Project sponsors have a habit of changing their minds. However there’s a way to keep on top of all those scope changes, it’s not as hard as it first seems. Learn these 5 tips for managing scope changes.
When you start a project, you think you know exactly what you need to deliver, but then along comes a change. It can be hard to say no to a senior manager, and often the changes suggested are great improvements that you should really incorporate into the project.
So how do you manage the impact on the project scope, the team, the budget and the schedule? That’s a lot of things to consider for one change! Here are 5 tips for successfully managing changes to scope on your project.
Tip 1: Record all the changes
First, regardless of where the change comes from, it should be recorded somewhere. Use software to make this job easier as it helps you prepare a consolidated list of all submitted changes and what happens to them afterwards.
Tip 2: Assess changes
Assess all the changes that have been submitted. Some will be great ideas and some won’t be! Work out what impact they will have on the project and the benefits, and then you can put forward your considered recommendation to the project sponsor about whether to incorporate them into the project or not. The sponsor will make the final decision, but will be looking to you for that recommendation to approve or reject the change.
Tip 3: Prioritize changes
Assuming the change is approved, you will have to work out what sort of priority it needs. Is it something that you should drop everything for and work on now? Or can it wait a bit longer? Your team can help with this, and you’ll also get a view from your project sponsor. Prioritizing is really useful if you have a number of changes as it will help you plan the work in the right order.
Tip 4: Review your plan accordingly
It is rare that you can incorporate a change without changing anything else on the project. Changes will have an impact on the project budget, schedule, resource plan and even the risks and issues log. Go through your entire project and work out what needs to be updated as a result. Remember to share all the changes with your project team so they are also aware of anything different that they have to do now.
Tip 5: Don’t agree to everything!
Don’t say yes to anyone who suggests a change until it has been properly analyzed! Otherwise you could promise to deliver something that turns out to be really difficult or not something the sponsor will agree to. And you don’t have to agree with your sponsor either. While they have the final say, if you don’t agree with a change you can record this in the issues log but you will have to incorporate the change into the project.