Something Came Up: Project Change Procedure



"Blessed are the flexible, for they will never be bent out of shape"

I hate project change. I have tried all my life to lay out details well enough that I didn't need to change the plan, and through repeated failures and frustrations I have reluctantly arrived at the conclusion that it isn't possible. There's just no way to take all variables into consideration when you begin the project, and attempting to do so simply means that you never begin the project at all.

So the next best thing is to build a project that is prepared to change. In many cases this change may be easy to implement -- simply add something to your list, or modify your goals. In other projects it's more difficult. But in any case, it will be necessary.

Quick-and-Easy Project Changes
For small projects, especially those with only one person involved, no formal change procedure is necessary. The only caveat is that -- as in the case of task lists -- write down the changes for any project that will take you more than one day. You don't want to have to go through this whole process tomorrow.

Formal Changes to your Project
In bigger projects, some sort of changes need to be made. The forms from my Franklin Covey project planning app recommends making a formal, documented change whenever:

  • The change is estimated to cost more than (whatever value you decide at the beginning)
  • The change moves the schedule by more than (whatever percentage you decide)
  • The change alters the original project vision statement.
This means that you can use quick-and-easy changes for most things: adding new tasks, including another feature, allowing or denying use of a resource. Simply make a note in the project records so that you remember the change.

For changes that are substantial enough to warrant a formal documentation, make sure that all the stakeholders are aware of the following:

  • What needs to be changed
  • Why it needs to be changed
  • How it will affect the project (cost, scheduling, resources needed, tasks to be done)
  • How it affects the project objectives
Then, just as in the case of the original objectives, get a signature from each stakeholder, so that everyone is in agreement on the new project details.



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