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Change Management - Overview

Change Management - Overview

Change Management is one of the most important processes of managing projects. This article is dedicated to the best practice of managing change in Clarizen.

Practically all standards including PMBOK, ISO, CMM, ITIL, SOX dedicate much attention to the definition, flow and place of Change Management in the overall Project Management process.

The Change Management process is a process of managing requests for changes relating to the specific project or to the system, product or service as a whole. Managing change means:

  • Understanding why the change is needed? What is the justification for the change?
  • Understanding the meaning of the change
  • Understanding the implications of the change:
  • What is required for executing the change?
  • Will it take more time or more money?
  • Do we need to allocate human resources in a different manner?
  • Who needs to be involved to implement the change?

In other words- we need to analyze the change, its meaning and impacts, its attainability and its requirements (time, money, resources, etc). Only then can  we agree to move forward with the changes,  complete its planning, implement it and verify the implemented change.

Change can refer to any kind of change: scope change, configuration change, cost or budget change, even a change regarding a date of a schedule milestone as it currently appears in the project plan within Clarizen, or a change regarding the planned resources.

In our dynamic life changes are the norm, therefore managing change effectively is an essential skill for successful work management.

Changes, in many cases, are inevitable, and it is extremely important to have a system for tracking the change and risks and implementing the change.

Requests for change can be initiated internally or externally by the company’s customers, vendors, suppliers or any other external body that works and communicates with the company.

The Change can come in the form of a new Requirement or a Problem that needs to be solved.

Change Requests can be identified while project work is still being performed.  According to PMBOK® definitions, page 428 (A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, Fourth Edition) Change Requests is a request “to expand or reduce the project scope, modify policies, processes, plans, or procedures, modify project costs or budgets, or revise schedules”.

Change Requests can be identified and submitted independently of a specific project.

Generally, Change Requests can be defined as a call for adjusting or improving a product, service or a system.

Change management is a very important process because a Change can bring great benefit to the company but also can create huge problems, if not managed properly.

It is highly recommended that Change Request  undergo a formal, well-controlled process to “ensure that changes to a product or system are introduced in a controlled and coordinated manner” (Wikipedia  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Change_control ).

Change Management Process guarantee that all Change Requests will be

  • Clearly submitted with identification of its source and possible commitments to various stakeholders
  • All duplicate requests are identified to avoid redundant work and cost-effective utilization of resources
  • Evaluated by the relevant people, relating to all relevant aspects- technical, resource allocation, cost, time, risk and so on. Take into account that many of Change Requests have to undergo Risk Assessment
  • Dedicated people should be able to estimate resource and budget investments required for change request implementation and verification
  • In the case that Change Requests cause essential changes in the system, it is highly recommended to assess  the impact of the change on your product, service or system before approving a change

Note:

There is considerable overlap and confusion between concepts of change management, change control and configuration management. In different literature you can find very similar definitions for all three areas. This article does not cover the similarities and differences between these concepts.

Clarizen Answered

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