Because of the results of the force field analysis shown in Figure 7.5, Laurie asked the task force to conduct a root cause analysis of the errors that got into the client change request process. Figure 7.6 is the result. The conclusions are obvious. The change control board (CCB) is dysfunctional. It does not meet its obligation to equitably screen change requests, and it has become a political entity staffed by managers who apparently lack the skill to do their CCB job effectively. It has allowed too many change requests, many of which are not correctly or clearly defined, to reach the project team. This causes needless work by the project team and perhaps that is the reason they feel overburdened. This leads to the conclusion that perhaps the CCB should be disbanded or replaced by some other structure. The other conclusion is that the client does not respect the process but uses it with abandon. They must be made to recognize that a
change request takes away team member's time from real project work while they investigate the consequences and value of the impending change. If there is too much of that, it may compromise the project schedule and can certainly be a waste of scarce resources.
One solution is to do away with the CCB and have the client request go directly to the project manager. The project manager should meet with the client to make sure that the request is clearly and completely documented. The project manager may reject the request out of hand and communicate the action and the reason to the client. Alternatively, the project manager may assign one of the team members the task of conducting a project impact study and the appropriate action taken as a result. The current change control process is shown in Figure 7.7.
In this process the CCB is the link between the client and the project manager. If there are errors in the client request, it would seem that the CCB would pick them up and get them corrected before submitting the request to the project team for an impact study. This apparently is not happening and erroneous requests are finding there way to the project team. That requires the team to get
clarification from the client. Since the process does not make room for these clarifications, the communications links get muddied and it causes the project team to waste time. Clearly, the review procedures used by the CCB need to be revamped and tightened. When a request for an impact study reaches the project team, the change request must be complete and correct.
The revised scope change management process is shown in Figure 7.8.
The client needs to be made aware of the impact of a change request on the project resources. Frivolous requests require the use of a team member to conduct an investigation and communicate the alternatives. If this is not sufficient to reduce the number of requests, then the client can be charged for submitting change requests. There are several ways to do this that do not destroy a good and harmonious client relationship. A credit may be established as part of the project plan. The credit allows for a specific number of change requests without any payment assessed. After that has been used up, charges will begin for any future requests. Instead of charging the client for a request, a scope bank can be established. At the beginning of the project a credit is established in the scope bank that allows the client a number of prepaid requests. After the credit
has been used, any further change requests will result in a reprioritization of existing features and functions and a dropping of the low-end priorities to accommodate the new request. Both approaches can be effective. The task force successfully recommended a scope bank with a credit equivalent to 5% of the total task duration.
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What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.