Changes to projects are almost inevitable. As project work progresses, discoveries are made, problems are encountered and solved, new requirements are discovered. All of these have the potential to change one or more of the three main constraints that bound any project -- Time (the deadline), Resources (the people, materials and money available to do the project), and Output (the required deliverables).
Any change that affects one of these constraints can seriously affect the ultimate delivery of the project. For instance, if the deadline is tightened, you will need more resources to deliver the same output. If the resources available are reduced (usually in the form of lost people), you will likely need more time to deliver the output. If the output requirements change (usually added functionality or features) you will need either more time or more resources.
Sometimes, changes to a project occur in one major hit a significant new feature or function is required. Usually, changes occur little by little, over the life of the project. These small changes, in and of themselves, are not significant. However, taken together, they have a serious impact on the project.
For purposes of self-protection as well as for good records, you should document every change to the project. There are several things you should make note of:
That last one, "Who is authorizing the change?" is the key. If you are in a position to authorize the additional resources, the additional time required, or the change in output, great. You can do it. If,
on the other hand, you are not in a position to authorize it, your job is to get the information into the hands of whomever is in a position to authorize it. Write it up and get a signature.
Jeff Crow is a Portland, Oregon
consultant and trainer. He conducts seminars and
workshops on project management and organizational
development for corporations and through the Professional
Development Center at Portland State University.
Find out about Jeff's on-site workshops.
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