No matter how carefully a project is planned, it is almost certain to be changed before completion. There are three basic causes for change in projects. Some changes result because planners erred in their initial assessment about how to achieve a given end or erred in their choice of the proper goal for the project. Technological uncertainty is the fundamental causal factor for either error. The foundation for a building must be changed because a preliminary geological study did not reveal a weakness in the structure of the ground on which the building will stand. An R & D project must be altered because metallurgical test results indicate another approach should be adopted. The project team becomes aware of a recent innovation that allows a faster, cheaper solution to the conformation of a new computer.

Other changes result because the client/user or project team learns more about the nature of the project deliverable or about the setting in which it is to be used An increase in user or team knowledge or sophistication is the primary factor leading to change. A computer program must be extended or rewritten because the user thinks of new uses for the software. Physicians request that intensive care units in a hospital be equipped with laminar air-flow control in order to accommodate patients highly subject to infection who might otherwise not be admissible in an ICU.:.. The fledgling audio-addict upgrades the specifications for a system to include very high frequencies so that his/her dog can enjoy the music, too.

A third source of change is the mandate. A new law is passed. A government ■ regulatory unit articulates a new policy. A trade association sets a new standard The parent organization of the user applies a new criterion for its purchases in other words, the rules of conduct for the project are altered. A state approved pollu-, tion control system must be adopted for each chemical refinery project. The state1,' government requires all new insurance policies to conform to a revised law specify-j ing that certain information must be given to potential purchasers. At times, maiv|| dates affect only priorities. The mandate in question might move a very importanjfi? customer to the "head of the line" for some scarce resource or service. '%

In Chapter 11, we discuss some procedures for controlling the process of changffi ing projects, but whatever the nature of the change, specifications of the deliver-ij ables must be altered, and the schedule and budget must be recalculated^ Obviously, negotiation will be required to develop new agreements between th©^ parties-at-interest to the project. These negotiations are difficult because most ofe the stakeholders will have a strong interest in maintaining the status quo. If the pro-j» posed change benefits the client and increases the cost of the project, the produce^ will try to sequester some of the user's potential benefit in the form of addedQ charges to offset the added cost. The client will, of course, resist. All parties musta» once again, seek a Pareto optimal solution—always a difficult task. %

Change by mandate raises an additional problem. Not only are the project's de-' liverables, budget, and schedule usually changed, the priorities of other projects are typically changed, too. Suddenly, a PM loses access to key resources, because thci are urgently required elsewhere. Key contributors to a project miss meetings or are unable to keep promised task-delivery dates. All too often, the PM's response to this state of affairs is anger and/or discouragement. Neither is appropriate.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

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.

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment