the project management team is aware of approved project changes.
2. Look for small changes that should be combined. If your team is receiving multiple small change requests, there’s a chance you’ll find a larger issue as the cause. Instead of addressing each change request as a separate entity, consider if a single large-scale modification to the project would be more effective.
3. Determine if changes are part of your project. Is this something that needs to change while the project is active, or is it an issue that’s better managed once your project is done? It’s not uncommon for projects to cause folks to reassess related processes, and you must be diligent in culling issues that aren’t part of your project.
4. Know your vendors. If a provider has submitted extensive change requests on past projects, consider if they underbid the project initially or if the changes were outside their control. Reliable vendors will understand and embrace their role in managing change requests.
5. Evaluate your planning process. Changes are inevitable, but it’s worth your time to carefully evaluate your planning process after each project. Were changes a result of ineffective or incomplete planning? Are there issues that should be considered more fully next time? Refine your planning process continuously.
PMAlliance uses a team of highly experienced and certified professionals to provide project management consulting, project management training and project office development services.