Keeping projects on time and on budget by keeping project changes in check

How we enabled a programme to assess the impact of a proposed change, and sort the good from the bad.

The situation

  • Pragmatic PMO was engaged to support a construction programme. The detailed design of later phases was left open to accommodate changing business needs.
  • As a result, the programme encountered many requests for enhancements to the original concept design: some of them useful; many more of them much less useful.

The target

  • We were asked to implement a process to capture project change requests, and to ensure that only appropriate requests were implemented, without holding up project delivery unnecessarily.

The approach

  • We devised a set of change control principles and a process in liaison with stakeholders (essentially an approved change request was required for changes likely to cause unfavourable cost or time impacts, but not for changes likely to have a beneficial impact).
  • We created a Change Register (in MS SharePoint®) to document the progress of requests through the process and their cumulative impact.
  • We held regular reviews of the Change Register, first to sense-check new requests for “reasonableness” before spending time and effort on evaluating impact, and then to approve or reject open change requests to minimise any delays.

The result

  • Using this approach, about a third of ~300 requests were rejected, representing ~£4m of inappropriate change.
  • Thus we enabled the programme to controlled costs and delivery without compromising quality or timescales.

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