Project change control is the most important part of project management because nothing ever goes completely according to plan. This is an area that requires a lot of agile thinking and the ability to critically think on your feet without much direction. When you start any project, there are unforeseen obstacles that are guaranteed to show up along the way and the only way to remedy that is to know how to move with those hurdles and leverage them to your advantage as quickly as you can. Change control is the formal process that goes with that aspect of project management and having the system for how to handle change set up before the problems actually begin will prevent any clogging up of the process when the project progresses to these trickier areas.
The process in place needs to start with the actual change request. Understanding what the request is and how it will need to be built out, tested, analyzed and implemented will determine how you manage the project moving forward. Trying to skip steps or work the plan out of order will result in chaos and miscommunication which will lead to a failed implementation and that can cost you and your business big. Defining the steps that need to happen between the request being made and the change being implemented is the only way to know exactly how the project needs to be managed in each stage and without it you will be floundering. The other part of the equation is going to be having the right project manager in place to oversee it.
A project manager should be involved from the moment that the change request happens. This should be the go-to person involved in creating the plan so that he or she can set up the communication channels that will be necessary along the way to deal with IT or Human Resources or any other team in the business who will need to be involved as the change is being created and implemented. The project manager will be the connective tissue throughout the process so that nothing gets misunderstood and nobody is left in the dark. This way there is no chance of IT giving the wrong information to the sales team or the sales team giving the wrong information to the procurement or production teams because everything in the process will flow through the project manager.
Any aspect of change control is going to require a meticulous and tightly built process and the addition of a point person to manage it will only improve matters further. As you go into the stages of how to get a change request implemented, keep this in mind and do what you can to select the right person for the job who can manage as well as think on their feet. This could be what saves your business and keeps your vision in clear view of all team members working to implement the change.
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