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Change Management in Project Management

Every well managed project needs a change management process. A well managed project starts with a well defined scope, but what does it help if you have spent lots of effort to clearly define what the project should deliver at the beginning as a base for all your subsequent planning and then watch your scope creep away and making your plan void ?

A poor project without a clear scope doesn't need a change management process. Everything done in this project every day is a change anyway, we are out of control and by definition this is in fact no project.

A change management process ensures every change is assessed upfront in terms of impacts to the project: effort, duration, cost, risks, etc...
After this assessment a clear decision is made whether the change will be accepted, thus added to the project scope and all associated plans for cost, schedule, risks etc., or whether it will be rejected. Important here is the clear dialog with the customer or whoever raised the change request to discuss all of this. And important also is to play this the formal way. One of the worst things that can happen to a project are changes coming in thru the backdoor ( typical example: customer calls a developer directly and asks for a change ) messing up cost and schedule or even the final deliverable, because that one change is incompatible with other changes. At the end nobody will be happy if we miss scope and/or budget and/or schedule. And as said initially: this can happen to any project, no matter how good it was planned initially, if there is no formal change management process available.

Change request forms or records in a database should be used to formally track those change requests and a change log should be maintained to document the history of all change requests in a project and what happened to them.

What are changes ? The typical example of course is the extra feature someone wants to add to a product. But change requests also can arise because of organizational changes, changes in the business of the customer, new regulations to consider, outcome of related projects is changing, budget cuts, or the scope of our project has to be changed to get it back on track.

So much about the typical waterfall project.? What about truly agile projects ? Do we need any change management here ? And yes, how would it work ?

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