Development Cooperation Handbook/Designing and Executing Projects/Project Execution and Control/Manage Change Control Process

Manage Change Process Purpose

The actions plan should be is the reference meter for the for budget and schedule. After the initial iterative planning process, the plan must be frozen, i.e. the executing team should not be able to modify it without the prior consultation and approval from the major stakeholders and sponsors who agreed to the project plan. Therefore it is advisable if the project plan considers also the standard procedures for authorization of changes in the project scope, budget, schedule.

A fundamental of project management is that :

  • a good deal of managerial autonomy (from institutional superiors) is given to the project manager to lead the project team to implement the Project Plan Document, in order to deliver the project results according the methodology indicated in the plan and within the cost and time limits thereby defined;
  • the project manager and the project team have no authority to change project scope and methodology, nor to increase budget and time allocations and that for whatever modification to the project plan they have to get the approval of the other stakeholders through a previously defined change process.

While managing issues the project manager documents and reports all the issues (using the Project Issues Log Template) that have an impact on the project scope or methodology, or lead to an increase of the agreed budget or shedules. These issues will require to undertake the procedures of change process.

In the methodology section of the Project Plan Document there can be a sub-section dealing with the process for managing change processes. If not it would be a good idea to agree on this procedures at a early phase of project execution. So when then the need for change will occur there will already be an agreed pattern of how to bring changes to the Project Plan Document. The change control process plan describes:

  • When a formal change to the Project Plan is required;
  • How requests for change will be initiated
  • How requests for change will be analyzed to determine if they are beneficial to the project
  • The process to approve or reject change requests
  • Eventually, how donors and sponsors will be involved to eventually finance the approved changes.

The project team should NEVER change the activities agreed and documented in the Project Plan without first obtaining all approval signatures required in the change process procedures.

Changes that do not affect the project scope, methodology and budget as agreed in the Project Plan do not need to follow the formal change control process, but should be documented in the Project Status Report or any other appropriate communication mechanism. However, for all changes that impact the project scope and allocations of budget and time it is vitally important for the Project Manager to implement and manage the change control process in every situation.

Although changes can be expected to occur throughout every project phase, any negative effect on the project outcome should be avoidable if the change control process is executed and managed effectively. The need for change is usually discovered during Project Execution, as actual task work is being performed.

Beneficiaries may realize that the outputs being delivered to them do not are not exactly what they required in order to be empowered to contribute to the achievement of project objectives. It is the responsibility of the Project Manager to keep a close watch on factors that could introduce potential “scope creep” and take proactive steps to prevent it from occurring, or to manage it as it occurs.

Sometimes change control is required if the Project Team is not able to complete what was documented in the Project Scope, because of lack of skill, time constraints, or other factors outside their control. In most cases, these difficult to manage situations often result in lost time in the Project Schedule and can have a major impact on the project.

The change control process helps maintain balance between the requirements of the project and the timeline and cost.

Once a change request has been approved, the project manager must incorporate the effect of the change into the modified Project Schedule (Project Detailed Tasks Implementation Document). All affected tasks, estimated durations, dependencies, and resources must be modified. A new baseline should then be created for the amended schedule and budget. These become the new tools against which hours will be booked and project performance measured going forward.

Tip: Remember to make a copy of the new baseline schedule and archive it in the project repository BEFORE you book new work to it! If you lose the baseline, you have nothing against which to compare later updates to see if your project is on track!

If new deliverables will be produced as a result of the change, their exact description must be included in the Project Plan, either as appendices to the Project Scope, or as separate attachments. All correspondence, supporting documentation and other information pertaining to the change should be saved in the appropriate location in the project repository.

The process of managing changes to the project should be properly integrated with reporting of project performance, i.e the most important features of project communication management


  • Project Change Control Plan
  • Project Change Request
  • Project Detailed Tasks Implementation Document
  • Project Issues Log Template
  • Status report - Status report light -

See also

  • Manage the current project/programmes revising scope and schedules.
  • Manage Changes to Project Scope
  • Control the Project Schedule and Manage Schedule Changes
  • Implement Quality Assurance and Quality Control Processes according to the Quality Standards Revised During Project Planning
  • Control and Manage Costs Established in the Project Budget Tasks
  • How do we monitor and evaluate?
  • The project triangle
  • The 9 topic areas of project management knowledge: Integration, Scope, Time , Cost, Quality, Human Resources, Communication , Risk, Procurement.
  • Using MS Outlook for assigning and reporting Tasks in the Project Team