Management of Expectations and Change Control

It is important to complete projects on time. However, a baseline can only be established if you are able to hold yourself accountable for it. The context and the way expectations are managed will impact the definition of “on-time”.
Projects are subject to change, and most of it is poorly managed. If there is no formal change management to update the baseline, scope creep will only occur when the project’s scope grows. Once real changes have been approved by a valid Configuration Board (CCB), the process around those changes must be updated in the project baseline.
These are two scenarios that will undoubtedly increase in scope as the project progresses.
Scenario 1 – No/poor formal change control
As the project progresses the customer discovers more scope that they want to add to the project. The project manager accepts the new scope and plans to “fit it in” somewhere. The customer’s expectation for delivery date has not changed, even though a log is kept to record the additional scope. They expected the product would be delivered by October 15. The due date is getting closer and the project either misses it or cuts corners in testing or other areas to deliver on time.
Scenario 2 – Good formal change control
As the project progresses the customer discovers that there is more scope they would like to add to the project. To fully understand the customer’s needs, the project manager and his team work closely with them. Additional scope will incur additional costs. Additional scope will increase the cost. The customer must decide whether time delivery is more important (time-constrained projects) or if the delivery deadline can be extended to accommodate additional scope. To finish more work within the same time frame, extra resources (or overtime costs) will be required if the project is time-constrained.
The project team and the customer perform an impact analysis together to determine how much extra work is required, how long it will take and how much it will cost. No matter what the outcome, customer expectations have been updated to reflect a new baseline delivery date and cost. The CCB has the option to approve or reject the change request, and either continue as planned.
—————– In both of the above scenarios, the same scope was used. Scenario 1 will result in a project that is late or with a sudden decrease in functionality or quality. This project is late because expectations were not updated. Scenario 2 may show that the project is delivered later than the ORIGINAL baseline. However, good change control and management has been in place to ensure that the TRUE baseline is updated to reflect customer choices and the actual project. This project is not late, at least not because of expectations problems.
If you work in aerospace, like I do, and you are working towards a launch date for your aircraft, you must be punctual. It is crucial to manage customer expectations and change effectively on a project with limited time.

Management of Expectations and Change Control
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