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Topics: Change Management
Looking for suggestions on change request impact and urgency definitions
I'm working to improve our change control process and part of that is revamping our project change request form. I'm trying to tailor the IMPACT and URGENCY definitions to be general enough that they could apply to changes related to scope/requirements, schedule, cost, resources. Below is what I have so far. Right now the Urgency descriptions really only cover requirements/scope related changes, I need them to be general enough to cover any type of project change. Suggestions????

Change Impact Descriptions.
Major: Significant impact resulting in project cost and or duration increases greater than 10%

Moderate: Moderate impact project cost and or duration increases between 5-10%

Minor: Minimal impact on project cost and or duration increases less than 5%

Change Urgency Descriptions
Very High: Change is needed in Represents a must have requirement or change where delivery is requested in the next 30 days

High:Represents a should have requirement and delivery is requested in the next 60 days

Medium: Represents a requirement that we could have and is requested to be delivered within 61-90 day

Low: Represents a requirement that is nice to have but is does not provide any significant system functionality or business value resulting in improved efficiency or effectiveness for supported business processes
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A few thoughts to consider: This is a big subject and my response is nowhere near comprehensive.

It seems that you are only considering the cost and schedule impacts of proposed changes. I think this is too narrow. One has to consider the impact on the project and the project is more than cost and time. When I analyse a change I will go the risk assessment route - what is the risk/benefit to the project and can that risk be mitigated?

This approach applies to urgency as well. Typically the longer it takes to implement a change the greater the risk to the project.

What is acceptable and how a proposed change is defined is directly related to the tolerance level identified in the Risk Management Plan.

Furthermore, typical projects have more than 2 or 3 minor changes so if you consider 5% as minor you would get to 50% pretty quick - your project will die of 'scope creep' while you sleep.

In terms of urgency, your definition of Low should automatically disqualify a proposed change - total waste of time.
John

I suggest you be more specific in your change request to include the following:

1) Cost Impact
2) Schedule Impact
3) Reason and rationale for Change
4) Attach any supporting documentation
5) Urgency

Don't overly complicate the COR, keep it simple and show what matters.

Hope this helps.

RK
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1 reply by John Bacon
Jul 26, 2022 7:11 AM
John Bacon
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Thanks. I actually have a section for cost and schedule impact analysis section that the PM fills out. Maybe I don’t need impact of not implementing category as they can just fill out the narrative impact. Maybe the change request or just selects an urgency level.
Jul 25, 2022 11:03 PM
Replying to Rami Kaibni
...
John

I suggest you be more specific in your change request to include the following:

1) Cost Impact
2) Schedule Impact
3) Reason and rationale for Change
4) Attach any supporting documentation
5) Urgency

Don't overly complicate the COR, keep it simple and show what matters.

Hope this helps.

RK
Thanks. I actually have a section for cost and schedule impact analysis section that the PM fills out. Maybe I don’t need impact of not implementing category as they can just fill out the narrative impact. Maybe the change request or just selects an urgency level.
One of the best things we ever added to our change request form was a section called: "What happens if this CR is not approved?" This had a huge impact on both the number and impact clarity/understanding of CRs for our change control board to evaluate.
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1 reply by John Bacon
Jul 26, 2022 8:54 AM
John Bacon
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Yes I have that covered with a narrative section for the requestor to describe what the impact is if the change is not approved.
Jul 26, 2022 8:34 AM
Replying to Mark Warner
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One of the best things we ever added to our change request form was a section called: "What happens if this CR is not approved?" This had a huge impact on both the number and impact clarity/understanding of CRs for our change control board to evaluate.
Yes I have that covered with a narrative section for the requestor to describe what the impact is if the change is not approved.
John -

I'd use a combination of percent AND absolute changes (for example, even if $1M is a small percentage of a $100M project, the absolute value of the change is meaningful).

Also, you'd want to include impacts to quality objectives (e.g. health, safety, performance), and expected benefits (e.g. erosion of profit or revenue).

And of course, include a section covering the risk impacts of the change such as new risks introduced, existing risks closed and existing risks whose probability or impact are materially changed.

Kiron
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1 reply by John Bacon
Jul 26, 2022 2:08 PM
John Bacon
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Thanks but I'm not sure what you mean by "the absolute value of the change"
Basing urgency purely on flow time to delivery seems clumsy to me, but it will depend on the industry.

Another way to look at it is the importance to the product functionality. At the top might be a safety issue or compliance to some external regulation where the product cannot be delivered or operated until change completion. Then might be changes that are customer sensitive problems that don't prevent delivery or operation but must be fixed in a timely fashion. Adding new desirable functionality that provides significant value might be the next category, followed by nice to have changes that we can incorporate whenever and don't prioritize anything.

Pick your own terminology but essentially it would align with: Must do now, must do soon but not now, nice to do ASAP, nice to do eventually.
Jul 26, 2022 10:24 AM
Replying to Kiron Bondale
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John -

I'd use a combination of percent AND absolute changes (for example, even if $1M is a small percentage of a $100M project, the absolute value of the change is meaningful).

Also, you'd want to include impacts to quality objectives (e.g. health, safety, performance), and expected benefits (e.g. erosion of profit or revenue).

And of course, include a section covering the risk impacts of the change such as new risks introduced, existing risks closed and existing risks whose probability or impact are materially changed.

Kiron
Thanks but I'm not sure what you mean by "the absolute value of the change"
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1 reply by Kiron Bondale
Jul 26, 2022 3:47 PM
Kiron Bondale
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John -

What I mean is that thresholds should include both a percentage (e.g. anything below 20% of the original budget) and an absolute value (e.g. anything over $1M). For example, if the change results in a cost increase of under 5% and under $5000 then the sponsor can approve it.

Kiron
Jul 26, 2022 2:08 PM
Replying to John Bacon
...
Thanks but I'm not sure what you mean by "the absolute value of the change"
John -

What I mean is that thresholds should include both a percentage (e.g. anything below 20% of the original budget) and an absolute value (e.g. anything over $1M). For example, if the change results in a cost increase of under 5% and under $5000 then the sponsor can approve it.

Kiron
So I came up with these Urgency Ratings/Descriptions that I think could be generic enough to apply to any type of change request that could occur in a project:

Very High: Change needs to be implemented within 30 days to avoid, or reduce adverse impacts or achieve positive benefits.

High: Change needs to be implemented within 45 days to avoid, or reduce adverse impacts or achieve positive benefits.

Medium: Change needs to be implemented within 60 days to avoid, or reduce adverse impacts or achieve positive benefits.

Low: Change needs to be implemented within 90 days to avoid, or reduce adverse impacts or achieve positive benefits.
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1 reply by Peter Rapin
Jul 31, 2022 8:37 PM
Peter Rapin
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One thing missing from the various comments is a need to identify the "window of opportunity" for any proposed change. It somewhat fits in with 'Urgency Rating' but it is important for the team and/or authorities to understand why or how a Priority Rating is determined. If the 'window of opportunity' is shorter than the time required for authorization one has to either fast forward (prioritize the approval rather than the actual change) or take it off the table. Don't want to put in the approval effort if the bus has already left the station when the go-ahead is obtained.
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