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Paper w78_2007_29:
IT-based approach for effective management of project changes: a change management system (CMS)

Facilitated by the SciX project

Faisal Manzoor Arain

IT-based approach for effective management of project changes: a change management system (CMS)

Abstract: In a perfect world, changes will be confined to the planning stages. However, late changes often occur during construction, and frequently cause serious disruption to the project. The need to make changes in a construction project is a matter of practical reality. Even the most thoughtfully planned project may necessitate changes due to vari-ous factors. The fundamental idea of any variation management system in a building project is to anticipate, recognize, evaluate, resolve, control, document, and learn from past variations in ways that support the overall viability of the project. Learning from past variations is imperative because the professionals can then improve and apply their experi-ence in the future. Primarily, the study proposes six principles of change management. Based on these principles, a theoretical model for change management system (CMS) is developed. The theoretical model consists of six fundamen-tal stages linked to two main components, i.e., a knowledge-base and a controls selection shell for making more in-formed decisions for effective management of variations. This paper argues that the information technology can be ef-fectively used for providing an excellent opportunity for the professionals to learn from similar past projects and to better control project variations. Finally, the study briefly presents a knowledge-based decision support system (KBDSS) for the management of variations in educational building projects in Singapore. The KBDSS consists of two main components, i.e., a knowledge-base and a controls selection shell for selecting appropriate controls. The KBDSS is able to assist project managers by providing accurate and timely information for decision making, and a user-friendly system for analyzing and selecting the controls for variation orders for educational buildings. The CMS will enable the project team to take advantage of beneficial variations when the opportunity arises without an inordinate fear of the negative impacts. By having a systematic way to manage variations, the efficiency of project work and the likelihood of project success should increase. The study would assist building professionals in developing an effective variation management system. The system would be helpful for them to take proactive measures for reducing variation orders. Furthermore, with further generic enhancement and modification, the KBDSS will also be useful for the man-agement of variations in other types of building projects, thus helping to raise the overall level of productivity in the construction industry. Hence, the system developed and the findings from this study would also be valuable for all building professionals in general.

Keywords: CMS, information technology, KBDSS, changes, management


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