By definition change request is a procedure to edit the scope of a project.
Sounds simple but by experience its one of the most challenging tasks for a project manager. Change request could be due to a variety of reasons its not just because of the lack of clarity in scope or someone missing our a requirement in the scope document. It could be well due to market conditions, change in technology etc. A change request could have a deep impact on your project in terms of scope, time, cost etc and could lead it to a failure.
Following are the tips for managing the change requests which I have learnt over the years:-
1.) Impact analysis – Assuming you have already received the change request, assess the impact of the change/s. Assess how much fluctuation it will cause in schedule, cost, resource calendars. You also need to do a re-risk assessment as new requests always bring in new risks.
2.) Have a proper change request procedure. – Have a proper change request procedure, everything should be well documented and should be in writing. Follow the procedure mentioned in the project charter. Yes the project charter should have the change request procedure mentioned in it not the contract agreement.
3.) Reject the change – Based on the impact analysis reject the changes if its posing a threat to the project. Do not hesitate to reject it as a successful project is better than an over-budgeted and risky one. Rejecting could be a bad sign to client but you have to assure him that its not possible to make changes to project at this time. Explain the risks involved with changes and how the change requested could be added later as a new project.
4.) Authority to request for change – Make sure the person from whom you are receiving a change request has the authority to raise a change request. He should not be a stakeholder without authority to make such decisions. An e-mail from receptionist to change the layout of the financial management software is one such example.
Hope these tips help you manage change requests better and make your project a successful one.