Perform Integrated Change Control

Large projects should apply more diligence throughout the change management process. Change does not always happen neatly. In many cases, it may be hard to understand the nature of a change and the impact to the various aspects of the project. For example a small request can come into the project that results in a change to scope. The scope change request may lead to a request to increase schedule and budget. The request might impact the types of resources that are needed on the project ands it might effect a vendor contract. The project manager needs to understand the nature of the change and how it might impact all other aspects of the project.

That is the purpose of Integrated Change Control, a high-level process that encompasses the more specific scope change, configuration change and general change management processes. Integrated change control includes the following activities.

· Making sure there are baselines in place (scope, budget, schedule, etc.) so that it is more obvious that a change has occurred

· Looking at the causes of change to see if the causes can be (or should be) eliminated. For instance, if you believe you are receiving too many scope change requests, it may reflect on a poor requirements gathering process.

· Making sure no changes are implemented unless they have been approved.

· Making sure there are processes in place to manage change. The level of formality of the approval process increases with the size of the project and the size of the potential change.

· Making sure the entire project team, including the client, understands the change management processes and follows them.

· Making sure the appropriate documentation is created and saved for each change.

· Understanding how changes impact all related aspects of the project and making sure all of the appropriate documentation is updated.

· Making sure that there is a person or body available to approve or reject all change requests.

· Making sure all change requests are closed by either an acceptance of the change or rejection of the change.

· Communicating changes and the impact on the project to the appropriate stakeholders.

Do Not Use Estimating Contingency for Scope Changes (5.2.P5)

One of the steps in the estimating process is to add contingency hours to reflect the level of uncertainty associated with the estimate. (For instance, if the effort hours were estimated at 5,000 hours, you might add 500 hours for contingency, which reflects a 90% confidence factor and 10% uncertainty.) Once the contingency is approved, there will be pressure on the project manager to use the contingency to absorb additional requirements. The client might say, “Why do we need to invoke scope change management for this 100 hour enhancement. You have 500 hours of contingency built into your estimate!”

The project manager must resist the temptation and the pressure. The purpose of the estimating contingency is to reflect uncertainty in the estimates. There will be plenty of opportunities to utilize the contingency when activities take longer than expected. Do not use the estimating contingency to absorb extra work. If the project estimates were accurate, you should return the contingency to the client at the end of the project (or consider the contingency as additional profit if you have an external client).

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