Thursday, May 2, 2013

Project Change Management – Process Overview

"Change is inevitable - except from a vending machine.”
                                                                                                - Robert C. Gallagher

Now that we have the confusions and dilemmas of change management behind us, it’s time to drill into the change management process. 
The one thing you can count on to stay the same when running a project is that there will be change.  Yet, the PMBoK (5th ed, p60) identifies nine knowledge areas and change is not in the name of any.  And change is not in the name of the five process groups.  There is no process that says “Plan Change Management.”  If change is so prevalent, what is the process and where is it documented?

Some examples of change include:
·         We need to complete the project sooner.
·         We need to reduce the project budget.
·         We need to add this feature to the project scope.
·         This person has resigned, but we still need to complete the project.

In fact, there are eight broad areas where change can occur:  Scope, Time, Cost, Quality, HR, Communications, Risk, Procurement and Stakeholders.  This list, no coincidence, corresponds to eight of the PMI knowledge areas (PMBoK 5th ed, p60).  But there is no “Deal with scope change” or “Handle HR disruption.”
As any practitioner of project management quickly learns, everything is connected to everything else and nothing happens in isolation.  It’s like there’s a seven dimensional pyramid (eight nodes), where there are 28 connections between the nodes.  (This concept also applies in communications management and communications planning related to the project team size.)  This means that if, for example, you need to complete the project sooner, that has a potential impact on all seven of the other knowledge areas that needs to be evaluated (and each impact to one of those has a potential impact on the other seven, etc.).  So, a “Deal with scope change” process cannot be done in isolation from time, cost, quality,….

Thus, we have, in the wisdom and experience of the PMI, the ninth knowledge area:  Project Integration Management with the process Perform Integrated Change Control.  This is the only practical technique for addressing project change – holistically across all areas.  But “perform” omits “plan” and “evaluate.”  It’s still not complete.

In the next installment of this series, I’ll drill deeper into the change process and how it works.

Has it occurred to you before that change management and communication management have this mathematical relationship?  What consequences can you foresee from this?

© 2013 Chuck Morton.  All Rights Reserved.

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