So far, in the article 'Project Change Management Process: Everything you need to know' we discussed a generic process for managing change and change requests specifically.  We’ve examined the flowchart for a three-step generic change management process and also viewed a sample generic change request form that will work well with most projects.  Now comes the next step - tracking these changes on an ongoing basis.  How do we do that?  What is required?  What level of detail should you capture?  All this depends, of course, on the project and what your customer may require of you.  Let’s look at this in more detail.

Tracking the Changes

The project manager needs a method for tracking the status of each change request. For projects that receive very few change requests, this isn’t much of an issue. However, some projects receive continual change requests and a formal system for tracking those change requests is required. This tracking is done via a change log. An example of a change log is shown below.

Tracking the changes
Each change request is given a number. The originator of the request is recorded and the change that is being requested is described. The date the change request is received and the date a decision on the request is required are noted as well. You can also add a column to designate the urgency of the request.

Next, record the impact-analysis results. Describe the changes that will be made to the scope. For schedule impact, indicate the number of days, weeks, or months that will be added or deleted from the schedule. For spending impact, show the amount of increased or decreased dollars in the budget. Finally, record the date the change was approved or disapproved.

If you have the date the change request was received and the date it was approved, you can calculate the cycle time for each change request - the time it takes from when a change request is received until a decision is made on whether to proceed with the change.

This essentially completes the discussion of a generic process for handling change on a project.  If you have information to add or other processes that have worked well for you, please feel free to comment and share them with our readers.