Join Terri Wagner for an in-depth discussion in this video Processing an abundance of change orders, part of Project Management: Preventing Scope Creep.
Change orders are a natural part of managing projects. When the change orders appear excessive, there can be a number of causes. First, the customer might not be well organized. Second, the scope may not have been well defined before you started execution. Third, the customer requirements could have legitimately changed. Fourth, the customer product knowledge may increase from the point they initially wrote the scope, or during this discovery process, it maybe that a new project is actually emerging.
As the change requests begin to flow in, if you're at level three in maturity or above, these will most likely go to a change control board. Benefits will be analyzed against cost then the team will decide. In other words, the burden is not just on the project manager. When the customer is external, the change control board may be looking at technical feasibility and pricing out the change request, leaving the final decision up to the customer. Best practices within project management would suggest once we have determined the scope, the budget, and the schedule, we then baseline the project.
Meaning, we freeze the scope and lock in the budget and your schedule. Then we create contingency time buffers and budget allowances to finalize our planning. For example, we may say we're doing all this scope, for this amount of money, in this amount of time. Plus or minus 10% of the budget and 5% of the schedule. So once we begin execution of the project, you need to keep monitoring the amount of change being requested to determine if you're still running within your variances. Remember, you should always expect some change to occur.
When change starts exceeding your original variances, you may want to consider re-baselining the project. When there are a high number of change requests, you may want to consider some additional options. Start by seeing if it makes sense to consolidate the change requests. Some organizations will do this through a change order process or a ticketing system. Then discuss and decide in the change control board meetings. Re-baselining means you'll be adjusting your budget and scheduled targets based on the new change request information. When re-baselining, you only change information in the future, such as the final budget and added scope, and the final adjusted schedule.
It does not mean you go back and change actual information from already completed tasks to make your metrics look better. When the scope has evolved so much, you have a significantly different project, you may also want to rewrite the statement of work and treat it as a new project with a new scope, schedule, and budget agreements. So, your coping strategies might include working with the change request and change management system. Consolidating the change requests to minimize disruption. Write a new Statement of Work and re-baseline the project to this new contractual agreement.
Recognize you're beyond your original scope, deadlines, and budgets, and keep communicating with the stakeholders. Remember, changes are not something to be feared. Contractors often make good profits from change orders. Find a way to incorporate a good change process, and communicate what is required to all involved.
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- What is scope creep?
- Why does scope change?
- Factoring in organizational maturity
- Setting scope and requirements
- Building a budget
- Resetting unrealistic expectations
- Resolving communication issues with stakeholders<br><br>
- The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.