PRINCE2 - Change

The purpose of the change theme is to identify, assess and control any potential and approved changes to the project baselines.

Projects take place in their organizational environment and wider context, both of which change over time. It is rare that a project closes having delivered exactly what was envisaged when the project was initiated. It is often said that change is inevitable and this is certainly the case for long and more complex projects. This means that projects need a systemic approach to the identification, assessment and control of issues that may result in change. Issue and change control is a continual activity, performed throughout the life of the project. Without an ongoing and effective issue and change control procedure, a project will either become unresponsive to its stakeholders or drift out of control.

In PRINCE2, changes are identified as 'issues'. PRINCE2 uses the term 'issue' to cover any relevant event that has happened, was not planned and requires management action. Issues may be raised at any time during the project by anyone with an interest in the project or its outcome. 

After an issue has been identified and captured, there needs to be a controlled process for assessing the issue and determining what action to take in response. The response to an issue might be to change some dimension of the project's time, cost or scope. However, it is important to understand that the appropriate response to the issue might be to reject it and do nothing; it is not necessarily the case that something has to be done just because an issue has been identified and captured. There are only two reasons to implement a change:  to introduce a new benefit or to protect an existing benefit. Change can only be assessed in terms of its impact on an agreed 'current situation'. In PRINCE2, the 'current situation' at any point in time is represented by a snapshot of all the management and specialist products produced during the project lifecycle (e.g. the project brief, PID and business case).