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Apr 20

Change Management in BigPicture Software

Change management

What change management software will stand the test of time? Before we answer, let’s realize that there are two types of change management out there: the widely known “human” change management and product-related change request management. Could a single software solution serve both purposes? Let’s see how BigPicture supports managing change in both individuals/teams and systems engineering.

Change management vs. change request management

The majority of change management software tools focus on organizational change. With this category of software, you are supporting employees throughout the whole process of change. Such change management touches the human factor and promotes the adoption by the staff of whatever novelty is being implemented – new process, new technology, or new competence. The goal here is to ensure that people transition to some new state, preventing the change from being a “for show” thing.

What is often overlooked is the change request management – the management of change in a product, typically in an engineering/IT/software-related product. The change request management resembles regular project management. Therefore, project management software present in many organizations can be effectively employed for that purpose.

Change management Change request management
Who/what undergoes a change? People and processes.
Organizational change
Evolution of a product
Goals Understanding of change among staff.
Adoption of change by people
Delivering a contracted product.
Meet the scope, budget, schedule
Agile or waterfall approach? Agile approach to change management is preferred when the change is small, but frequent, such as constantly updated daily routes of delivery trucks.
With massive changes, the agile approach tends not to have an advantage over the waterfall approach.
Agile approach is preferable when, for instance, a team of 10 is being hired and paid weekly.
In a contract and schedule situation, the waterfall approach tends to be more efficient.

Now the big part. Change management and change request management are not that far apart. It turns out that a single software tool can do both jobs. Let’s follow how both change management and change request management can be supported by BigPicture.

Change management in BigPicture

Let’s touch on organizational change management first. Let’s assume an enterprise is to implement a new project management software. 150 teams across the company are to be trained to operate the new PM tool. Pretty much everybody in the organization is looking at a significant change in their daily workflow. The goal is to ensure the adoption of the new PM software by all individuals across the entire organization

How to carry out such “human” change management in BigPicture?

This is a sample workflow:

  1. Create a ‘Team #’ parent task for each of the 150 teams.
  2. Allow ‘To do / In Progress / Done’ statuses for each of the 150 parent tasks.
  3. Add sub-tasks, such as ‘New PM tool promotional session’, ‘Training session’, or ‘Has the team migrated their production data to new PM software?’ for each of the parent tasks. Schedule these sub-tasks in the Gantt chart.
  4. Supervise the overall progress by keeping an eye on the aggregated ‘To do / In progress / Done’ statuses.

We present this simple change management workflow in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Change management in Gantt module of BigPicture

CHange management Gantt chart roadmap software

Can you see the overall progress of the ‘Change management’ project? Have a look at the status aggregation in the top row: 15.4% done and 7.7% in progress. Notice the ‘Change progress evaluation’ marker on the 8th of May.

All in all, the adoption of change by humans can be scoped and mapped to a timeline, and so project management software lends a helping hand.

Which BigPicture modules are suitable for change management?

Gantt, as seen in Figure 1, Scope, and Risks are made for organizations that use predictive change management. The Risks module seems especially useful since we are talking about elusive behavioral changes.

What about agile change management? Here Scope (backlog), Board, and Risks modules – all available in BigPicture – are the way to go.

Some people might object and claim that the Change Manager role is very different from the Project Manager role. Indeed, any Change Manager must be big on soft skills, such as leadership, flexibility, communication, and interpersonal skills. Change Managers, after all, are there to ensure that the change in humans actually occurs. Yet, the soft skills every change manager needs to have, do not contradict planning and execution competencies – the very same sciences project managers are famous for.

What’s more, in large organizations, both a project manager and a change manager might collectively work on a project. Wouldn’t it be beneficial to synchronize their actions on the same project-and-change management software, such as BigPicture?

Back to our sample set-up – the organization with 150 teams implementing new PM software:

Project Manager Change Manager
Excerption I implemented new PM software. I ensured new PM software has been adopted and users actually use it.
Toolset BigPicture
Sample activities Scoping, scheduling, and running the project.

Recommending a pro-change management work breakdown structure, such as the one in Figure 1 (“let’s transition to new PM software team by team, step by step”).

Later, adding sub-tasks, such as ‘Training session for Team #’.

Now that we explained how to use BigPicture for managing change in humans and processes, let’s proceed to the other type of change management, namely change request management.

Change request management in BigPicture

Change Request (CR) is a formally submitted artifact that is used to track all stakeholder requests (including new features, enhancement requests, defects, changed requirements).

How to run change request management in BigPicture? Here is a sample workflow:

  1. Since BigPicture integrates with Jira, a powerful issue tracker, ensure that clients and internal stakeholders enter their change requests into Jira. Ideally, set up the ‘Change Request’ issue type to distinguish change requests from other tasks.
  2. Set baselines in BigPicture’s Gantt chart representing the current schedule for a project/product. (Once you sign a new contract with a change requesting client, you can set a new baseline, to save on formalities),
  3. Draw CRs from the backlog and position them in BigPicture’s work breakdown structure, the one that stands for the scope of your project. Schedule CRs in the Gantt chart.
  4. Now, use What-if Scenarios feature to resolve dilemmas, such as this one:
    • Should a change request be resolved by an internal work team (slower but cheaper), or by an external expert (faster, yet pricier)

Figure 2. Change request management in BigPicture

Change request management

Note the CHRQ – change requests collection of tasks at the bottom. The CHRQ-3 change request was completed later than the original plan (notice how the green taskbar deviates from its baseline). Two what-if scenarios are being tested – ‘External experts’ and ‘Internal work teams’ – the combo box at the top.

Which BigPicture modules are suitable for change request management?

Gantt, Scope, Board, Resources, and Risks. The Resources pane of the Gantt module is especially helpful when you test scenarios (bullet #3 in the list), with the What-if Scenarios feature. Risks module, on the other hand, might indicate Change Requests that have the potential to jeopardize the plan.


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About The Author

With his automotive background Marcin goes beyond the 'Jira + software development' standard. He likes simple, up-to-five-sentence answers to complex questions.