The Greek philosopher Heraclitus famously said, “The only thing that is constant is change.” Anyone who has worked in Project Management can attest to the truth in that statement. Where I once found myself frustrated by requests for changes in project scope or schedule, I have learned to recognize this as an opportunity for demonstrating our adaptability to the client and ultimately for developing a relationship with the client that’s built on trust and confidence in our ability to meet their needs.
Successful project management means balancing the expectations and goals of the client with the project’s profit margin and your own company’s bottom line. To that end, our company has systems and processes to track and manage changes throughout the life of a project. Our customers expect this and benefit from visibility to the ramifications of their requests for changes. The process requires that I work diligently with clients to fully understand their drivers for the requests and then help them understand the implications and impact on performance, project cost, and schedule. I work with my internal team so we can provide recommendations on how best to accomplish the customer’s requests with minimal impact to the scope, schedule and budget of the project.
Transparency is key so all implications of a requested change are understood and communicated. This allows the client to make an informed decision on whether to move forward. By working collaboratively with clients, they see that we are listening to their concerns and are looking after their best interests. This strengthens the relationship with the client and makes completion of the project go more smoothly. While project success is certainly measured by achieving client goals, managing change also helps our company achieve its goal of staying profitable and in business which many of our clients will agree is in both of our best interests.
Charles Darwin wrote that “It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive, but those who can best manage change.” He may have been referring to evolution at the time, but this applies to executing projects as well.