Project Management

A Plan for Change

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at [email protected] Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

PMs are trained from day one of the importance of planning projects properly--the time invested in the planning stage is saved many times over during execution--so why don’t we do it with changes?
Broadly speaking project teams have two reactions to the change management processes that exist in a project--they are either the teeth that are used to frighten off anyone who wants to change the scope, timelines, etc., or they are the tool used to get what you want added to the project.
Good project managers know that change management has a vital role to play in ensuring that the project delivers the business benefit that was originally perceived, but how many actually know how to go about doing that?
Consider a project to produce an upgraded version of your company’s software product. During the code development, your major competitor announces that their next version is going to have a major feature that you don’t have--you must respond or face losing customers, big time! So what do you do? Initiate a project change, right? Well, maybe...
Let’s assume that you can’t ignore the competitor’s new feature, you still have options: 
  • Add the feature and keep the same date by adding resources
  • Add the feature and slip the date to keep the same resources
  • Add the feature and keep the same date by removing other features

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"We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it - and stop there; lest we be like the cat that sits down on a hot stove-lid. She will never sit down on a hot stove-lid again, and that is well; but also she will never sit down on a cold one anymore."

- Mark Twain