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Submitted by to the category Business and Industry on 08/19/2013 08:55 PM

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How should a project manager respond to a change request from a sponsor that is clearly beyond the scope of the project?

If the PM has shaped the enviornment, any baseline changes that will affect project schedule, cost or scope will be vetted through a configuration control board or similar group with the same responsibilities -- to review each request to change the project baseline.  The CCB should consist of a representative cross section of stakeholders, one of whom (the board chair) is sufficiently high up in the organization that he can commit the organization's resources.  Depending on the reason for the request, the CCB will approve, deny, or defer the request.  If they approve it, the CCB should identify which other part(s) of the triple constraint will move to accommodate the scope change.  The sponsor could have a perfectly legitimate reason for requesting a scope change.  There may be new legal requirements in effect that mandate a scope change to comply with them.  The mission or priorities of the organization may have changed, which will in turn affect the scope of a project.  For example, if a company just sold one of its divisions to an investor, there is no reason to extend an IT infrastructure upgrade project to the just-sold division.  Or, look at Boeing and the 787 Dreamliner battery fires.  I have no firsthand knowledge of it, but it would not surprise me a bit if Boeing leadership in Chicago pressed really hard for additional battery tests before continued production and each aircraft delivery.  Scope change?  Absolutely.  Necessary?  Absolutely.  How should the PM respond to the sponsor?  With an enthusiastic yes.  At the other end of the spectrum, let's assume there is no CCB, the sponsor is doing a scope change cram-down on the PM, and it will hit the project budget/schedule.  He has several options, none of them terrific.  He can explain the impact of the scope change to the sponsor and hope he comes to his senses.  Or, he can...

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