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Change is unavoidable, but that doesn’t mean you can do it willy-nilly. There has to be a method. Without having a plan or structure in place you put yourself in a position where changes occur that can drastically alter the scope of work for a project, change the budget, or even alter the deliverable into something new.
That’s why project managers are fond of their management processes. They make sure that things follow a specific procedure every time, so there aren’t any surprises and to help ensure that the project you signed up for is the project that you’re completing.
To help make sure that nothing changes without a meaningful discussion or reason, we’ve got change order forms.
👉 Get started with this change order form template.
What is a change order form?
A change order form (sometimes called a change order template or a work change order) is a project management document that helps ensure that, when changes are requested to the original agreement, they’re approved by all necessary stakeholders and that the requested changes won’t impact the project too much. They’re useful for everything from construction projects to software development to manage and request changes to the original plan and workflow.
The goal is to ensure that any changes that need to be made happen in a controlled manner, so the project doesn’t run out of money or key milestones aren’t missed. Sometimes, it’s a formality, if the changes are small, but for bigger changes (like adding new features to an app that’s being developed), change order forms help make sure that there is value in the change.
Why you need a project change order form template
Project change order form templates make sure that you capture all the necessary information for a proposed change each time someone requests a change to the original contract. The information on these templates might seem obvious when you’re filling it out, but without the template, you risk missing something critical. Templates also give you something that isn’t an Excel spreadsheet or Google Doc to work with, meaning you’ve got something user-friendly that everyone on the project team can understand (not just the person who put the spreadsheet together).
Keep track of project changes
Even small changes can affect the scope of a project. That’s why it’s important to keep track of everything that’s changing as it happens. Charge order forms give you a description of changes. You know what’s being changed, why it’s being changed, who approved the change (and who requested it), along with knowing the impacts of the changes.
Not only does this help you keep the project more on track, but it also gives you something to refer to the next time a project like this comes along, so you can create a more accurate scope and budget for the project.
Keep budget in check
Any change affects the budget of a project, but people aren’t going to complain about any changes that reduce the budget, only the ones that add to it. With change order forms, you know how much each change is going to add to the project. If you’re working with a very limited (or restricted) budget, you might not be able to make any changes at all, so keeping track of this is critical. You also need to consider agreements with subcontractors that can change when you add changes because these amendments add to the scope of work and timeline of a project (which means they likely need to adjust their invoices).
Communicate the change with all team members
No one likes surprises, especially when the end of a project is in sight. Change order forms clearly communicate all changes to the team, along with the specifics of each change. This lets everyone know what’s coming up and why it’s happening.
Inform the customer of necessary changes
Not all changes come from the customer. Sometimes, internal stakeholders or even the team building the product need to make changes based on technical specs or limitations, customer understanding, or even regulatory reasons. Change order forms help the customer understand why the change is happening, what the impact of the change will be on the project, and details like that.
What is included in the change order form?
Your change order form should include all the necessary information to let project stakeholders, team members, and customers know what’s going on with the project. As always with project management-related stuff, the more information you provide the better. But, the following pieces of information are absolutely critical (of course you should always mention the project name in the doc, so everyone knows exactly what project you’re talking about).
First up is listing what change is being requested. You can keep this high level to a degree, but you should include why the change is being made, who requested the change, and who needs to approve the change. This helps everyone understand what’s going on.
List of project changes
In this section, list out exactly what needs to happen and who’s responsible for each change. This is where you should include as much detail as possible so that all parties understand the amount of what needs to happen to make the change possible.
Cost of changes
Go even further into the specifics here when you’re outlining how much the change is going to cost. One of the reasons why you’ll want to mention who’s responsible for doing the work above is so that you can accurately estimate how much a change is going to cost. If the requested change is going to push the project over budget, mention that additional funds will be needed to make it happen. This is easy if the changes are being requested by stakeholders or the client because they’re closer to the money.
Something else that you should consider including here is a business case for the change. If the requested change is going to result in increased income for either your company or the client, mention it. If it’s going to be something that gives you a competitive advantage over other companies, mention it. The stronger the business case, the easier it’ll be to get approval if more money is needed.
Is there going to be an impact on the completion date or other aspects of the schedule? If so, list it. It doesn’t always happen that a change alters the project schedule, but there’s a pretty good chance that it will. You won’t know for sure what the impact will be like until you’re doing the work, but give your best estimate and get approval based on that.
It’s entirely possible that you can avoid impacting the schedule by . If it is something you can do, mention it. It won’t necessarily happen, but it’s good to know you have the option if you’re under a tight, immovable deadline.
👉 Get started with this change order form template.
After you copy this template, you can start utilizing this free change order form template for your projects and business.
How to use Coda’s change order form template
Step 1: Include key project details
On the page, you’ll see a table where you should list the projects your team works on. If you want to add additional properties about your projects, just add additional columns to the table. Once you share this template with your team, you will be able to select them in the Project Owner column.
Step 2: Describe the change and cost of change
On the page, you’ll see a button called Add Change Order. Clicking this button opens up a form for you to fill out details about your change order like the cost of the change and the required approvers for the change. On the page, you’ll see all change orders submitted grouped by the status of the change order.
Step 3: Collect the signatures/written approval of the change
For each change order on the page, you’ll see a button at the bottom of each change order with the “Approve” text above it. When approvers click that button, their avatar will show up in the Approved By field. This is a quick way to see if the change order has been approved by the right stakeholders.
Change order form template FAQs
Who issues change orders?
This depends on the structure of your organization. Change requests can potentially come from anywhere, including key stakeholders, the technical team, and even clients. Having a can help you understand who makes the decision to initiate change within a project.
What is the change order process?
Ideally, you’ve got a in place to help manage whether changes get approved or not. The change control process helps you determine whether a based on certain criteria. The change order process keeps you on track and prevents unnecessary delays caused by unnecessary changes that could have waited for the next phase of the project.
What is the purpose of a change order?
The purpose of a change order is to make sure that everyone involved in a project knows what’s going on. You include details like what the change is, how it impacts the schedule, and even who approved the change to ensure that the entire team is on the same page.
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