How to Perfectly Make a Change Management Plan During Any Cycle of A Project
By Kavita JhaveriDec 4, 2019
Project management is a diverse range of tasks. The project manager is expected to undertake and juggle through a number of tasks either simultaneously or individually. They spend a lot of time developing plans and establishing team objectives.
The remainder of the parties involved such as sponsors, and mainly the team executing the plan, then go about making changes to the scope of work as and when the plan rollout process gets going. In such scenarios, a clarified, easy transferable process to make the deemed change happen should be in place.
Change is measured against the criterion which is laid out at the initial stages of the project – mainly scope. So set out a plan to sink in and imbibe the proposed change.
A change management plan prescribes the activities and functions which are to be managed and make a controlled change during the execution phase of the project.
But do not lose sight of the bigger picture. Even though some of the priorities may shift, the end objective is what matters more, and the project should be kept proceeding ahead than make it come to a halt due to any effective change. This should also prevent you from losing your composure due to pressure, as the pace of progression may also shift.
Here is how to go about change management as it occurs:
1. Accept that change is a reality:
Change is a part & parcel of life, & so is the case with project management. Expect a change at virtually every stage of the project management lifecycle. Acknowledge that change is inevitable and more often than not may even prove to be beneficial. Keeping this reality in mind, project managers need to be more adaptive and alert to accommodate change and make for such an approach in planning & execution phase itself.
One should have a suitable plan of action in place to deal with changes in an effective manner and instant as they occur. This is a sure shot way to keep everyone in the frame to be energized and focussed on the goal, even if there may be shifts on the face of it in the direction.
A well-articulated and structured change management process is going to be your execution playbook. Your holy reference book on strategy. It will charter the territory for you as a leader within which response to change can be captured in heed of the project.
Such a ready reckoner will help to sail through in a gracious manner and with the surety that the procedures being followed are as per the script towards the collective goal.
2. The process of Change Management:
The flow of change management process is somewhat like this
Receipt of request or demand for change to take place in the project
Make an assessment of the demand or request of change in context of the project budget with reference to the materials required, any applicable permits to be sought, man hours assigned, valuable time whether gained or lost.
Portray to stakeholders on your suggestions for implementation possibilities to the request brought in. Seek stakeholder approval or rejection to the proposal.
Irrespective of the outcome, it is imperative to keep all those associated with the project apprised. Abandoning team members at any point in the development process can cost the integrity of the entire project, and also the likelihood of any future collaborations as well.
3. How to Draft a Project Change Request Form:
Following should be the inclusions of the form:
· The name of the person who is making the request of change (requestor)
· A unique identifiable number or symbol should be given to the change request
· A descriptive & detailed outline of the proposed change
· The category to which the change relates. Principally, this section should be prepopulated with options so that the requestor just has to tick the applicable one.
· The most important question of ‘why’. The reason behind the change sought and whether its implementation is justified. Why does the requestor seek it?
· Prospective impact of the proposed change to different constituents of the project. The least to keep a check on is whether the parameters of the project are likely to increase, decrease or remain the same due to the change.
The form should be rounded off with a vacant space to make note of details as the proposal is progressively discussed. Then ofcourse the final decision taken should also be formally noted in the form: whether yes, no or on hold.
Name of the authority who made the decision, the date on which it was taken & space for any additional comments.
4. How to Lead a Team Through the Process of Change:
The entire change management process could be a difficult phase if not handled tactfully. Here are a few suggestions to help your team come to terms with the entire journey.
1. Be open about the change: Keep your team informed about the expected change
2. Keep an open approach: To guide or handhold the members of the team, organise a briefing which will take them through the exercise. Let each one of them know what would be his or her role in execution.
3. Make it as convenient & simplified as possible: Change is usually unsettling and difficult to assimilate. As a project leader, make it a responsibility to control the chaos and let it not go out of hands.
4. Extend a helping hand when required: Whenever a new dimension is introduced, it takes time to adjust. An ingrained construct such as culture when needs to be overhauled, has to be done systematically. As this is deeply inculcated, so offer guidance through every step.
5. Never hesitate to say ‘no’: Whenever a request or demand for change comes in, it is not necessary to always accept the proposal. As at times these might not make sense.
Since your team expects you to guide and stabilize the scenario, make the process as fluid as possible for them.
Standby your team if there is a strong conviction among them that it would not be the right thing to do at that stage. Portray the collective stand to the change requestor.
A planned approach to change management can make the slightest difference to project success and failure.
Failure to effectively manage change is among the main reasons for a project to get off-track, so be agile. When equipped with the right information and sources, project changes can be dealt with in a controlled, striking and efficient manner for all those involved.