During an presentation about Project Management Practices that I recently gave at the UK Alliance Day, we were discussing the reasons for a good change management process. Some of these, I’ve mentioned in a previous post:
- Accurate reflect that there has been a change to the contracturally agreed on specifications/requirements. I think this is the best ‘excuse’ to ‘enforce’ this process with the customer.
- Recognition/approval to potential impact on timing and budget. Your developers should be made (painfully) aware that agreeing to changes, cost money. Regardless of whether they can be accomodated (in the timing allowed), you are adding value – and that should be captured and recognized.
- Sets precedence for further changes – If you ‘blindly’ accept changes, then it is harder to get it stopped once it gets going. The customer is apt to say, ‘Well, you made these other changes (which may have been bigger). Why not this little one more?”
I also advocate that Customer Change Notifications/Approvals. Even if you don’t intend to charge the customer, the change should be documented, the cost of that change estimated and included on that notification, as well as a separate spot to indicate charge to the customer (even if it is zero).
A couple other reasons
I got feedback from the audience that there are a couple other reasons to follow this process:
- Change may just not be worth it – By formalizing the process, you give the customer (and/or your developer) to determine that it just isn’t worth the ‘hassle’ to make the change – including documenting it and getting the necessary approval. In that case, you’ve probably saved yourself some time and effort.
- You might just get paid for it. Must admit that I’d probably hadn’t given this one enough consideration. So, you may just want to present Change Notification with the charge included and only zero it out if the customer pushes back. Even then, you established that you are providing extra value to the customer.
What say you?
Getting the feedback from my presentations, reminded me that I should do a better job in these blog posts to ask your thoughts and opinions. Do you have a formalized Change Management process? If so, what do your find effective (or not)?