Change Control Agile/Traditional

With the constant changing environment in the technology field not many things stay the same for very long. One thing throughout all projects is a constant, and that is CHANGE. It is inevitable in every project and always active in the field of project management. Resources, hardware, client requests, software changes, realignment of management, realignment of company goals, acceleration of timelines, and finances are just a few drivers of change which will accompany you on any information technology development project. When you don’t manage for change watch out! You will miss schedules, costs, client’s unhappiness, management unhappiness, and can damage your companies competitive edge.

All scrummasters/project managers and team members must understand the concept of project change control. Optimizing change control will help you identify changes, recognize changes, understand the requested change, and anticipate the impact of change to the project; change management will assist you in preventing scope creep. With the implementation of agile frameworks to the development environment change is not looked upon as a bad thing. Agile frameworks look at the projects requirements and put them into the product back log prioritizing them with the most important to the product owner first and so on. On the scrum projects I worked on we would lock down all of the requirements on the iteration we are delivering so change management was not an issue, but can be an issue with future iterations, stakeholders/product owners/business MUST have full involvement because as a scrum team we rely on stakeholders/product owners/business participation from the beginning to the end of the project.

So what’s the best way to manage change in the project?

1.Forecast changes for your project before they occur, create a model to anticipate and manage change.
2.Maintain project definition by ensuring integrity of project documentation and related materials
3.Manage proposed changes using a team approach try not to do this informally.
4.Record and assimilate changes in project documentation on a timely basis and communicate this to the stakeholders/product owners/business in a timely manner.
5.Minimize impacts (to cost, schedule and performance) where possible.

If you don’t manage change your project is likely to encounter difficulties. No matter what development framework you have implemented, there will be multiple changes that are requested for the project. Communication is key and as with the agile methodologies you have stand-ups every day, your agile team must know what he or she is doing for the project. I believe that face to face communication is always the best, this is the best way to alleviate team members not knowing what another team member wants or is doing for the project. Most change request are a good way to improve projects, the iterative, incremental, and self-organizing teams nature of agile frameworks can elevate the scoop creep that we see in more traditional methodologies.

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