How to Handle Change Request Effectively While Managing a Project?

An important aspect of the project manager’s job is to manage and control changes in order to minimize any negative impact on the successful accomplishment of the project objective. The one thing that you can be sure will happen during and after the development of the project is change.



Some changes are trivial, but others may significantly affect the project work scope, budget, or schedule. The impact of change may affect the project objective and it may get affected during the project. The aspects most likely to be affected are project budget and the completion date. Despite the best-laid plans changes may still occur.
Changes may be

1. Initiated by the customer.
2. Initiated by the project team.
3. Caused by unanticipated occurrences during the performance of the project.
4. Required by the users project results.

Whenever a customer requests changes, the project manager should have the appropriate project team members to handle the issue and estimate the effects on the project cost and schedule. The project manager should present the changes to the customer and he has to get the approval before getting into the project changes.

The project manager needs to be sure that the team members won’t casually agree upon the changes to be made in the project, they may require additional person-hours to complete their new tasks and the risk of overrunning costs for the additional person-hours. The project manager needs to make it clear to the project team that team members should not make any changes to their work that will increase the cost beyond budgeted amount, delay the schedule, or the produce results will not fulfill the customers expectations.

Discussions or meetings provide a good opportunity for people to express their concerns, fears, and anxieties. The users need to be involved in planning how to implement new a system. The project manager needs to be patient: only when the new system becomes fully utilized and the expected benefits will be achieved.

At the start of the project, procedures need to be established regarding how the changes will be documented and authorized. These procedures must cover the communication between the project manager and the customer and between the project manager and the project team.

If the changes are agreed upon orally rather than writing and there is no indication of the impact the changes will have on the work scope of the project, cost, or schedule can be greater than expected and schedules run later than normal completion date. Some changes may be necessary as a result of unanticipated occurrences such as resignation of a team member; these will have an impact on the project schedule. In some case even the project may get terminated. Perhaps the most difficult type of change to manage is that required of the users of the project results.

In some situations, the project manager is responsible not for managing the project to develop anew or improved system but also for implementing the resultant system among its users, who will have to change the way they perform their work.
There are some things a project manager can do to facilitate implementation of such a change. Open communication and a developing a trust among the client side, reducing the resistance to the change, and gaining commitment to the change.

During meetings to discuss the impending, the project manager should not get into debates or to be defensive. It is important to gain the confidence of the users about the changes to be made. The project manager needs to share information about the change with his team members. The project manager has to manage and control changes so that the project doesn’t get out of control. After the successful implementation of new changes in the project it should be monitored regularly, so that project team will have an opportunity how well the system and how the clients are benefited from the new system. It also gives them opportunity whether the change made is really useful one or not and does that change work efficiently.


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