Can We Talk About Your WordPress Projects? – Episode 5. In the past few episodes and in a few more, we are talking about the standard processes you need to have in place for your WordPress project. In this episode we will be talking about Change Management.
The truth is, most solution providers have a change management process in place. The problem is, they don’t usually STICK to it. But let’s talk first about WHY you need a formal, documented change control process.
Why You Need a Formal Change Management Process
Sometimes when we give estimates we tend to take the position that we’ll get everything right in the first go round and we pretend like there won’t be any change. We act like we’ve got some sort of crystal ball or something. But the client may think of things after they’ve signed the contract. You might have forgotten to ask them something. They might have forgotten to tell you something. Then we, as providers, tend to take this angry attitude about change.
“Well that I’m going ding my client for that change because they should have not come up with that change.”
But you know things happen that you cannot foresee. The best thing to do is to acknowledge the change on the front end. Put it in your contract that you know there’s going to be change. The difference is you’re going to manage it. And HOW are you going to manage it? You’re going to manage it with your change management procedure.
The Change Control Procedure Magic Bullet
There’s a better way of covering change than to pad the estimate (some arbitrary amount of money added it on top of the actual estimate). And that is to use a change budget.
A change budget is that different than a pad. Instead, it is a bucket of money, a separate budget that you set on top of the project cost. But it is ONLY used for change.
So let’s say that the project’s going to cost five thousand dollars. Then you calculate 20% to 30% percent (or whatever percent seems right for you) and you set it aside in a separate budget just for change. So you will have the project budget PLUS the change budget. The percentage I use is different for every client because it depends on how much they might have in terms of technical skill as well as how much they know about what it is they really want.
So the change budget doesn’t get used if there isn’t any change. You have a formal change control process where changes submitted and then that’s given to the client and they get to decide whether that money comes out of the change budget and goes onto the project budget or not. This is way easier than trying to ding the client for unknown changes and then try to get paid for that. If you establish all this stuff up front where they already know it, then they know what to expect when it comes to change.
And here’s the kicker. For some reason, if you do it this way instead of dealing with each change as it comes up, it really cuts down on the frivolous change requests.
How to Learn More
So that’s why you need a change control procedure and you need a really good one. In the next episode, I’m going to cover all the different elements of a good change controlled procedure AND you can download a sample one for your use.
To learn more about project management in general when it comes to WordPress projects, I’ve got some freebies on the home page or you can go to wproadmaps.com/wppma and sign up to stay informed about The WordPress Project Managers Academy, a free membership program that I’m going to be starting in the next few weeks.