In this article we shall discuss the basics of a Change Request (CR), the different types of Change Requests such as Corrective action, preventive action, and defect repair, We the move to discuss Change Control Board and its composition, and finally the Integrated Change Control Process. So, let’s begin…
What is a Change Request?
During the course of a project, issues may arise. Change Requests (CR’s) are made while dealing with issues. A CR may result in modifying project document(s) or parts of the project management plan or take some action to forestall a possible negative impact on the project at some point in the future.
PMBOK defines Change Request as “a formal proposal to modify a document or deliverable or baseline.“
In the above definition, the word “formal” indicates that a change request should be made in a “Written form” and should go through the project change control process.
Who can make a Change Request (CR)?
Changes may be requested by any stakeholder involved with the project.
Is there a specific time to make change requests (CRs) in a project?
NO! Changes may be requested at any time throughout the project life cycle.
Change Requests can be
- direct or indirect,
- internally or externally initiated,
- optional or legally/contractually mandated.
Changes may be initiated verbally, however, they should be recorded in written form and entered into the change management and/or configuration management.
Types of Change Requests based on their purpose
- Corrective Action
- Preventive Action
- Defect Repair
what is a defect? Defect in a product is something that hinders product’s usability or performance.
“Defect Repair” is what it literally implies. It is a process of repairing the defect or replacing a defective product with a quality product.
In Project Management, Defect Repair is a type of change request, for repairing or replacing the defective part as needed.
According to the PMBOK Guide, 6th edition, a defect repair is “an intentional activity to modify a nonconforming product or product component.”
The defect Repair process is done when the product does not meet the quality requirements.
Example of Defect Repair
Suppose you are manufacturing 1000 Toys, and each toy should have 4 wheels (quality requirement).
During the inspection, you found that 10/1000 toys had only 3 wheels and the rest had 4 wheels. These 10 toys can be called as Defects or Defective products.
With Defect Repair, you replace these 10 toys with 10 new toys that have 4 wheels or you repair these 10 toys so that each toy has 4 wheels.
As per the PMBOK Guide 6th edition, corrective action is “an intentional activity that realigns the performance of the project work with the project management plan.”
In quality management, corrective action is a future response to the defect repair process. A Corrective action addresses the root cause of the problem that resulted in a defect/error and makes sure that error will not occur again.
Example of Corrective Action
In the previous toys example, As part of defect repair, you replaced or repaired those 10 toys that are defective.
With defect repair, you only solve the problem for that 1000 toys order, but you did not address the root cause of the problem (how 10 defective toys got manufactured ?). In order for a defect not to occur again, you need to do a Corrective action.
Corrective action, in this case, is to look at why 10 toys got defectively manufactured. Do a Root cause analysis. On doing the analysis, you found that a bug in the software code was causing the defects. You corrected the code, and also asked other production units, that are using the same software, to correct the code.
This action helps you make sure that the defects do not occur again.
According to the PMBOK Guide 6th edition, preventive action is “an intentional activity that ensures the future performance of the project work is aligned with the project management plan.”
Preventive action is a proactive process, and it helps avoid any future defects.
Example of Preventive Action
Continuing the previous Toy manufacturing example.
Suppose you joined another toy manufacturing company recently. Now you received a fresh order for 10,000 toys. Based on your previous experience, you asked your technicians to check the manufacturing software for any code defects.
Your technicians found a bug and fixed the code. This resulted in a smooth manufacturing process with no defective products.
This action of asking the technicians to check the software for bugs is a Preventive action.
It should be understood that, in the previous example, even if no bug was found, the action of checking the code is a preventive action.
Difference between Corrective action and Preventive action
In corrective action, problem has already occurred and you take action to ensure that it does not reoccur.
On the other hand, in preventive action, problem has not yet occurred, but you are taking proactive measures so that the problem will not occur.
Change control board(CCB)
A Change Control Board (CCB), also known as the configuration control board, is a group of individuals, responsible for recommending or making decisions on Change requests (CR’s), which are requested changes to baselined project work.
Composition of Change Control Board (CCB)
A Change Control Board (CCB) consists of members from both the Project Team and also from the customer. For example, in a Software Project, a Change Control Board typically consists of Program or Project Manager, Product Manager, Business Analyst, Developer, Tester or Quality Analyst, a representative from the customer.
Perform Integrated Change Control Process
Before project baselines are established, changes are not required to be formally controlled.
Once the project is baselined, every change request is formally controlled through the Perform Integrated change control (PICC) process.
In the PICC Process, every Change Request is reviewed by the project manager or by the Change Control Board (CCB). After review, every CR is either approved, or deferred, or rejected by a responsible individual (Usually Project Sponsor or Project Manager) identified in the Project Management Plan, or by a Change Control Board.
An Approved Change Request (CR) will replace the associated document or deliverable or baseline and may result in an update to other parts of the Project Management Plan. Approved CR’s are scheduled and implemented by the project team and can impact any area of project or project management plan.