Join Doug Rose for an in-depth discussion in this video Pitching and catching project changes, part of Project Management Foundations: Change.
In many organizations a modern project manager is not just a resource manager. They're more of a combined business analyst and project manager. The modern project manager would be a project expert. This person will be the one who accepts or rejects changes. They will decide business analyst issues. They will also be a key driver for change. As a project manager, you can think of changes as coming from 2 directions. There'll be some changes that flow from stakeholders. Think of this as catching a change.
These changes usually appear in the form of a change request. There will also be changes that you, as a project manager, will recommend for the project. This, you can think of, as pitching a change. These changes will usually be a formal memo that you submit to stakeholders. You want to distinguish between pitching and catching changes for 2 reasons. First, if you are catching a change, your role will be different from when you are pitching a change. Second, each type of change has a different set of challenges.
If you're catching a change, you'll need to evaluate how the change will impact the rest of the project. In project language, evaluating the changes you catch is called integrated change control. In larger organizations, you'll usually catch requests with a change request form. These are usually called CRs, for change request. Or sometimes called RFC, for request for change. If you're in a stakeholder meeting, you'll probably hear a project manager say something like, "We received a CR to the BRD and it will impact our deliverable." This means that there was a change request to the business requirements documents and now the project will change what the project creates.
The business requirements documents are the definition of the deliverables in your project plan. If you're at a larger organization, you'll probably have a CR template. This is an example CR included in the course material. If you're at a smaller, or less formal organization, then you might just get an email or have an informal chat. Either way, a CR will usually have at least 3 things. A requester, a date, and a request in the form of a statement. If you are more of a business analyst project manager, then you'll have the authority to accept or reject the change without coordinating with other stakeholders.
You'll be the gatekeeper for the change. If you're more of a traditional project manager then you'll coordinate with the team to present the change to other stakeholders. You'll be a communicator that helps the change control board decide whether to add the change to the project. In smaller organizations, the change control board might just be 1 person. If you decide to pitch a change, then you will be the one changing the course of the project. You might decide to do this for a few reasons. Maybe after a change in circumstances the deliverable is unrealistic.
Maybe a small additional investment would significantly add value to the deliverable. When you pitch a change you're usually concerned with adding value to the project. This is traditionally outside the scope of a project manager's duties. But adding value is crucial. Especially with agile software development projects that may have a lot less planning up front. Take a look at the change request form included in this course. Notice that one of the types of changes is a process change. You will check this box if you want to pitch a change that will improve your organization.
If you pitch a change for your organization, be sure to frame it in the language of added value. You're usually asking for something that will increase the overall cost. So you need to frame the change as delivering increased value.
Along the way, learn how to effectively manage your project for change requests and deal with common obstacles. Also see how to find the balance between too much and too little change—either can be threat to your project.
Lynda.com is a PMI Registered Education Provider. This course qualifies for professional development units (PDUs). To view the activity and PDU details for this course, click here.
The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.
- What are project changes?
- Planning for changes
- Accepting or rejecting a change
- Understanding the risks
- Learning from your changes<br><br>
- The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.