Impact Analysis

Last week we were doing an internal project assurance on some projects. One of the PM was taking into consideration to show the client the need to perform some changes on the project scope.

To mention these changes was the only thing he got ready for that internal session, previous to the customer meeting.

We were talking about the proposition and the impact that this change had on the project. The PM shouldn’t know why it was necessary, he thought it should be done when the client requests the change.

The theory about change management process talks about some steps on the change management process. In addition our methodology helps us with a proposed form to be filled when this process is launch.

The mistake in this case was that it’s on the clients review meetings where this customer revision is done, and at that event is when you as PM has to get ready all the information related to the change; in order the customer reviews the different options available and the impact on the product and the project.

For me the 4 natural steps for manage a change are:

  • Evaluate the impact of the change, taking into account the triple constraint, the product and the stakeholders.
  • Create options and the consequences of these options and how they affect to concepts mentioned above.
  • Review internally with team and management.
  • Show the proposed change to the customer with the assesment, options, pros, cons…

In addition, if we focus on impact analysis, we can launch the typical questions:

  • What are the implications of the proposed change? On scope, on schedule, on budget, on quality,
  • Is now the appropiate time on the project to perform this proposed change? Early changes are usually cheaper that a change at the end of the project.
  • Which system elements are affected by the proposed change?
  • How this change will be introduced into the project plan?
  • Does this chage affects to project buys?
  • Are all the stakeholders opened to perform this change? what are these consequences?
  • Is really necessary the change? sometimes external factors push us to perform a change and the better option is do nothing.
  • Are the consequences of the change worse than to continue without change?

There are other questions to answer, but these are those which comes to my mind now.

To finish, I would like to remember how important is to perform an accurately communications with respect “changes” on a project. Usually a customer doesn’t want to listen is that there are problems that require changes. Other times, they are provoking the change, but they prefer you perform internal changes that does not imply them. I try to walk carefully on this.

Have a good day!

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