Courses Project Management Techniques Lesson 7

Keeping Your Project Plan up to Date

Documenting Project Changes

Most teams make changes to their projects after it’s underway. This is totally normal and, in most cases, changes won’t jeopardize the success of your project. The most important thing is that you document them. Make sure you’re including detail on the following areas:

  • Changes to the project timeline: If one task is delayed or new tasks are added, will the completion date change? Are there dependent tasks that will be delayed?
  • Changes to DRIs: If you switch directly responsible individuals, make note of this, so everyone knows who’s accountable for what. If you add new tasks, make sure they have an assigned DRI.
  • Changes to the goal: Generally, we don’t see many high-performance teams changing project goals dramatically after the work has begun. But if you do change the hypothesis or goal, make sure to document how this impacts other parts of the project.

How to Navigate Project Changes Successfully

Beyond managing the information related to a change, it’s also valuable to consider how to manage people’s emotions. It’s only human to fear change. Help your team feel as comfortable as possible with any necessary changes.

One way to help people navigate project changes is by documenting the “why” behind them. If someone on the team possesses valuable data or information that influenced the change, share that info with everyone else. Document your reasoning. By helping others understand why the change is happening, they’re less likely to feel caught off-guard. This means they’re more likely to go along with the changes and maintain a positive attitude towards the work.

It can also be helpful to document where people can go, should they have questions. When documenting any changes, take note of the DRI for that change, and encourage people to reach out with questions or concerns. You might not be able to assuage everyone’s concerns, but at a minimum, you can make sure they feel heard.