How to track changes in a project?

Recently, we covered the effective tips for gathering functional requirements of a project on our blog and in this week we are going to present some useful tips to track changes in a project. Changes that are likely to occur in your gathered requirements in later stages of the project.

If someone of you expecting a project to run smoothly without facing any problems, we strongly recommend revisiting the basics of project management as you probably missing the reason for the existence of this profession. Simply, projects will always have problems and to manage such issues, organizations hire project managers and adopt project management approaches.

Back to the tracking of changes in a project! Well suppose you locked the scope of work with the client and finalized the schedule to deliver that scope by assigning different tasks to your team, and you believe that everything is going to execute as per plan. That will be the worst mistake as a project manager as your plan going to face a lot of changes from different directions.

Qualification to start tracking of changes commendably in a project is first to realize and accept the change. As a project manager, if you are not open to welcome the changes, chances are that either you are not managing a project or not effectively managing a project.

Let’s discuss some useful tips in details about tracking changes in a project.

Consider baseline as critical deliverable

The baseline is actually referenced points that need to be defined at the end of the planning phase of a project. We create a baseline so we can measure the actual progress against the plan. It allows tracking the variances regarding scope, time or cost in same time.

For instance, you initially planned to finish a task in 10 days with one resource and due to any reason utilize two resources for finishing the same task in 10 days. In this case, if you did not baseline the plan at the end of planning, you will not be able to measure the additional resource impact.

Similarly, you locked your scope with a client in functional specification document can be considered as a baseline if you got approval/ acknowledgment of a client on it. So if you receive any change requests in later stages of the project, you can measure the change and react accordingly.

You can utilize project management tools like Microsoft Project or Primavera for baselining your schedule.

Set a mechanism for collecting updates

Being a project manager you have to set the mechanism or framework so your team can provide the required information that will enable you to track the changes in a project. You can do this by having regular team meetings or stand up sessions on a daily basis. Additionally, if you are managing a project remotely, you can set up a simple system online basis so your team can push updates while you sleeping.

Updates can be taken automatically through project management software such as Microsoft Project Server, but it needs a strong projected culture in the organization.

Scope creep

Above two tips can be considered for all kind of progress. But since we are talking about tracking the changes in a project means, tracking the changes in an agreed scope of a project. You will find a scope creep is the most difficult thing to manage because it actually happens in the planning phase and usually comes on the surface at the peak time of execution.

It becomes more difficult if you are managing a cross-functional team where no one formally reports to you in the hierarchy. For example, due to the enhanced functionality, product team decided to include latest products in the delivery without informing project manager to determine the several impacts of cost, time or quality.

Only survival to manage the scope creep to have a strong risk management skills. You have to be proactive about risks from initiation to closure phase of a project. It is like running at a double pace to finish a marathon, so you can welcome your competitors on the finish line.

Tracking the changes in a project can be challenging especially when you talk about changes related to the scope where measurement parameter are requirements you gathered. We believe above tips can give you some ease to track changes in a project. Please let us have your feedback or suggestions in following comments section of this post.

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