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Project Change Control Step 1: Document the Change

July 16, 2011 - Project Management

Last December, Donald Sears wrote a thought-provoking blog post on the danger of focusing too much on project deliverables vs. objectives.  In this post, he stated:

Teams and project managers can easily lose perspective while deliverables become meaningless check boxes of work completed.

project documentationWhile I absolutely agree that danger exists (we’re struggling with that very situation at work right now), unfortunately deliverables that end in words like “log” and “request” are frequently automatically bucketed into the Meaningless category.  Technical project managers, anxious to get to project execution, sometimes shortcut effective planning and project management activities.

Deliverables addressing project change control take the subjectivity out of project changes, and enable the project team to make decisions on changes efficiently and effectively.  The two most important project change control deliverables are:

  • Project Change Request
  • Change Control Log

As you can probably guess, the Project Change Request documents the change in detail, and the Change Control Log keeps a higher level master list of all the changes requested and their status (Rejected, Approved, In Progress, Complete, etc).

There are several good templates available out on the web for both of these documents.

Project Change Request templates

Helbig Consulting
International Institute for Learning, Inc.
The Project Manager’s Tool Bag

Change Control Log templates

Microsoft Office.com
The Project Manager’s Tool Bag
Qatar National Project Management (QNPM)

The next step in project change control is to analyze the impact of the change being requested.  This impact to the project’s schedule and/or budget is typically documented along with the original request details in the Project Change Request document.  Analyzing the change impact will be the topic of the next post in this 5-part blog series on project change control.

Project Change Control blog series

  1. Introduction
  2. Document the change
  3. Analyze the impact
  4. Approve the change
  5. Re-baseline the project

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