Handling Change Request Made Easy – Venkatesh P

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Handling Change Request Made Easy – Venkatesh P

As the saying goes “Nothing is permanent except change”.

This statement stands true for every aspect of life, be it people, places or things. Unfortunately, not everyone accepts change as it is and tries to resist or avoid it. To bring about or even handle change is not smooth sailing.

In a formal world, the usage of courteous words to the stakeholders will help you accomplish any demanding tasks and one such word is ‘Request’. How can you make a request for change and implement it efficiently?

What is ‘Change Request’ in (what context)?

The change request is ‘A formally submitted document or statement that is used to track all stakeholder requests (including new features, enhancement requests, defects, changed requirements, etc.) along with related status information throughout the project life cycle’. The purpose of the change request differs from one vertical (Construction) to another (Information Technology) but the objective is to replace or substitute some aspect of the process with another. Some requests are easy to accommodate while others lead to the complete rework of a process.

A real-life scenario is something like this:

  • Any stakeholder on the project can submit a Change Request and then the project status changes from ‘New’ to ‘Waiting for Approval’.
  • • The Authorised person (Say Project Manager) gets notified and he/she reviews the change request upon which he/she either accepts or declines it based on the scope, priority, level of risk, severity and numerous other criteria.
  • If the request is declined due to inadequacy of information, then it can be reopened and reviewed.
  • Once a change request is accepted then the project status changes from ‘Waiting for Approval’ to ‘In Progress’.
  • Then the authorised person assigns and schedules work to complete the request.
  • Once the assigned member completes the work, the status moves to ‘Complete’.
  • The stakeholder who raised the request will approve the work as ‘Resolved’ on satisfactory fulfilment of the request and the status changes to ‘Complete’.
    • When to raise a change request?

      Requisition for a change can be made at any time until you’re completely convinced about the output. But personally, I think change requests must be made cautiously as there’s quite a lot of work to be put into it.

      For instance:

      • Bob wants to change the floor plan design of his new house. Then he has to intimate the changes to the builder before the construction starts.
      • If the planning engineer wants to reduce the diameter of the bottle’s mouth then he/she has to intimate the changes to the production department before scheduling for production.

      Every action has a consequence and therefore, the change must be raised before the undertaking of a certain action which may be difficult to undo.

      In what ways can a change request impact any process?

      Major elements that impact a process due to changes are time, cost and value.

      Time:

      • The effect may be direct or indirect.
      • Indirect when the change can cause revisions to the time and sequence of the process.
      • Direct when the changed activities themselves suffer from revised timing or a change to one activity causes revisions to the timing and/or sequence of other activities.

      Cost:

      • Change can increase or decrease the total cost of the project.
      • Again, the effect may be direct, which means that the cost of the changed activities themselves are revised.
      • Indirect when a change to one activity causes revisions to the cost of undertaking other activities.

      Value:

      • Value meaning the amount of money quoted for undertaking the work.
      • It is quite different from cost and indeed needs to be higher in order to contribute profit to the business

      How to manage change request?

      Change is unavoidable, but it shouldn’t be an impediment to accomplishing a planned task. So, how do we manage change request efficiently? The only solution is to stick to the basics. If you’re not sure what that means then read on.

      • The first and foremost point is that one entity must clearly explain its requirement and the other entity must fully understand these requirements at the initial stage itself. This could drastically reduce the number of change requests (Although I said I would be talking about how to manage change requests, I thought this is important to point out!)
      • Both entities must be aware and well informed about the scope of work before raising, accepting or declining a change request.
      • The one who receives the change request must analyse it until it’s crystal clear and then document it. When you document it, make sure you don’t miss out on any details.
      • Standardise the form for change request and make it mandatory to accept the requisition only when it is submitted through the form.
      • You’re not obliged to accept every change request. One has to assess the impact of the change and decide accordingly. This involves calculating your risks.
      • If you would like to reject the request, the requester must be informed of the valid reason for you to do so. Without doing this, you could run into bigger project risks as you progress with work.
      • If you accept the request, write down the plan to implement it efficiently considering the time, cost and value factors.

      Change request is more about how you calculate risks, assess your project elements, factors impacting it and making an informed decision.

      “They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.” ― Andy Warhol

As the saying goes “Nothing is permanent except change”.
This statement stands true for every aspect of life, be it people, places or things. Unfortunately, not everyone accepts change as it is and tries to resist or avoid it. To bring about or even handle change is not smooth sailing.

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