Brad Bigelow, a PRINCE2 V7 author, emphasizes the crucial distinction in project management between issues and changes. According to him, it's essential to understand that issues are common occurrences in any project and are distinct from changes, which refer to modifications to the project baseline, including specifications, budget, and schedule.
Bigelow encourages project managers to be receptive to stakeholder inputs and maintain open dialogue. He points out that many concerns can be addressed through discussion without necessitating changes to the project's baseline. This approach helps in managing potential risks effectively and pragmatically.
Drawing from his experience with NATO, Bigelow illustrates how the timing of a change can significantly impact its handling. In situations where changes are proposed at an advanced project stage, like the procurement or delivery phase, it may be more practical and cost-effective to proceed as planned rather than implementing changes, even if it seems wasteful or redundant.
Bigelow stresses the importance of being conservative in determining what constitutes a change to the project. Changes usually require updating documentation and potentially seeking additional funds, which can be a complex and time-consuming process, especially in government projects. Thus, project managers need to differentiate between issues that can be resolved within the existing project framework and those that genuinely require altering the project's baseline.
In summary, his insights in the issues chapter of PRINCE2 V7 highlight the need for project managers to be open to stakeholder communication while carefully assessing whether an issue truly warrants a change to the project. This approach is vital for efficient project management and for avoiding unnecessary complications or delays.