Change is inevitable even with the most well-thought out projects. That’s why it’s important to know how to manage it, so your project stays on track. Enter change control—a systematic methodology for managing project changes.
Based on the above definition, an efficient change control process should look like this:
Request. Someone recognizes the need for a change and makes a request.
Review. Multiple members of the project team review the request.
Respond. They define options and make recommendations to address the request.
Ratify. The project manager approves or disapproves the change.
Verify. The project team incorporates the approved change.
Sounds simple, right? But we both know change control is anything but simple. We’d even go so far as to say that for most of us, managing project changes in our industry is a lot like herding cats.
We want to change that.
Let’s take a look at some common frustrations during the change control process and talk about ways to help make your change control process more efficient.
Problem: Email chains are overcrowding my inbox.
Email is a great channel for a 1:1 straightforward conversation. It’s not so good for complex back-and-forth communications between a group of people. Messages can get lost in translation, buried in people’s inboxes, or accidentally deleted.
Solution: A better option is to use an EVM project management tool, like MaxTeam, that allows estimators, control account managers (CAMs) and engineers to log in and update their task status and notes with ease and automatically route to-dos to the next in line—all in one centralized location. Better still, when you work with ProjStream, we can help you create a process framework that enables electronic approvals and a data trail associated with workflow signoff.
Problem: I never know which file is the most up-to-date.
Microsoft Excel spreadsheets may help you stay organized, but it turns into an organizational nightmare when many people have to use the same one. Here’s a really common scenario: Pam and Ryan download the same Excel document, and they both make changes. When they’re done, they both upload a revised version with a slightly different file name. Now it’s your turn to add information. Which file do you download and edit? (That’s not meant to be a trick question.)
Solution: An easier option is to use an earned value management system, like MaxTeam, that saves and documents changes in real-time. You see edits and who made them, so everyone stays on the same page—always.
Problem: I don’t have a reliable decision log.
You make decisions on the phone, in-person, and even in your own head—but if you don’t keep a record of those decisions, they stay with you. Samantha and Mike had a great phone conversation, and they both agreed on the next steps, but they both forgot to tell Dave (the person who was waiting on the next steps). Your team had a productive meeting, but three weeks later, no one remembered what they all agreed on during that meeting.
Solution: Use an earned value analysis software to keep track of baseline change requests (BCRs) and work authorization documents (WADs). MaxTeam takes that further by keeping an automatic change control log where you can see changes by reference, date of the change, work breakdown structure, work package or resource.
Problem: I can’t keep track of the team’s notes.
Many managers take notes in notebooks, on sticky notes, or even on their hands—only to transfer them to a computer. This approach is redundant, and it increases the likelihood of typos and misinterpretations. (Was that final answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’? I can’t tell with that fingerprint smudge.)
Solution: A smarter option is to use an earned value management software where you can house all of your (and your team’s) notes and documents. You can all modify and save a number of common forms, including BCRs and WADs in MaxTeam.
Less frustration, more activity with BOEMax and MaxTeam
Our integrated estimating, pricing, and EVM tools help you win more contracts and deliver better projects. We invite you to schedule a live demo of MaxTeam, and experience first-hand everything we’ve covered in this blog post..
Or don’t, and keep herding those cats. The choice is yours.