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Ruminations on Change Control October 22, 2014

Posted by Edwin Ritter in Project Management.
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It seems that no matter how much project experience you have, how talented your team is and how simple or complex a project is, there is one thing that will always be constant and that is change.

Previous posts of mine have dealt with setting up projects, closed loop feedback and the value of PMOs. Another basic process to define and get agreement on while setting up a project is how to handle change. The concept again applies to ITIL, Project Management and Lean Six Sigma areas. The level of process to use in review and accept/deny changes can be proportional to the complexity of the project. Simple projects don’t have many changes while complex projects can have multiple changes. This relates to the fact that we make decisions and plans at a point in time. As the project goes forward and we get smarter in the future, we may need to revise our plans and that can lead to change.

programming-change-management-processIn fact, during the planning phase, the process details should be documented to submit a change, review and assess the impact to the project. There are as many ways to deal with change as there are organizations. Having a consistent way to deal with and manage change(s) to a project is essential when change occurs. This chart illustrates the basic concepts as just one example of the process.  Using a common repository, change log or application to create the change record is a good practice also.

The PM works with the project team to provide an impact assessment and a recommendation on the change.  That decision should be reviewed with the sponsors. Each change should be assessed for impact to the schedule, resources and budget. Here are six steps to control change:

  1. Record / Classify – capture the request and indicate what area(s) of the project are affected
  2. Assess – review the impact to the cost, schedule and resources to implement
  3. Plan – update project documents as appropriate based on the assessment
  4. Build / Test – execute the change and determine effect to the rest of the project deliverables
  5. Implement – include as part of the project deliverables and release at go-live
  6. Close / Gain Acceptance – complete the documentation on the request and communicate with the team and stakeholders.

Using the process framework provides a way to control changes for a project and the rate at which changes are generated.  Here is where the process helps in that it provides a way to accept or deny changes. Completing an assessment of the change and updating plans result in data to support the resolution to the change request. Not all changes are created equally. Some can be rejected outright and from other requests, it is clear to see the benefits.

Last, during project wrap-up and lessons learned, the number of changes submitted and their resolution can provide some interesting insights. How many were submitted? Accepted? Did the changes requested indicate a gap with requirements? Was the project not planned properly? Was the design not fully thought out? Those questions and others can lead to animated discussions. The key is which ones to action and improve on going forward.

Of course, that could be a change request also. How do you manage  and control change? Does the process impact your project in a big way? What happens if you reject a change? Comments invited.

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Ramblings on positive change September 22, 2013

Posted by Edwin Ritter in Behavior, career.
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Since my last post, I have gone through some changes. Changes in employment and changes in location. It came about fairly quickly, now that I have some time to reflect on it. I recently found a position as a project manager and am part of a web development group once again.

Life-Change

I am fortunate to have so many good people in my life. My family has been 100% supportive. I have great friends who wished me well and their help is only a phone call or email away. I have but to ask. That support makes the transition much easier.

Taking this new job required relocating out of state. Not something I had intended initially. For many reasons outside of my control, the job I wanted was not available locally. I have been solicited to work in many areas around the country but held out for an opportunity that was in my home town. Keep the other aspects of my life the same. Did not work out that way this time around. Over the last 5 years, I have had several career changes. Most of those were outside my control in terms of duration.

change_exitAs for the work, it feels good to be back in many ways. Good to be working again. Good to be with an IT team that works closely with Marketing.  Like any new job, it takes some time to get settled. Get up to speed. Learn the ropes. More shop worn cliches. There are some interesting challenges ahead. I firmly expect to have an impact and be able to help my new team. I already know they will listen. That makes things so much easier. In my first week, I have already established my skills and experience. Here the biggest change is people are willing to accept it. That has not always been true in the past.

Going forward, more changes will be dealt with. In both the personal and professional facets, I will have good people to work through any and all changes that come my way.

I am most grateful for that and hope that never changes!

Social Media use in B2B – Case Study & Results August 31, 2009

Posted by Edwin Ritter in Trends.
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Found this from a post on a LinkedIn group I subscribe to. Interesting account on how Twitter and other SM tools were used for a  recent B2B initiative. Includes Lessons Learned that are worth reading. Here’s the link.

Take aways include :

  1. There is a learning curve – don’t underestimate
  2. Training for new skills -have them before you need them
  3. Not as bad as it seems – the worst did not happen
  4. Catch up to competition – SM provided increased visibility with others and crowded the landscape a little more
  5. Blurred lines – between internal groups on who does what.
  6. Manage from the middle – very interesting concept similar to having decision made by those closest to the work. Trust your staff has the right skills and experience. Don’t wordsmith – not a good use of your time!

It’s great that the lessons learned are added here. Will B2B have increased use of SM? How does that change current SM practices?

Chapter close and new beginning April 1, 2009

Posted by Edwin Ritter in career.
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Some random thoughts as I go through a new phase.

While it is April Fool’s today,  my mood is more on the somber side. I like the  humor, surprise and reaction involved with practical jokes.  But, today I have a different topic to focus on.

I bid Adieu to many colleagues at work today. All were  sad, a few even cried. I didn’t realize I had that kind of impact on people outside my family. But then, we are always our own harshest critics.  I am definitely respected as a good, honest person and I will definitely be missed at my last job. Both by those who explicitly said so and also by those who silently acknowledge my efforts and contributions. For those I talked to directly, I passed out business cards so I can stay in contact (or, they with me) as our paths diverge from this point forward.

So that chapter closes. On to a new start – wide open with possibilities. Again having to answer the proverbial “What do you want to be when you grow up?” My answer is ‘It Depends’.

For the blue sky vista option, I could do anything – start a consulting business, partner with another entrepreneur.  I could teach – transfer my knowledge and skills to others.  Both involve ‘getting out’ more and that would be a good thing. Brain surgery, base jumping or skydiving instructor is not on part of the vista.

By getting out, I mean interacting more so than in the past.  I’m socially capable and acceptable. It’s just that most of my recent work is cyclical – meet to collect/exchange ideas, use think/soak time to define proposals and then reconvene. Then repeat as needed until fini. That’s OK – with some small scale travel (e.g. – local) for variation.

Other options  are still in process. Staying positive and moving forward in this new phase. The default includes – do things of interest that make a difference and pay well. I’ve heard the saw about Project Management – optimize on any two from good, fast and cheap. Can’t do all three.  I think I can optimize on these 3 – interest, difference and compensation. It is a new possible beginning.     How this begins is in my control and that is exciting – looking forward to meeting those who will begin this chapter with me.