PROJECT SCOPE, RESOURCES, AUTHORITY, AND CHANGE 1 Project Management Scope, Resources, Manager Authority, and Change Requests Loren Karl Schwappach Project Management Processes in Organizations, Colorado Technical University
PROJECT SCOPE, RESOURCES, AUTHORITY, AND CHANGE 2 AbstractThis paper is a discussion about project change approval and change management requestsystems. It covers who approves changes in a projects scope, resources, and overall changecontrol and explains a process management technique for controlling project changes.
PROJECT SCOPE, RESOURCES, AUTHORITY, AND CHANGE 3 Project Management Scope, Resources, Manager Authority, and Change Requests The majority of most projects will never be completed without various changes affectingthe projects initially designed plan (Kerzner, 2003). Changes often occur and can affect theprojects resource predictions and allocations and even drastically change the direction of theproject through project scope changes. Since most changes rarely involve increased projectresources and decreased project requirements formalized project change procedures and changeapproval authorities are critical to a projects success. According to Kerzner (2003), it wascommon place for Department of Defense contracts to underbid the original contract during thebidding phase to ensure awarding of a contract and then push forward a large amount of projectscope changes to increase contractual requirements (later determined critical for the project) andthus enact increased contract profits. Although there are often valid reasoning for performingchanges to a projects scope, resources, and deliverables, changes in scope should be avoided ifthey result in excessive scope change, noncompetitive final costs, immensely delayed investmentreturn, unworthy risks, insurmountable obstacles and complexity, legal or regulatory uncertainty,and or violations to a company’s policies, nondisclosure agreements, secrecy, and confidentiality(Kerzner, 2003) Many organizations believe that the project manager should not have completecontrol over a project due to invested interest. Kerzner (2003) and the PMBOK guide (A Guideto, 2008) disagree stating that although the project manager reports on progress changes to upperlevel project stake holders the project manager should be fully empowered and have finalauthority on project change management and incorporate a Change Control Board made up oforganizational leadership to aid the project manager in change approval (thus ensuring investedproject interests do not supersede organizational interests). I’m not sure how I would see this
PROJECT SCOPE, RESOURCES, AUTHORITY, AND CHANGE 4issue. As the project manager I would favor the PMBOK suggestion as an organizational leaderI’d be reluctant to hand over such far reaching control and thus the balancing act game is played.Project Scope The Project Management Body of Knowledge PMBOK guide (A Guide to, 2008) definesthe project scope to be contained within the planning process group. The projects scope isdefined after a project management plan is created and project requirements are collected. Theproject scope contains a detailed description of the project and product. The scope requires theinputs of a project charter, requirements document, and process assets. The project scope leadsprocess leads to the outputs of a project scope statement and project document updates.According to the PMBOK (A Guide to, 2008) the project sponsor (project champion andfinancial approving authority) plays a significant role with the project manager an variousstakeholders in determining the projects scope and ensuring that the scope matchesorganizational interests. The project sponsor also acts as the initial approval authority for theprojects scope. Project change requests may be requested by any project stakeholder. Changesin a projects scope must be approved or rejected by an authority within the project managementteam with the project manager having ultimate authority. Changes in project scope can havedevastating consequences to a project and should be deeply considered and managed beforeaction is applied. The project manager is given full authority for project scope changes becauseas project manager he / she is ultimately responsible for the success / failure of the project andshould be in constant good communication with organizational leadership and all projectstakeholders. Project change control is covered in section 4.5 of the PMBOK, section 5.5specifically addresses how to control the projects scope (A Guide to, 2008).Project Resources
PROJECT SCOPE, RESOURCES, AUTHORITY, AND CHANGE 5 According to the PMBOK (A Guide to, 2008) the project manager uses activity lists,attributes, calendars, environmental factors, and organizational process assets to develop activityresource requirements, resource breakdown structures and project update requirements. Theproject manager is hopefully assigned as the project resource change approval authority (in mostsuccessful projects where the project manager has the full authority he / she needs) looking fromthe project manager’s perspective. However, in most projects organizational executiveleadership either retains this authority or delegates the authority to organizational line managers.This can create increased complexity in the project manager’s job to control project dynamicsand changes. Project Change Management Systems provide particular benefits for managingchanges within a project.Project Manager Change Authority As stated in the previous project scope and resource sections of this post the projectmanager should be the ultimate change authority for the project. However project changes areoften approved or denied by the project management team and or other high level organizationalleadership. Most projects also include a Change Control Board with members such as the projectmanager, key executives, and high organizational stakeholders (like the project sponsor) thatformally approve or deny change requests.Change Management Request System (CMRS) The PMBOK (A Guide to, 2008) has a thoroughly developed set of processes forperforming, approving, and managing project change requests. Section 4.5 of the PMBOK (AGuide to, 2008) specifically covers project change control. Change control involves activitiessuch as influencing factors that could circumvent proper change control, reviewing, analyzing,and approving change request, managing approved changes, releasing only approved changes for
PROJECT SCOPE, RESOURCES, AUTHORITY, AND CHANGE 6incorporation, reviewing, approving, or denying actions, coordinating change actions, anddocumenting the change process. A formal change management system usually involves welldocumented change purpose reasoning, actions, activities, request number, and stakeholderapproval authorities (hopefully with final authority given to the project manager, however in thereal world other factors may place this authority in the hands of a parallel or higherorganizational level). Change requests should always be recorded in written form and enteredinto the change management system with estimations about the time, costs, and performanceimpacts. As previously mentioned the project Change Control Board (CCB) usually acts as theapproval authority for most projects (the project manager is the head of this board in our projectoriented dream world). Approved project changes usually require revised cost estimates, activitysequences, schedule dates, resource requirements, and risk response alternatives (A Guide to,2008). A good configuration management system (and one I would utilize) would requirechange/configuration identification, be available to incorporate status reporting, and auditing forafter action analysis. An amazing change management system would have superior efficiency,clear concise levels of reporting and managing changes, timely, and involve all necessarystakeholders that might have impact on a project. While scouring the internet I found one goodsite that balances change approval authority and lists seven steps required for creating a stressfree project change management process (A Total Project, n.d.). First the project mangerreceives a formal request for a project change (using a change request form). The projectmanager updates a project change log with the new request. The project manager looks at theprojects scope, budget, schedule, performance, and resources and evaluates the impact of thechange. For CCB determined minor impacts the project manager has complete authority toapprove / deny the change. For CCB determined major impacts the change is brought before the
PROJECT SCOPE, RESOURCES, AUTHORITY, AND CHANGE 7CCB. If there is a financial consideration to the change the project manager may be required toreceive project sponsor authorization (level preset by the sponsor and CCB). Finally the changeis approved (log updated, project team informed to start changes, plans and schedules areupdated, parties informed) or the change is refused (log updated and parties informed).Reasoning for CMRS technique Needless to say there is no perfect Change Management Request System (CMRS);however the more thought and detail spent monitoring change activities, risk, budget, time,scheduling, and resource reevaluations, and detailing the importance and purpose of the changeswill have increasingly positive impacts on a projects success. There are many CMRS plans andforms widely available on the internet. I looked at several of them while working on this postover the last couple of days and the ones that seem to be to most advantageous to me from theview point of a project manager include numerous levels of detail and complexity. As a projectmanager I would seek as much detail as possible, so long as the details were clear concise, anduseful for managing changes. However, there is often the problem of getting useless informationthat delays a project manager’s efficiency.
PROJECT SCOPE, RESOURCES, AUTHORITY, AND CHANGE 8 ReferencesA Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (4th ed.). (2008). Newtown Square, PA: Project Management Institute, Inc.A Total Project Change Management Process with no Stress (n.d.). In Product-ivity. Retrieved August 6, 2011, from http://product-ivity.com/project-change-management/Kerzner, H. (2003) Project management: A systems approach to planning, scheduling, and controlling (8th ed.). Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.