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Guideline for a Simple Change Control Process


Quick Summary
Screenshot This document provides an example of using lightweight process and simple forms to implement change control on critical project documents without creating a bureaucratic mess.


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What this is

A simple set of guidelines a team can use to indicate which project documents should be put under project/program level change control and when it should happen. This process was created by an IT organization, but is applicable to any group. The wording of the steps (for example, which documents should go under control at which project stages) can easily be tweaked for any type of project.


Why it's useful

Project documents are rarely static, but uncontrolled changes can have major impacts. A change in one aspect of a project may have significant impacts on other areas of work, either simultaneous or downstream. For example, a design change after the initial review and sign-off could require major changes in the testing approach and schedule. Other changes may impact overall project goals, like major schedule impacts, budget impacts, or scope changes. In these situations, proper change control has several advantages:

This process outline shows how one team implemented a lightweight change control process that allowed them to monitor and communicate important impacts without burying the team in paperwork over trivial changes.


How to use it

  1. Review the suggested process and determine any adjustments necessary to using it in your environment.
  2. Define what is considered a "significant" or "material" change, with input from the project sponsor. A common metric is any change that will adversely affect cost, timeline, or resource required for an affected major area of the project, or the overall project, by 10 percent or more. (This is the standard used in the document example.) For some project environments this might be over control, for others it might be too lax. Set the threshold with your sponsor and team based on what is appropriate for your environment.
  3. Establish the appropriate change control guidelines and process with your team and sponsor early in the project. For example, at some point fairly early in the timeline, your project charter should be under change control, so any change to project goals gets appropriate visibility and review for impacts to work already underway. Other documents will go under control later in the project. The team should determine what makes sense.

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Related Templates
User Impact Assessment (IT)
This template guides the team through an assessment of the user impacts of technology changes, to enable better planning and communication and a smoother deployment experience for everyone.

Project Stakeholder/Influencer Assessment and Communication Plan
Use this assessment form to identify the individuals and groups that may influence your project outcomes—stakeholders, information sources, even other PMs—assess their potential impact (for better or worse) and document your plans for how and when to communicate with them.

Change Control Form
A form for requesting and documenting changes to the project (e.g. adding new features) or to elements within the project (such as changing a major spec of a piece of a system, product, or other deliverable).

Impact Analysis
An Impact Analysis will help you capture and evaluate the impacts, both positive and negative, of a given solution or change on a project.





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