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Effective Software Project Management by Robert K. Wysocki Ph.D.

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Change Management

It is difficult for anyone, regardless of his or her skills at prediction and forecasting, to completely and accurately define the needs for a product or service that will be implemented 6, 12, or 18 months in the future. Competition, customer reactions, technology changes, a host of supplier-related situations, and many other factors could render a killer application obsolete before it can be implemented. The most frequent situation starts something like this: “Oh, I forgot to tell you that we will also need . . .” or “We have to go to market no later than the third quarter instead of the fourth quarter.” How often have you heard sentences that start something like those examples? Face it—change is a way of life in project management. Be prepared to act accordingly.

Because change is constant, a good project management methodology has a change management process in place. In effect, the change management process has you plan the project again. Think of it as a mini-project planning session.

Two documents are part of every good change management process: a project change request and project impact statement.

Project Change Request

The first principle to learn is that every change is a significant change. Adopt that maxim and you will seldom go wrong. What that means is that every change requested by the customer must be documented. That document might be as simple as a memo but might also follow a format provided by the project team. In any case, it is the start ...

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