Some people fear change, but in IT, sometimes it is unavoidable. Some changes are relatively minor and are tweaks to requirements that are already agreed upon. For small changes that take less than an hour we try and implement them as quickly as possible for the client. Some changes are much larger and can change the cost and estimated release date of your project. Here are some tips on how to manage large change requests in your project:
- Be absolutely sure you understand the change request that is being made. Misunderstandings cost time and money. This applies to small or large changes. If necessary ask your client to put the change in writing and explain as thoroughly as they can.
- ALL changes should be documented. This applies to small or large changes as well. In a complex project with many team members, what goes undocumented, will be forgotten. If you use project management software like we do, teach your stakeholders how to use it so they can submit their changes directly, and all communication about that change request will be viewable for the whole team.
- Once a change is submitted, asses the risk (if any) associated with that change, and discuss it with the client. What change will this have on the functionality of the application being designed? Will this affect the users in a negative way? What impact will this change have on the project budget and/or release date?
- When risk is assessed and the change is approved by stakeholders and the team, determine the priority of the change. Is it more important than tasks that are currently under way? Can this change wait or should it be implemented immediately?
In conclusion all change requests should be properly defined, documented, assessed for risk and prioritized. If you stick to these 4 key points when managing the change requests you receive, you will make your team’s life infinitely easier and most importantly you will keep your clients happy.