Freeze the Client!

Kenneth has 14 years of healthcare experience in government and private industry. Over eight years of experience managing healthcare IT projects, operations, contracts, and personnel. His work experience includes project management, contracts and procurements, data analysis, claims adjudication, business writing, and business process modeling. Kenneth was certified in 2006 as a Project Management Professional.

Scope management, change control, configuration management, software patches, change requests, the upgrade path, revision control…just a few of the words that can strike fear in the heart of a project manager. Life on a project would be so much easier if clients could be frozen when a project starts and thawed out when it’s complete. The client would have exactly what was originally requested, and they would not have all that pesky time during project execution to think of new requirements and changes to the existing ones.

The reality of projects is that the needs of customers and stakeholders change with time, some more than others. This is why there is a scope management knowledge area in PMBOK and why there should be a change control process built into a project from the beginning--no matter how certain of the scope the project team or client seems to be. This process will normally result in regular meetings of a change control board or a similar team that approves or denies change requests.

Unfortunately, many change control meetings are run in the spirit of keeping the original scope set in stone. Questions like, “Why wasn’t this in the original proposal?” or “How will this affect the baseline project plan?” or “Do you really, really need this at go live?” are asked. Project managers and executives …

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