Managing change effectively can be the difference between project success and project failure. For various reasons, major capital projects often involve the need to make decisions based on incomplete information, assumptions, and the personal experience of project professionals. As new information becomes available, change will occur. These changes can interrupt the flow of work, create delays, cause schedule slippage and inflate costs. Change within major capital projects can happen for any number of reasons, but one thing is guaranteed – change is inevitable and project teams must be prepared to deal with it effectively at any point within the project life cycle.
To adequately deal with change as it happens, project teams need to formulate a change management process early in front end planning. A great quote from the PwC paper entitled, “Successful capital projects: The integrated risk framework” sums this idea up succinctly:
“Without rigorous change management and change control processes that are strictly adhered to by all parties, project teams will grapple with problems that could have been prevented. A proactive versus reactive management approach, and a consistent, timely identiﬁcation and management of potential issues enables the team to understand the interrelationship among all project elements.”
Information Control, Communication and Process:
As with all successful project management, effective change management can be established by adhering to a healthy balance between identifying the right people, creating a well-defined process that determines who does what, where, when, how and why, and finally, selecting the right tools to enable those people and processes.
Change management is essentially a communication management problem. In order to be successful, the tools and techniques to support change management must provide:
- Proper information management
- Transparent communication channels
- A well-defined and consistently followed process
The ability to gather and share all information needed to evaluate a change will enable project managers and approvers to make informed decisions. By communicating change requests efficiently, and following standard practice every time to ensure consistency, project teams will prevent rework and lost time. As part of this communication process, it is a good idea to integrate change management directly with document management as this will allow a similar level of control as is applied to engineering documents and will maintain clear relationships to related project records. Greater control, visibility, and process around change are important for maintaining safety and information compliance requirements throughout the project. The dynamics created by change can be complex, requiring diligence throughout every phase of a project. Poor change management has the potential for substantial negative downstream effects so the final piece of the People-Process-System puzzle involves selecting a tool that will streamline, enable, and automate change management.
A system like Coreworx Change Management will improve information control, enable process, and ultimately improve communication regarding change within the project. Automated workflows ensure the right people are informed of changes quickly and a preliminary assessment of potential impact readies the change request for approval or rejection. All affected parties are kept informed of the change status and real-time monitoring of key metrics gives stakeholders complete visibility into every change. A detailed audit trail of events and performers also ensures traceability is available for every change.
Change is inevitable. Change will happen. When change management is mishandled, the consequences can be dramatic – costing time, costing money, and adding undue stress to all involved. Successful change management hinges on having the right people, the right processes, and finally the right tools to manage and enable the process and the people. We’re happy to help.
If you are interested in hearing more about our experience helping our clients manage change, drop us a line or give us a call at: email@example.com or 519-772-3181