030115 Paper1

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Managing Risks through Change Control Systems

Turnitin.com Score: 10%
March 1, 2015
University of Maryland University College, Europe
PMAN 637 Section 9041
Reina A. Crowe

Managing Risks through Change Control Systems Throughout the project lifecycle, changes come about directly and/or indirectly within the activities of the project process. Changes can have a negative or a positive impact on project requirements depending on what the change requires. Since changes deviate from the original project plan, the possibility of a risk event occurring is increased. Risks associated with change may not reflect directly with the change itself, but rather the result or effect of the changes requested. Examples of risks associated with change consist of schedule slips, scope creep, budget issues, costs overruns, and changes in performance. Controlling change and managing risks are two required skillsets exhibited by successful project managers (PM). Project managers possess the necessary skills and knowledge required to utilize the tools, methods, processes, and techniques to control change, mitigate risks, and monitor project performance effectively (PMBOK, 2013). Implementing a change control system is a method that enables the project manager to manage risks by analyzing and identifying changes associated with the project scope, schedule, or cost performance baseline (Heldman, 2011). Inevitable changes are inherent and a change control system can effectively deter further risks when the process is a requirement within the project plan.
“Change control systems are documented procedures that describe how the deliverables of the project and associated project documentation are controlled, changed, and approved” (Heldman, 2011, p. 441). Utilizing the control system provides the PM opportunity to examine all requested changes. Each request would include necessary information required in decisions regarding the approval or denial of each change. Depending on the size of the project, the project manager may choose to handle all project change requests or may choose to authorize additional personnel to assist in managing specific requests associated with the different work activities of the project. Projects that do not include an efficient and effective change control system run the risks associated with unmanaged changes. Unmanaged changes could result in increased costs and time in relation to performing risk management, “which often takes on the appearance and behavior of crisis management” (Kerzner, 2013, p. 929).
Additionally, as Kerzner (2013) further explains, change management and risk management are interdependent of one another. Therefore, it is not uncommon for many companies to integrate the two categories into a “singular methodology” (p.929). Changes may be results of managing risks, and every change that occurs may evoke additional risks. Due to the interdependency of the two categories, Kerzner (2013) is another source of research on this topic that stresses the importance of managing all changes as well as continuous monitoring of risks throughout the entirety of the project.
Figure 1 is an image of the exact table provided in Kerzner’s (2013) textbook. The table displays how unmanaged change handles in the back-end of the project and managed changed handles in the front-end of the project (Kerzner, 2013, p.929). This table also reflects, as discussed above, how the risks associated with unmanaged changes stem from more-expensive resources, labeled “Which Resources Are Used,” and increased performance costs, labeled “How Energy Is Invested.”

Further research into change control systems incorporated empirical studies of Singapore-based construction firms (Florence Yean & Ang, 2013). The empirical research reflected that although the possibility of risk events occurring were frequent to the sampled construction firms, the use of control systems improve project outcomes…