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4 Practical Tips on How to Deal with Project Changes

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4 Practical Tips on How to Deal with Project Changes

4 Practical Tips on How to Deal with Project Changes

A post from our Project Management blog

      Written by Jordan James
You've just been assigned a big project. After painstakingly analysing all the aspects of the project, you created a project schedule. You've been working on the project tirelessly, only to suddenly discover what you feared all along. The top management has decided to make some changes to the project, cut the budget, or perhaps they decided to tighten the delivery schedule.

Budget Cut

No matter what this change is, if not managed well, the organization may end up losing money. Unfortunately, change is inevitable – but the one thing that you can control is how to deal with it. To help you do just that, here are 4 practical tips on how to deal with project changes.

1) Understand the scope of the change

Understanding the scope of the change is the first, and probably most important step of the process. What exactly is the change? How will it affect the project? How will this change other aspects of the project? What does this mean for the budget and the delivery deadline?

Let's say you're working on creating a new product and some specifications of a crucial raw material have been changed, which may increase the cost of the end product. However, this may also affect your delivery schedule, the production method may also have to be changed, or you may even have to source the materials from another supplier. All these changes will affect the scope of your project and your end goal.

2) Assess the situation

Once you've understood the scope of the change, analyse the benefits it may bring. You may have a choice. At other times, you may not. Make sure to consider the long term repercussions of this change on the entire journey of your project instead of just thinking in immediate terms.

3) Document the change

Once you have understood and assessed the change, the next step is to document it. Some of the things you may want to consider and record are the following:
  • Who is requesting this change?
  • Who is authorising it?
  • Who must be informed?
  • What exactly is being changed?
  • How will this change affect the project?
  • How does this affect the project budget?
  • How does this change affect the timeline of the project?
  • How much additional time will be required to complete it?
  • How does this affect the overall goal of the project?
  • Does it require deployment of additional resources?
Recording changes in as many details as possible will help you in the long run. However, if you don't record project changes when they occur, it's quite possible that you will forget some crucial details after a while.

Forgetting Details
In that case, the end result will be a lot of wasted time as everyone tries to remember the specific details and how it all happened. The easiest way to avoid this is to document the change as and when it occurs instead of leaving it for a later date.

4) Have a system in place

Change management – including tracking, recording and managing change – becomes a breeze when you have a system in place. In fact, in the absence of a system, the advent of change itself will seem like a huge problem. In the presence of a system, however, change management becomes just another part of project management.

Do you have any other tips on how best to deal with project changes? Make sure to let us know in the comments below!

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