Changes in a project with a fixed scope and budget? ‘That’s not possible.’ As a client, you’ve probably heard this answer from your development team. But you also know that “somehow it always gets done.” So how do you make sure your change is accepted and the entire change process goes smoothly? We’ve prepared an effective 5-step guide on how to request a change to an already approved project and how to do everything you can to get your change request approved.
Change is a constant: Change management in 5 steps
Create a Request for change (RFC)
The most common way to request a change in a fixed-time fixed-price (FTFP) project is to fill out a change request form or enter the information for your request in the change log. These will be created for you by the project manager and should be easily accessible to you. The form itself will ask you for a lot of details that you need to fill in carefully. In simple terms, the more information you provide to the project manager, the better chance you have of getting your change approved and implemented.
On the form, distinguish whether your request is:
- or emergency.
Prioritize your change request by:
⭐Tip: Highlight the benefits of your change for the project. Who will benefit and ideally estimate how much (money or time saved, higher quality, etc.). Justify your request and focus on the value it will bring.
Conduct a basic impact analysis
Add to your change request the impact your change will have on the project. In particular, consider the following areas:
- money and other resources (labor, materials)
- scope of the project
- the quality of the product to be delivered
- project risks
In any case, the project team (especially the business analyst) conducts its own impact analysis, which is crucial for the final decision.
On top of that, don’t forget to mention what happens if your change request is not approved. Will the project delivery be delayed? Will there be continued problems with the supplier? Will the project become 20% more expensive?
Here, you as a client are in the passive position of an observer. Decisions are often made by the project sponsor.
If your change request is rejected, you should also receive a justification. If it is approved, then the project manager will incorporate your request into the project plan and let you know when the team will implement the change.
Your requested change is approved. But you’re not completely out of the woods yet. The project manager can modify your change request so that the actual change fits better with the reality of the project.
Review and report
The project team monitors all changes in the project and learns from the successful, but mainly from the unsuccessful implementation of changes. You are likely to read the evaluation in your regular report.
Change is a constant of life. And of the project. On the best-planned project, you can’t avoid change anyway. Projects with a fixed scope and budget are often long-term, and the world around us changes too quickly for what we planned a year ago to hold up today. So changing a tightly planned project is often not only possible, but necessary. And now you know how to request a change in a way that brings the most value to the project.