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What to do when you receive a project change request

Julie Lord

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Learning how to deal with changes is something that is taught on everything from the APM Project Fundamentals course to the PMP training course. Unfortunately, change is a common factor of virtually all projects. You have to be extremely lucky to start and finish a project without being requested to change anything or alter the objectives. Keeping that in mind, we have put together the steps that are involved when receiving a project change request.

  1. You receive a project change request – Of course, the first thing that will occur is that you will receive a project change request. Someone involved in the project will ask you to alter something. You will need this request in writing, and you will also need as much detail as possible from them in the form of supporting materials, be it estimates from developers or quotes for additional equipment.
  2. Note the request in the change log – All project managers are advised to set up a change log. This is a straightforward and easy-to-use document whereby all changes are noted, as well as any activities implemented to evaluate changes. You will need to write down details regarding the request you have received in this document.
  3. Determine how important this request is in terms of your priorities

    The next step is to determine the level of priority this change request justifies. If the change is simply a suggestion that would be ‘nice to have’ but is not critical to the project, then there really is no sense of urgency regarding this. However, if the change is critical, and every second that is wasted is having a negative impact on yo

    ur project, you need to mark this as something that needs to be dealt with immediately.

    Remember, that someone’s ‘nice to have’ and ‘urgent’ is different to someone else’s, which is why you need to define each category clearly so that everyone is on the same page.
  4. Evaluate the change – You now need to get the team together to assess the change. You should attempt to use the same criteria when assessing all changes. You need to decipher whether you are going to reject the change or approve it. Think about what would happen if the change were not implemented. This is vital, as in some cases you can have more of an impact by not doing something than actually doing it.
  5. Make your final decision – Now you should have all of the information and opinions required to make an informed decision regarding whether to reject to approve the change request. Once you have decided, make sure all stakeholders and anyone else that is impacted by the change is informed of it. After this, amend all appropriate documents and update the change log with the outcome and the reasons for this.

If you follow the process above every time you receive a change request, you should have no trouble handling it efficiently and ensuring that you come to the right decision in the end. For further help, consider project management training .


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