The Benefits of a Change Control Board

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You may think that a change control board (CCB) has to be some official project governing body, but it's not so.

A CCB can be a small group of project team members who are willing to review and approve or reject change requests. Even if your projects are small, it's better to have some semblance of a CCB than to have none at all.
 
A CCB can help you manage the myriad changes that will come your way as a project kicks off. Your sponsors, stakeholders and project delivery team may all have agreed on scope, cost and schedule -- but it's inevitable that something will change before the project closes. 

Those changes come in many shapes and will impact your project positively and/or negatively. A CCB helps you figure out which changes are acceptable to undertake, which aren't and which can be shelved.
 
Instead of shunning change or accepting every idea without examination, use the CCB to determine the best course of action for the project. 

There will be times when members of your project delivery team have great ideas for the project, for example. After all, they're right in the mix during the execution phase and can clearly see where things could be improved. If you always shoot those ideas down, you will create strife between yourself and your team.

You may find no one comes to you with great ideas anymore. Part of a CCB's job is to listen to all ideas, carefully consider the merits, and explain to the project team (or stakeholder or sponsor) why an idea was approved, rejected or held until more favorable conditions arise to implement it. 

A CCB can be more than just a repository for tracking changes and a governance tool. A CCB can show team members and stakeholders that their ideas are worthwhile and innovative, and can help foster those ideas that most positively impact a project.

What kind of CCB do you use? What do you have them help you with?

See more posts from Taralyn.

See more posts for new project managers.

Posted by Taralyn Frasqueri-Molina on: July 06, 2011 11:00 AM | Permalink

Comments

Joel Gray, PMP
Thanks for the post Taralyn. I've been working with major energy companies and contractors implementing change management solutions for large industrial construction projects.

They implement CCBs at multiple levels and include lots of stakeholders. Changes initially go through authorized project team members, normally assigned by the responsibility matrix by project “areaâ€쳌 or “disciplineâ€쳌, and then go through a sequence of several CCB approvals depending on attributes such as $$ value or project area.

Some CCBs include owners and joint venture partners when contingency or reserve funding is involved. It sounds like a big deal but it goes pretty quickly when using a process automation system. You can check out my team's approach at http://bit.ly/oAGKAY.

Steve Carter
Having some form of a CCB is critical, but it must have the appropriate authority to take action.

I have often pulled key leaders into this role with my IT lead, my finance lead, etc. What you don't want is a CCB that can easily be trumped by a leader who says "make the change anyway" and their voice carries more weight.

If you have those, include them in the CCB, or get leadership agreement on support of the CCB role/decision.

Taralyn
@Steve - including the power players in the org who can make or break a project on the CCB is a grand idea. The leadership where I work trust us to make the right decisions, so my CCB is quite empowered. Very rarely do we get trumped, and even then it's not without rigorous discourse.

@Joel - thanks for sharing the link to your website. I can see how running large industrial projects can definitely benefit from have an automated change management process. But what I really like is that you explained your process quite clearly in just a few sentences. If you can simplify it, people will understand it much better.

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