How to automate the change request process

Change is inevitable, especially when you’re running a business.

Whether these changes are initiated in-house or through a client, they can fundamentally alter the final deliverable. That’s why change request management, the process of keeping track of these alterations, is vital for businesses that want to consistently turn out good work. 

Maintaining a paper trail for the changes that pop up in your business or projects is a necessary part of keeping workflows transparent for your team members and clients. After all, how will you know what made a project successful or unsuccessful if you don’t have a record of all the variables?

Why businesses need a solid change request process

Documenting each change request helps a business improve its project success rate. Typical requests include changes to a project’s budget, resource needs, and scope. Changes can also include anything from changing the software a team uses on a project to fully overhauling the project timeline.

The change request process gives your team a bird’s-eye view of how these project alterations will affect the result as they request them. It also keeps managers, executives, and end users in the loop by requiring them to sign off on the changes. 

Without efficient change request management, your organization can easily overlook or forget requests or poorly communicate the changes with team members, significantly hindering your ability to deliver what the client needs.

Good request management keeps a team working together while making room for necessary adjustments so you take care of issues before it’s too late. Mid-project changes are usually unpredictable and unavoidable, so it’s better to prepare to deal with them than to hope they never happen.

Key components of change request management

Here’s how a typical change request process goes.

1. Determine if the request is in scope or out of scope

In-scope changes won’t affect a project’s budget or timeline, and the team can easily execute them in addition to the established workflow. Out-of-scope changes, on the other hand, will alter timelines and budgets, so stakeholders must carefully consider how they’ll affect the project and the team’s ability to get work done. 

Both types of change requests are important, though, so the organization has to track them.

2. Gather data

To make better decisions, teams must provide stakeholders with all the important project data the request could impact. Being able to see the full consequences of a change is incredibly important when deciding if honoring the change request will be worth it in the long run.

3. Initiate the change request approval workflow

As is the case with any process that needs stakeholder approval, officially recording a change request is a necessity. Work with your team to establish what kinds of requests need approvals from higher-ups and who will oversee them. You should also automate this workflow to save your team time and money.

4. Communicate approvals

Once the right stakeholders approve a request, managers need to communicate the changes to the team. Without proper communication, even the best change request management process will be ineffective. This part of the process should also include a follow-up with the client if the request originated from them or will impact deliverables.

Types of change requests

Creating designations for different types of change requests helps your team react quickly and gives everyone a good idea of the level of approval needed to go forward. Here are some example change request designations:

  • Major: These changes significantly impact a project or deliverable, affecting timelines and budgets. Major changes should go all the way to the top of an organization for approval.
  • Standard: Most of these changes won’t significantly affect a project, so team leads and managers can handle them. Teams can request standard changes by filling out simple change order forms. Automating these approvals prevents them from becoming a burden.
  • Emergency: As the name suggests, emergency changes need immediate action. These might only need high-level executive approval, but team leads must monitor their implementation to understand their ramifications.

How to automate the change request process

Being able to quickly capture, log, and implement change requests maintains the steadiness and clarity your team needs to finish a complicated project. Change logs are also valuable tools to judge a project’s workflow after completion.

This is where Jotform can help. Jotform’s fully customizable change request templates and approval forms cover all your change request management needs. Jotform’s table templates, such as this change log template, can also help you manage each request as it comes in for approval. Information from your forms will populate your tables so you can see requests in one place.

And to automate the change request approval workflow, you can use Jotform Approvals, a powerful tool that improves your request processes and helps your team get to work faster, more efficiently, and with less stress. 

The tool allows you to build your own workflow in minutes with conditional logic. Users can drag and drop forms, approvers, and automated notifications to adjust the workflow as much as needed. You can get started right away with change request approval workflow templates.

Change is necessary, but it doesn’t have to be hard. With a solution like Jotform and a willingness to pivot, you and your team can handle whatever the change request process throws your way.

This article is originally published on Aug 04, 2021, and updated on Feb 24, 2022.
Aytekin Tank is the founder and CEO of Jotform and the author of Automate Your Busywork. A developer by trade but a storyteller by heart, he writes about his journey as an entrepreneur and shares advice for other startups. He loves to hear from Jotform users. You can reach Aytekin from his official website

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