Change Management - Change Management Process

August 21, 2008 | Author: PM Hut | Filed under: Change Management

Change Management - Change Management Process (#42 in the Hut A Project Management Primer)
By Nick Jenkins

The basis of change management is to have a clear process which everyone understands. It need not be bureaucratic or cumbersome but it should be applied universally and without fear of favour.

The basic elements of a change process are:

  • What is under change control and what is excluded ?
  • How are changes requested ?
  • Who has the authority to approve or reject changes ?
  • How are decisions upon approval or rejection are documented and disseminated ?
  • How changes are implemented and their implementation recorded ?

The process should be widely understood and accepted and should be effective without being bureaucratic or prescriptive. It is important for the project team to be seen to be responsive to client needs and nothing can hurt this more than an overly-officious change control process. Change is inevitable in a project and while you need to control it you do not want to stifle it.

A typical process might be as minimal as the following:

  1. Once a project document has been signed-off by stakeholders, a change to it requires a mandatory change request to be logged via email. The request will include the nature of the change, the reason for the change and an assessment of the urgency of the change.
  2. A “change control board” consisting of the development manager, test lead and a product manager will assess the issue and approve or reject each request for change. Should more information be required a member of the change control board will be assigned to research the request and report back.
  3. No change request should be outstanding for more than a week.
  4. Important or urgent requests should be escalated through the nearest member of the change control board.
  5. Each change which is accepted will be discussed at the weekly development meeting and a course of action decided by the group. Members of the development team will then be assigned to implement changes in their respective areas of responsibility.

If you have a flexible change request process team members can be encouraged to use it to seek additional information or clarification where they feel it would be useful to communicate issues to the whole project team.

Next in the Hut A Project Management Primer:

Change Management - Tracking Change

Previously in the Hut A Project Management Primer:

Change Management - Introduction

Nick Jenkins is an IT manager with 10 years experience in software development, project management and software testing. He’s worked in various fields of IT development in Australia, Britain and the USA and occasionally he learned something along the way. Now he lives on the banks of the Swan River in Perth, Western Australia, and he publishes the odd guide to help aspiring IT professionals. Nick’s website can be found at www.nickjenkins.net.

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6 people have left comments

[...] Change Management - Change Management Process [...]

Change Management - Introduction - PM Hut wrote on August 21, 2008 - 11:15 am | Visit Link

Nick,

Great breakdown. I know that I’ve been intimidated by “the change management process” in the past. I’m featuring your no nonsense approach in the LouisvillePM Tools & Techniques forum.

LouisvillePM wrote on August 21, 2008 - 10:47 pm | Visit Link

Change is easy, if and only if the workforce has been provided with a work environment which allows them to develop a strong sense of ownership thus unleashing their full potential of creativity, innovation, productivity, motivation and commitment. Without this environment, change is resisted and becomes a battle often lost.

Unfortunately, most companies use the traditional top-down command and control approach to managing their employees, an approach which concentrates on producing goals, targets, visions, orders and other directives in order to control the workforce and thereby achieve organizational success. Focusing on giving direction prevents these managers from doing much of anything else. Thus top-down treats employees like robots in the “shut up and listen, I know better than you” mode, and rarely if ever listens to them.

By so doing this approach ignores every employee’s basic need to be heard and to be respected. In addition, not listening to employees makes top management ignorant of what is really going on in the workplace thus making their directives misguided at best and irrelevant at worst. Employees become demotivated, demoralized and disrespected and thus “led” to treat their work, their customers, and their bosses with the same level of disrespect.

Thus, top-down produces the exact opposite environment to what is needed.

To better understand the right way and the wrong way to manage human capital, please read the article “Leadership, Good or Bad”

Best regards, Ben
Author “Leading People to be Highly Motivated and Committed”

Bennet Simonton wrote on August 22, 2008 - 6:05 am | Visit Link

[...] Change Management - Change Management Process [...]

Change Management - Tracking Change - PM Hut wrote on September 16, 2008 - 11:22 am | Visit Link

[...] meant to solve? You need to be able to make this distinction before you take the next step in the change management process. Change requests are like mini business cases and should contain the elements the business case [...]

How to Control Change Requests - PM Hut wrote on November 15, 2009 - 1:56 pm | Visit Link

In my experience, Change Control Boards that do not have user representatives as voting members are doomed to failure. It should be up to the users to set the priority of each change request and determine the release (time permitting)in which the change will be included. If the users have no vote and can only propose change they will end up feeling powerless and very unhappy.

Cathy Gallagher wrote on May 18, 2012 - 9:22 am | Visit Link

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