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Communicate and Implement Change Control and Issue Resolution Process

Change control and issue resolution procedures should be implemented during the Project Management and Control Phase and managed through the life of the project. Proper communications of procedures and expectations are critical to the success of this implementation.

Implement structured procedures for change control and issue resolution

Before procedures are implemented, a plan for communicating both the change control and issue resolution procedures to the project team should be developed. The plan should address the following:

  • The audience; this might include only the immediate project team, or may include a broader base of users and technical personnel involved in the project.
  • Format of presentation, such as project meeting, individual team meetings, video-taped session, or other presentation forum.
  • Materials to be distributed, such as physical procedures and forms or handouts.

Introducing vital project control procedures such as change control and issue resolution in an informal manner (for example an electronic mail broadcast) is not recommended as this tends to dilute the importance and criticality of the procedures.

Once the procedures have been implemented, the project manager is responsible for aiming to ensure the change requests and issues are managed effectively. The project manager should remain closely involved with the process to aim to ensure requested changes are analysed and acted upon in a timely manner and to facilitate the timely resolution of project issues.

Issues are often less tangible than changes, particularly where work performance or relationships are involved. Therefore, the project manager needs to exercise judgment when determining the extent to which a perceived issue is truly impeding project progress, and the level at which to document and publicise it.

The resolution of an issue may result in a change request. For example, an issue might be a user’s observation during testing that response time is slow. As a result of the issue resolution process, the need for program changes might be identified. Thus, the issue is resolved by documenting a change request and following the guidelines set forth in the change control procedure.

Unresolved issues often absorb a tremendous amount of project management time and effort. The project manager should deal within the framework of organisational politics to resolve project-related issues. Unresolved issues may lead to:

  • Individuals resolving issues on their own, without proper authority and without complete information.
  • Small issues growing into large problems.