How to better document and inform yourself of any changes made during the data collection process?

 

data collection

 

 

What is Data Collection?

Data collection is the procedure of collecting, measuring, and analyzing accurate insights for research using standard validated techniques.

Put simply, data collection is the process of gathering information for a specific purpose. It can be used to answer research questions, make informed business decisions, or improve products and services.

To collect data, we must first identify what information we need and how we will collect it. We can also evaluate a hypothesis based on collected data. In most cases, data collection is the primary and most important step for research. The approach to data collection is different for different fields of study, depending on the required information.

 

What is a change control process and how is it implemented?

A change control process allows project managers to submit requests to stakeholders for review, which are then approved or rejected. It is an important process to help manage large projects with many moving parts.

When it comes to  managing multiple projects , things can get difficult. From coordinating work schedules to tracking goals and results, the last thing you want to deal with is a major project change. However, if you implement a change control process, you can easily submit project change requests.

The change control process is essential for large-scale initiatives where teammates from multiple departments work together. Below we will analyze the process in more detail and show you specific examples that will help you implement your own change control procedure.

What does the change control process mean?

Change control is a process used to manage change requests for projects and other important initiatives. It is part of a change management plan that defines the roles to manage change within a team or company. While a change process has many parts, the easiest way to visualize it is by creating a change log to track project change requests.

In most cases, anyone involved can request changes. A request can be as small as a modification to the  project schedule  or as large as a new deliverable. However, it is important to note that not all requests will be approved, as it is up to key participants to approve or reject change requests.

Since a change control process includes many moving parts and differs from company to company, it is advisable to incorporate tools that help process cycles flow smoothly. Tools like  workflow management software  can help you manage work and communications in one place.

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Change control vs. change management

Can’t you understand the difference between change control and change management? Don’t worry! There are many differences between change control and a  change management plan . Change control is just one of the many pieces of a change management strategy.

  • Change control:  A change control process is important for any company as it can facilitate the flow of information when changes need to be made to a project. A successful process must define success metrics, organize workflows, facilitate team communication, and set them up for success. 
  • Change Management:  A change management plan involves coordinating budget, schedule, communications, and resources. While a change control process consists of a formal document that describes a change request and the impact of that change, change management refers to the overall plan.

As you can see, a change control process is only a small part of a larger change management plan. So, although they are related, both terms are different.

What are the benefits of a change control process?

Implementing a change control process, with the support of  organizational software , can help you efficiently organize and manage your team’s work, as well as project deliverables and deadlines. It is also very important when you consider the possible consequences of not being able to manage changes effectively.  

A change management process can help you execute a  resource management plan  or other work management objectives. Here are some additional benefits of implementing a change control process.

Higher productivity  

A change control process will eliminate confusion around project deliverables and allow you to focus on execution rather than gathering information. As a result, you will achieve greater productivity and efficiency, especially with the help of  productivity software .

Without a properly implemented process, productivity can suffer due to time spent on the details of the job. Due to limited availability for more important work, employees fail to meet  a quarter (26%) of deadlines  each week.

Effective communication

Proper documentation of changes can help reduce communication problems. When goals and objectives are clearly defined, team communication can flourish. However, it is important to note that a change control process will not solve all communication problems. It can also be helpful to adopt  work management software  to keep communication about different projects in one place.  

A change control process can also be shared with the executives involved to easily provide context around change requests.  

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Greater collaboration and teamwork

Effective communication, in addition to being a benefit in itself, also helps improve collaboration. Clear communication about project changes enhances collaboration and teamwork. 

For example, when changes are clearly communicated from the beginning, stakeholders have more time to focus on creativity and teamwork. Without effective communication, those involved are forced to spend their time gathering information instead of working with team members and fostering creativity.

To further improve collaboration, try combining the change control process with  task management software  to set your team up for success.

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The five stages of a change control process

Like the five  phases of project management , there are five key steps to creating a change control process. Although there may be some small differences, there are key elements that are common to all processes. From inception to implementation, each of these essential steps helps change requests move through the different stages quickly and efficiently and avoid unnecessary changes.

Some prefer to have the procedure in a change control process flow as it may be easier to visualize. Regardless of how it is displayed, the result will always be the final decision to approve or reject a change request.  

Let’s take a closer look at what goes into each stage of an effective change control process.

1. Start of the change request

The  initial phase  of the process begins with a change request. There are numerous reasons why you might request a change, such as submitting a request to adjust the delivery date of a creative asset that is taking longer than expected. And while a request will most likely come from a stakeholder or project leader, anyone can submit a change request.

If a team member wants to make a request, they must submit it through a change request form. As a project manager, you should maintain a change log and store it in a place that is easy to find and accessible to everyone.

Once the application form has been completed, you will need to update the change log with a name, a brief description, and any other information you consider important, such as the date, name of the applicant, etc. The change log stores all changes made to the project, which can be useful if  you manage multiple projects  that span several months.

Below we provide some examples of the different fields you can include in a change request form.

  • Project’s name
  • The date
  • Request Description
  • Applicant
  • Change Manager
  • Priority
  • Impact of change
  • Term
  • Comments

The fields you include will depend on the level of detail you want your change log to have and the type of change you receive.

2. Evaluation of the change request

Once the initial form has been submitted and approved, the application will be evaluated. At this stage, the requested changes are analyzed. 

The evaluation phase is not necessarily where a decision is made. At this stage the application is reviewed to obtain all the necessary information. The information will likely be reviewed by a project or department leader, who will evaluate some key details such as the resources needed, the impact of the request, and to whom the request should be referred.

If the change request passes the initial evaluation stage, the analysis phase begins where a decision will be made. 

3. Analysis of the change request

The change impact analysis phase culminates with a final decision made by the relevant project leader on whether the request will be approved or rejected. While you can also participate in the decision-making process, it is always advisable to obtain formal approval from a project leader. In some cases, there may even be a change control committee to oversee the approval of requests.

An approved change request must be signed and communicated to the team to then continue with the rest of the phases of the process. The change must be documented in the change log and in all channels where project communication is maintained to ensure that all  project participants  clearly understand the necessary changes. 

If the change request is rejected, it must also be documented in the change log. And while it’s not necessary to communicate a denied request to the team, it might be helpful to notify them to avoid confusion.

4. Implementation of the requested change

If the requested change is approved, the process will move to the implementation phase. This is where you and others involved in the project will work to apply the changes to the project.  

Implementation of changes may vary depending on the stage of the project, but generally will involve updating the  project schedule  and deliverables and informing the entire team. Then you can start with the concrete work. It is important to evaluate the scope of the project to ensure that adjustments to the schedule do not have a significant impact on the proposed objectives.

It is best to share the request information in a shared workspace and in the change log to avoid a decrease in productivity when trying to find new information. You can even share a  business case  to cover all the aspects you consider necessary.

5. Closing the change request

Once the request has been documented, shared, and implemented, the request is ready to be closed. While some teams don’t have a formal closure plan, it’s helpful to have one to store information in a place that all team members can reference in the future. 

During the closure phase, all documentation, change logs, and communication should be stored in a shared space that can be accessed in the future. It’s also a good idea to store the original change form and the revised project plan you created during the process.

Once the documents are stored in the appropriate place, you can finish the related tasks and work towards the successful completion of your project. Some project leaders also organize a  post-mortem meeting  before officially ending the project.

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