Integrity with Change Control


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Execution means going out and implementing what has been planned. This seems obvious, but a lot of programs are continually in a state of firefighting because there is no real plan. Not all the projects in a program have to follow the same execution strategy. The program manager’s responsibility for execution begins with establishing the scheduling plans for projects in the program. This is a conscious decision that has to be made on the basis of the priority of the projects, the resources available, the planning horizon, and the organizational constraints. This is a key aspect of setting up a culture that fosters project success. Even in dynamic environments you must have a plan or a series of short plans tailored to the rapidly changing environment

Our 8 part Guide to Program Execution Processes will guide you through processes to plan and execute a variety of projects so you aren’t constantly putting out fires!

Guide to Program Execution Processes

Part 1 of 8: Establish an Appropriate Planning Horizon
Part 2 of 8: Establish a Scheduling Philosophy
Part 3 of 8: Implement a Stage Gate Process to Ensure Proper Execution of the Planned Schedule
Part 4 of 8: Maintain Integrity with Change Control
Part 5 of 8: Create a Status Process That Allows You To Regulate Execution
Part 6 of 8: Ten Obstacles to Effective Project Status
Part 7 of 8: Project Status Meeting Frequency
Part 8 of 8: Guidelines for an Effective Project Status

Part 4 of 8: Maintain Integrity with Change Control

Lack of full consideration of the impact a change has on a project and/or program often results in major problems. When changes are evaluated for consideration in modifying the baselined requirements, all impacts need to be assessed against all elements of the triple constraint and all stakeholders.

Track the change history over time for projects within the program, as this provides a measure of the requirements’ stability and is in fact a metric for how well project teams did before baselining the requirements. The 80/20 rule, or Pareto analysis, should be conducted for the program’s proposed changes in requirements. In this case, the 80/20 rule essentially says that 20 percent of the requirements often account for 80 percent of the changes. When you see these kinds of trends, you want to aggressively find out why these changes are being made. It could be symptomatic of a larger problem with this portion of the requirements or of a generic problem that has yet to surface in other areas of the requirements. The first set of changes that occur after the requirements have been baselined and need to be examined for cause and effect.

Common drivers of project changes include the following:

  • Changes in business needs and/or requirements driven by project management or project stakeholders
  • Changes in the business environment (competitive actions, new technologies, and new processes)
  • Changes resulting from problems or opportunities that occur during the course of the project
  • Changes caused by modifications or enhancements identified by the project team (within project scope)
  • Changes resulting from faults detected by the project team or users

Your change management process should be designed so that it’s intentionally cumbersome. That may not sound customer friendly, but it is actually for the customer’s protection.

The change control process should be pain-free. You want the customer to give full consideration to whether he or she really needs that change. Is it worth going through the cumbersome change control process? Fortunately, it is difficult to implement an adequate change control process that isn’t cumbersome. Thus, make sure your process is both customer-friendly and cumbersome. Obviously, if customer-generated change is a major part of your profit margin, adjust this philosophy accordingly.

Once your team has decided on their plan and process, PPM software can help you execute that process. WorkOtter helps you successfully execute your program process strategy for project success. Get a demo of WorkOtter and see how we can make your program management effective.

“The Handbook of Program Management: How to Facilitate Project Success with Optimal Program Management, Second Edition” by James T. Brown is a copyrighted work of McGraw-Hill and McGraw-Hill reserves all rights in and to the Content. ©2014 by McGraw-Hill Education. Purchase the book on Amazon.