Get Control Over Change Control

Posted by Megan Cacioppo on November 3, 2016

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Managing change can be one of the greatest hurdles to overcome in achieving project success. A single budget change can set off a seemingly endless string of events – requiring reviews and approvals from dozens of project personnel. And if you’re working on large, multi-million dollar projects like most government contractors that burden increases exponentially.

The good news is that there is a simple way that companies can overcome the burden of dealing with change control. The answer lies in implementing a software-based automated workflow that allows teams to save time, protect against user errors and provide highly accurate (and auditable!) data around which projects can be managed.

But before we dive into how companies can implement software-based automation, let’s first take a look at a traditional process for handling a budget change.

  • Step 1: There is a change to the project’s baseline budget. The project manager (PM) issues a budget change request (BCR) which must be signed by up to a dozen personnel in some cases.
  • Step 2: The PM creates an “as-is” budget and a “to-be” budget, which includes a description of the new work scope of how the new monies will be spent along with the resources that will be used.
  • Step 3: All of the personnel involved in reviewing and approving the change must pause and participate in the change process. Depending on the amount of information they receive, this can turn into a lengthy time of discussion and information gathering.
  • Step 4: Teams attempt to get their changes approved and applied to the live project in a timely manner. However, as time continues, the project continues until the change process is complete and implemented. The longer the process takes, the more the project is at risk of the change becoming outdated or time moving into the next fiscal period in which case the team is faced with a possible retro-active change situation or having to start the change over again from the beginning.
  • Step 5: The change must be coordinated across the entire project team. On large, multi-million dollar projects there may be as many as 60 control account managers (CAMs), each working with different parts of the schedule. Each CAM may be handling 50 or more changes at a time, requiring seemingly endless work authorization documents (WADs).
  • Step 6: Finally, once changes have been approved and implemented, a new or updated baseline must be set, schedules must be reworked accordingly and new work orders must be issued and implemented. Unfortunately, many companies do not take this final step as it can be too complex and cumbersome using today’s manual program management tools.

Even the overly-simplified list of steps above is still incredibly complex. So what are project teams to do? That brings me back to implementing a software-based automated workflow.

One software-based automated workflow solution is Deltek PM Compass. PM Compass completely streamlines the change process. It starts with the ability to track changes of all types—internal and external; and once a change is logged, PM Compass alerts the project team that a change is in process. PM Compass then automatically sets a new baseline, models new work, issues WADs, and kicks things off using its automated workflow tool. All CAMs are alerted, and involved, throughout the entire process. And because all changes go through the single system, every change is audited and all corresponding change-approval signatures are kept in one place.

The end-game value is this: PM Compass provides paperless change control. It drives your change management processes through sophisticated workflow capabilities, functioning on the principle that change within a project is inevitable. Meaning, your Program Management solution should assist in driving change rather than ignoring it.

If you’re interested in learning more about PM Compass, I encourage you to download our white paper, Getting Control of Change Control, or contact one of our representatives for a personalized demonstration.