There are a lot of interesting scope change management techniques that can be easily applied to your project. Here are three that will keep you out of trouble.
Make Sure Only the Sponsor Approves Changes
A typical problem on a project is that the team does not understand the roles of the sponsor, client and end users in the area of change management. In general, the project sponsor is the person who is funding the project. If the client were embodied in one person, it would be the project sponsor. The people that the project team tends to work with most often are users. These are the people that use the solution that the project is building. The end users are the ones that will generally make requests for changes to deliverables. However, no matter how important a change is to a user, they cannot approve scope changes. The sponsor (or their designee) must give the approval. If the change is important enough the sponsor will approve it, along with the appropriate budget and duration changes. If the change is not important enough, it will not be approved.
Saying ‘Yes’ to Change Requests May not Show Good Client Focus
The project manager and project team sometimes think that they are being client-focused by accepting scope change while still trying to deliver the project within the original commitments. However, if the project is delivered late or over budget, it is usually not good enough to point out all the additional work that was included because of this ‘client focus’.
The sponsor is the primary client representative. Allowing the sponsor (or their designee) to make scope change decisions shows good client focus. If the project team or project manager approves scope changes, he is not showing good client focus from the sponsor’s perspective.
An Engaged Sponsor Will Often Say ‘No’ to Scope Change Requests
One of the neat things about enforcing the discipline of having the sponsor approve scope change requests is that, unless the change is very important, the sponsor will often say ‘no’. The sponsor is usually someone high in the organization. He normally doesn’t want to hear about requests for small changes. He wants the original project fulfilled within the original commitments for cost, effort and duration. Even though it may be hard for the project manager to say ‘no’, the project sponsor usually doesn’t have any problem saying ‘no’ to the people in sponsor’s own organization.