By: Megan Huffman
Photo by Skylar Kang
On almost any project, there will inevitably be a request to change some aspect of the scope or deliverables. According to Brett Harned, the Director of Education at TeamGantt who has over 20 years of experience in communication and project management, agrees that this can be a frustrating part of project management but with the proper tools a project manager can feel empowered "to overcome the obstacle of changing objectives." To keep track of changes throughout a project lifecycle, formal documentation is needed.
Project changes often arise when clients want to implement new additions or modifications that are outside the originally agreed-upon scope or deliverables. These changes can range from including additional features, customizations, extensions, and budget changes to a simple change like updating a single requirement. To ensure that all teams involved are in agreement and are fully informed, detailed documentation is necessary to submit and track a change.
A change order request is a formal proposal for an adjustment to some product or system in the project.
Change control/management is an important part of the project management workflow and "refers to the process used to identify, document, and remediate change in a project." As the project manager, it is necessary to document all changes and apply the proper next steps and sign-offs for a successful project.
The first step in the change management process requires that the project manager inspects the change request to ensure necessity and overall impact. It is important to consider the following:
What is the change and why is it being requested?
How does the change relate to the original project scope, budget, and/or timeline?
What challenges will the change present?
After considering these questions with the team, it is time to update the project schedule. Making sure all changes are documented within the project schedule helps to manage the successful completion of all requests while making sure that everyone involved has visibility into these changes. Adding changes and updates to the next project status report is an easy yet effective way to keep all team members and stakeholders up-to-date on any changes or requests.
When incorporating a change request for a project, it is important to fully document - in detail - all requirements of the change, the reasons for the change, the project impacts of the change, associated costs if necessary, and any action items and follow up tasks. Documentation and communication are key for successful project management and a change management process "ultimately helps ensure that change requests are communicated and understood by all affected parties," according to Jeremy McAbee, an author at Wrike.
Utilizing a tailored project change order request template with your project management process ensures that your project is designed for success. Download our free Project Change Order Request template below:
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