As a project manager, you know that mid-project pivots are just part of the game. Often, it’s not the change itself that causes the most disruption; it’s the process — or lack thereof — for requesting and implementing the change that throws a wrench in things. That’s why proper change request management is so critical. 

In this post, we’re breaking down precisely what change request management is, why it’s so important to have a change request process that includes change request forms, and how Wrike’s change request templates can help you get a handle on the process within your organization.

What is a change request?

A change request is a proposal to alter some aspect of a given project. Change requests can originate either internally or externally. For example, the client may request a change to the agreed-upon deliverables, or you may receive a change request form from a team member who’s actively working on the project. Either way, without a formal change request process in place, these proposals can easily get lost, buried, or simply overlooked. 

Adjusting the scope or deliverables of a project without a proper change request process can also cause confusion and misalignment of the project team and project stakeholders. 

What is change request management?

Change request management is the implementation of tools, systems, or processes to identify, document, and resolve project change requests. A change request management plan should include change request templates or change request forms to ensure consistency in the process. 

Why is it important to have a change request process?

First and foremost, a documented change request process is critical for increasing your organization’s project success rate. Change requests may impact a project’s scope, budget, resource requirements, and timeline. Without a clear change request process, though, you won’t have a clear grasp on the full ramifications of a given change. 

Change request management is also crucial for keeping project stakeholders and team members in the loop with regard to changes. A change request process ensures that all those involved with the project understand what the change is, why it’s happening, what it will mean for them specifically, and how it will impact the project overall. 

Remember, communication is key when it comes to successful project management. A change request management process ultimately helps ensure that change requests are communicated and understood by all affected parties. 

Key steps of a change request process

So, how do you implement change request management within your organization? Here are some key steps of a change request process to get you started.

  1. Understand what is scope change.
    The first step of a change request process is to understand exactly what the scope of the request is and what will be required to implement it. Keep in mind that change requests may originate internally from a project sponsor or externally from a client. Either way, you need to ensure your change request process captures the necessary data for you and all concerned stakeholders to make an informed decision on the requested change. 
  2. Determine the impact of incorporating the change.
    Along with understanding the full scope of the change request, you need to determine and consider the ramifications of incorporating the change. How will the change impact the project budget? What about the timeline? How many departments and team members will be touched by the change request? These are all questions that will help you, your team, and your leadership decide whether to approve or deny the change request. 
  3. Seek approval or disapproval of the change request.
    Many organizations have multiple levels of approval. For instance, if the change request only requires an hour of additional work, it may only need approval from the PM or the primary sponsor. However, a change request that has a more significant impact on resources typically requires approval from higher-level management. 

    Your organization’s change request management process should stipulate criteria for the different levels of change request approval. 
  4. Communicate and implement the approved change request.
    Of course, once a change request form has been approved, it’s essential to communicate that change to the project team and all other vested stakeholders and parties. This also means following up with the client if the change request originated with them.

Change request example

To request a change to some part of your project, a great way to manage this from your project management software is with a request form. Wrike request forms allow requests to reach the right person every time, and cut down on time wasted bouncing the task from team to team. 

For example, let's say you work in a marketing agency. Your content marketing team is working on a blog for a particular client. A copywriter may write the copy for the blog, but it needs to be proofed and approved by a few different stakeholders before it is ready to be published, including a subeditor, the manager of the campaign, and of course, the client.

To make sure this proofing process is as smooth as possible, your team can use a request form in Wrike like the one below:

As you can see, all of the relevant information is included in this request form template, including the deadline, a description of what needs to be proofed, and the contact information for the client. By customizing this template in Wrike, you can ensure the form goes straight to the right team members to process it, cutting out the middle man and giving your team a quicker, smoother process. 

Introducing change request forms and templates by Wrike

In order to capture and manage change requests as they come in, it’s imperative to have a system in place as well as the right tools. With Wrike’s change request forms and easy-to-build change request templates, you can customize the change request process for your organization and establish a flow for submitting, tracking, evaluating, and implementing those requests. 

Ready to see how much easier Wrike makes change request management? Get started with a free two-week trial today and put it to work for you!