Change Management Processes

Introduction

This essay describes the change management processes within the project management framework and the various processes of initiating, monitoring, and closing phases of a project. The organization selected for this assignment is a large software organization with more than 1000 employees. The project for which this study is being carried out is a development project with an offshore customer and all phases of the software development life cycle (SDLC) being present.

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The essay examines:

  • Change management is carried out within Integration management processes
  • The various components of change management
  • How changes to the “triple constraints” affect each other and the project in general
  • Change management behaviors in a project
  • Alternative crashing and funding methods

Organization and the Project

As described above, the sample organization is a medium to large-sized software company that employs in excess of a thousand people. The name of the organization is not being used to avoid potential issues.

The project that is taken as a sample is a development project with a team size of around 10 people and being executed for hardware major.

Integration Management

Any change management process falls under the category of Integration management. Integration management is the primary function of a project manager. Any project management is integration management with all the areas like scope, time, cost, quality, etc, and the processes are integrated within the project management framework.

Integration management is the art of preparing a project management plan taking into account the needs of all the stakeholders without losing focus on the overall project objectives. It combines the science of quantitative management with that of the qualitative aspect of meeting customer needs.

Components of change management

The components of change management would include a change control system that is a collection of formal, documented procedures for tracking and authorizing approved changes.

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This would include:

  • A change control plan included in the project management plan
  • Creation of a change control board
  • Change control procedures
  • Statistics related to performance

Further the project management plan must be updated with:

  • Specification reviews
  • Testing
  • Scope review meetings

Triple constraint

A project manager has to do a balancing act between many things to accomplish a project. There are several constraints like time, cost, risk, scope, and other factors that hamper the project manager’s work. The project manager has to evaluate and choose between competing constraints. Triple constraint includes the time, cost, and scope aspects of a project. Any change to one of the constraints impacts the others and the project objectives. It is this tightrope between the different priorities and the impacts to all the components of the “triple constraint” that have to be managed with integrated change control. You cannot change the schedule of a project without affecting the cost and the quality of the deliverables and the same can be said of the other constraints as well.

An expanded definition of the “triple constraint” would include the quality and risk aspects along with the stakeholder satisfaction. We will examine all the constraints with particular emphasis on the original three.

Changes to the Triple constraint

Time

If the schedule of a project is changed there is a corresponding effect on the cost and quality aspects. For e.g. any change to the scope would mean that the time available to complete the project would be reduced or increased depending on the kind of scope changes that the customer wants. If the scope is increased and the cost of the project is not reduced, then the time available to complete the project would be lesser. In our sample project, if the customer wants an addition to the requirements and does not increase the funding available, it either means that more resources have to be put in to complete the project within the timeline or overload the existing resources to get more from them. In the former case, the cost of the project from the organization’s viewpoint would go up and the profit margins reduced. In the case of the latter, the quality of work may get impacted leading to higher risk and more defects found during testing.

Cost

In our given project, if the customer wants a reduction in costs, it would mean that the scope of the project would be reduced leading to fewer features than the ones originally envisaged would be delivered or the quality of the project would suffer. In the case of the former, the customer may not be too happy to accept a reduction in the scope and may bargain for the same features at a reduced cost. In the case of the latter, there is an added risk from overloading the resources.

In both these cases, we have taken that the cost of the project is to be reduced from the point of view of the customer. If the management of the organization itself wants to reduce the costs of the project, it would impact the project baseline in the same way.

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Scope

Consider a scenario where one of the stakeholders wants to add scope to the project. As a project manager, you estimate that this change in scope would add two weeks to the project schedule. This would mean that the cost of the project would go up and the customer who requested this scope should be willing to shoulder the cost. If the cost of the project is not changed corresponding to the change of the envisaged scope, it would mean that the quality and time aspects would get affected. If the cost is not changed and the scope to be increased, it would mean that the schedule estimate of two weeks has to be accommodated within the existing schedule so as to not get hit on the margins front. And this would have a corresponding effect on the quality of the deliverables.

Thus, we have seen how a change in one of the triple constraints affects the others and also the project baseline.

Change management behaviors

We have discussed the effect of changes on the “triple constraint” on the project baseline. In addition, the behaviors described above are typical examples of change management that a constrained project would be undergoing.

The change management behaviors would include:

  • Inform all the stakeholders about how the change will impact the cost, time, and quality aspects and the other project objectives
  • Ensure that the proposed changes would not mean that the reason the project was initiated would not be lost.
  • Update the project management baseline and project management plan

In addition, the following have to be done by the project manager in a constrained project:

  • Evaluate impact: Assess the impact of the change on the project baseline: In the hypothetical scenario, it would mean that the increased scope would mean that additional funding has to come in
  • Create options: This can include crashing, fast-tracking, etc. for e.g. the effect of the change on the project can be minimized by spending more time or by adding more resources
  • The buy-in from the internal stakeholders has to be obtained
  • The buy-in from the customer has to be obtained

Alternative crashing/funding methods

Crashing is ensuring that the schedule compression is achieved for the least incremental cost while maintaining project scope. This would involve making schedule and cost tradeoffs.

The crashing method to avoid cancellation of tasks and resource reloading would involve making choices from the list of potential ones and selecting one that would have the least impact on the project. If the estimated completion date is more than the one that the customer is asking for, the first task for you would be to analyze what can be done by compressing the schedule.

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The following activities may be undertaken:

  • Crashing would also involve moving resources around within the project.
  • Move resources from one activity to the other. This is known as schedule compression

Conclusion

In this essay, we have examined the change management processes and behaviors of a constrained project. While this essay is not a comprehensive account of the same, it is an attempt to detail some of the challenges faced by a project manager

Notes

  1. PMBOK (3rd Ed, 2006) (Project Management Body of Knowledge) Project Management Institute.
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