PRINCE2 Foundation Certification Notes 9: Change Theme

PRINCE2 Foundation Certification Notes 9: Change Theme

Important: The new PRINCE2® Foundation and Practitioner exams (PRINCE2® 2017) are available from 10 July 2017 (details of the changes here). Don’t worry, the changes are quite minor indeed as all the 7 principles, themes and processes remain the same. From now on until the end of 2017, candidates can take either the existing or updated English versions of the PRINCE2® exam. All PRINCE2® Foundation and Practitioner exams will be based on PRINCE2® 2017 from 1 January 2018. You can still seize the time to get certified based on the current version! Once you get PRINCE2® certified, your certification is still valid under PRINCE2® 2017 and onwards!

Introduction: In PRINCE2®, there are 7 Themes describing important aspects of project management that are vital to the success of the project. The Change Theme is the sixth PRINCE2® Theme which provides an approach to identify, assess and control any potential changes to the project (as changes are inevitable) to increase the likelihood of project success. The PRINCE2® Foundation Study Notes for the Change Theme below details what are needed for the PRINCE2® Foundation Exam.

PRINCE2® Theme: Change

  • The Change Theme is to provide a mechanism for Issues and Change Control during the life of the project to ensure changes to the baseline are approved and recorded.
  • The Issue and Change Management approach is formulated during the Initiation Stage and can be reviewed in the Managing a Stage Boundary process at stage ends.
  • Configuration Management is a key process for Change Control which is a systematic approach to the creation, maintenance and controlled change of the configuration of a product (called “configuration item”) so that the correct version/state of the product are used/delivered.

Key Definitions

  • Baseline: (a.k.a. first agreed version) once the product is approved by the relevant management levels, it is considered “baselined”
  • Release: a set of managed and approved products handed over to users.
  • Change Authority: a group of persons responsible for considering change requests and off-specifications (the project board or can be assigned to others)
  • Change Budget: the fund set aside for change requests (including analysis) which can only be authorized by the Change Authority
  • Issue: any events not planned in the project, including 3 types:
    • Request for Change: a proposal for a change to a baseline (e.g. the Product Description document), need approval from Change Authority
    • Off-Specification: agreed to be done but is not provided (e.g. a missing product), need Change Authority for direction
    • Problem/Concern: (may be positive or negative) other issues the Project Manager need to handle (if within the tolerance) or escalate (e.g. to be handled with an Exception Plan)

PRINCE2® Approach to Change

  • There are 6 PRINCE2® management products for change and issue control:
    • Configuration Management Strategy — documents the strategy on issue and change management
    • Configuration Items Records — contains the details of each configuration items in the project
    • Product Status Account — a report of the status of (all/selected) products
    • Daily Log — used by the Project Manager for all informal information (note: formal information to be put in the Issue/Risk Register)
    • Issue Register — captures and maintains issues
    • Issue Reports — describes issues in detail
  • Issue Prioritization and Rating
    • Prioritization with MoSCoW
      • Must have — essential for project objectives
      • Should have — would weaken the Business Case
      • Could have — nice to have
      • Won’t have (for now)
    • Rating with Severity
      • can be a scale or 1-5 or word descriptions (e.g. critical/major/significant/normal/minor)

Configuration Management Procedure

  1. Planning — decide which documents/products need to be controlled (usually depending on the scale of the project)
  2. Identification — decide the coding system for each configuration item
  3. Control — controlling change activities: baselining, archiving, access control, distribution of copies
  4. Status Accounting — check and report a group of products
  5. Verification & Audit — verify that the Configuration Item Records are correct

Issue and Change Control Procedure

  1. Capture — type of issue (requests for change, off-specification or concerns/problems), initial analysis and whether they are formal or informal; an Issue Report would be created
  2. Examine — the impact of issue against project objectives in the aspects of business, user and supplier
  3. Propose — options, evaluate them and recommend the best action
  4. Decide — whether to accept the recommended solution by change authority / escalation needed in the form of Issue Report/Exception Report
  5. Implement — the corrective action

Change Theme: Roles and Responsibilities

  • Corporate or Programme Management: provide the Corporate policy and direction
  • Executive: determine Change Authority and Change Budget and determine the Configuration Management Strategy (e.g. severity/priority rating)
  • Senior Supplier(s): advise Project Manager for change requests
  • Project Manager: manage the Configuration Management procedure and Issues and Change control procedure; create and update the Issue Register
  • Project Assurance: check whether the Configuration Management Strategy is followed and provide advices
  • Team Manager: implements approved corrective actions
  • Project Support: updates the Configuration Items Records

(The PRINCE2® Change Theme is similar to the Project Integration Management (Perform Integrated Change Control) as described in the PMBOK® Guide for PMP Certification Exam dealing with tracking, controlling, approving, handling and archiving of all change requests in the project as in the PMP Exam.)

Wish you PRINCE2® Foundation Exam success!


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Edward Chung

Edward Chung aspires to become a full-stack web developer and project manager. In the quest to become a more competent professional, Edward studied for and passed the PMP Certification, ITIL v3 Foundation Certification, PMI-ACP Certification and Zend PHP Certification. Edward shares his certification experience and resources here in the hope of helping others who are pursuing these certification exams to achieve exam success.

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