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Project change management is a formal documented process for changing the project baseline. It often includes changes to the project boundaries.
When to use
The change process should be implemented in the following conditions:
- Whenever there is a change to the project goals, objectives, or definition of deliverables
- Whenever there is a change to the project boundary conditions including schedule and resource boundaries
- Whenever there is a change to major project milestones and reporting points.
- On projects managed with an adaptive project management methodology due to uncertainty. I plan for a project change at each stage-gate decision point.
For project change control to have any meaning; there must first be a project baseline. Baselines apply to three aspects of projects:
- There can be a baseline of the project initiation boundary conditions. This baseline is normally embodied in the Project Charter.
- There can be a baseline for the project plan. This baseline should include planning elements for all three sides of the project management triangle – scope, schedule, and resources. This baseline can be a high level plan or a very detailed plan.
- There can be a baseline for project deliverables that are subject to change during the lifecycle of the project. These are usually documents such as drawings and specifications, contracts, and procedures.
The original baseline is approved by those with authority to do so. This could be senior management, other stakeholders, project team members, or organizations whose responsibility is to manage baselines. This is usually dictated by organizational procedures
When a change to a project baseline is requested, normally the project team assesses the impact of the change on the project plan and project benefits. The change is presented to the appropriate approval authorities. If the change is approved, the project documents and baselines are revised and the revised documents and baselines are distributed. If the change is rejects, the requestor should be notified.
A major challenge with change management on projects is to keep everyone informed of the change and to update all appropriate documentation and communication. On large complex projects, this is a major integration challenge and I have seen projects assign a full-time team member role to managing the coordination and implementation of change.
Change: “A modification to any formally controlled deliverable, project management plan component or project document.” PMBOK® Guide
Change Control: “A process whereby modifications to documents, deliverables, or baselines associated with the project are identified, documented, approved or rejected.” PMBOK® Guide
Configuration Management System: “A collection of procedures used to track project artifacts and monitor and control changes to those artifacts.” PMBOK® Guide
These definitions are taken from the Glossary of the Project Management Institute, A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, (PMBOK® Guide) – Sixth Edition, Project Management Institute, Inc., 2017.
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