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PRINCE2 2009 - Change part 7

The PRINCE2® approach

Establish controls

Configuration Management Strategy

Effective issue and change control is only possible if it is supported by a configuration management system that facilitates impact assessments (relationships between products) and maintains product baselines (the basis from which the entity will change).

The starting point for all projects will be to identify whether there are any corporate or programme policies and processes that need to be applied, and incorporate them into the project’s own Configuration Management Strategy.

The project’s Configuration Management Strategy should define:

  • The configuration management procedure (e.g. Planning, identification, control, status accounting, verification and audit)
  • The issue and change control procedure (e.g. capturing, examining, proposing, decision making, implementing)
  • The tools and techniques that will be used
  • The records that will be kept
  • How the performances of the procedures will be reported
  • Timing of configuration management and issue and change control activities
  • The roles and responsibilities for configuration management and issue and change control activities (including whether any corporate or programme management roles are to be involved)

The Configuration Management Strategy should define the way issues are handled. During the initiation stage, the Project Manager and Project Board need to agree:

  • The scale for prioritizing issues
  • The scale for rating the severity of issues
  • What severity of issues can be handled at what management level
Example of priority and severity

There are numerous ways to prioritize issues, one of which is called MoSCoW where (for requests for change) the issue is rated as either:

  • Must have The change is essential for the viability of the project
  • Should have The change is important and its absence weakens the Business Case
  • Could have The change is useful but its absence does not weaken the Business Case
  • Won’t have (for now) The change is not essential nor important and can wait

There are numerous ways to rate the severity of issues, such as numeric (e.g. 1–4) or descriptive (e.g. minor, significant, major, critical).
The Project Manager and Project Board might agree that minor issues can be dealt with by the Project Manager, and significant issues by a Change Authority, but that major issues need to be escalated to the Project Board, and critical issues to corporate or programme management.

When deciding what severity of issues can be dealt with by what level of management, the Project Board may consider delegating some decision making for accepting/rejecting requests for change or off-specifications to a Change Authority and whether to provide a budget to pay for changes:

Change Authority

It is the Project Board’s responsibility to review and approve requests for change and off-specifications.
In a project where few changes are envisaged, it may be reasonable to leave this authority in the hands of the Project Board.
But for projects where there are likely to be lots of changes, the Project Board may choose to delegate some decisions to a person or group, called the Change Authority.
The Project Manager and/or the people with delegated Project Assurance responsibilities may act as the Change Authority.
It may be appropriate, for example, to make the Project Manager the Change Authority for Work Packages so that any changes that are within the delegated authority limits can be made without referral to the Project Board for approval

Change budget

This is a sum of money that the customer and supplier agree will be used to fund the cost of requests for change, and possibly also their analysis costs.
Unless the anticipated level of change on a project is low, it is advisable for a budget to be set up to pay for changes.
This arrangement can reduce the number of trivial exceptions arising in projects where the frequency of requests for change is forecast to be high.
Including a change budget provides for a more realistic expectation of the overall costs/timeframe of the project.
Where a change budget is given to a Change Authority, the Project Board may wish to put a limit on (a) the cost of any single change, and (b) the amount spent on change in any one stage without reference to the Project Board.
The change control procedure would then be defined in such a way as to control access to the change budget.
If used, the change control budget is documented in the relevant plan.

For a Product Description of a Configuration Management Strategy see the folder ‘Product Description outlines’ as part of the product package.

PRINCE2® is a Registered Trade Mark of the Office of Government Commerce in the United Kingdom and other countries.

This product contains EVERYTHING in the publications:

Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2 - 2005 edition
Managing successful Projects with PRINCE2 – 2009 edition
Directing Projects with PRINCE2.
The Complete Project Management package.

And much more besides - at a fantastic price.