How to Avoid Change Orders and Ensure a Successful IT Project

Project Failure

How to Avoid Change Orders and Ensure a Successful IT Project

Change Orders. No one likes them and many begrudge them. A change order is a dreaded phrase that takes away from our original scope of work of a contract. It forces us to go down a road that was not a part of the well-thought-out journey. It can cause a ripple in our detailed projects. In the development process, as teams work towards moving from “project” to “product” change orders can become a seismic shift.

We don’t like doing things twice. Neither should you. Change orders can cause a tremendous loss of time. They can add to a budget that is already busting. A change order may force a new project to take on significant changes to the current project. All without understanding the magnitude of the change itself. This can cause problems.

Where do I begin the steps for success?

It starts with the roadmap

Laying out the groundwork on your technology roadmap is like finding your way on a geographical map. Rather than looking at coordinates and street names, you’ll be analyzing goals and outcomes. Like any journey a company could plan for, we need to have some type of map to guide us.

For this reason alone,  you must perfect a plan. Being prepared is key to the ability to assess your current state. It will give you a starting point to use when launching future projects. From there, you can draw up and prioritize the goals you want to achieve over a specific period.

Key Questions and Considerations that can help you avoid Change Orders.

  • Product Roadmap: What items are on your roadmap? How complex are these items to implement?
  • Systems Development Lifecycle (SDLC): What process do we have in place to maintain and expand ServiceNow capabilities?
  • Staffing Model: Do we have a team of people with the right skill set to carry out our ServiceNow plans and objectives? What resources do I have or need to support the SDLC and execute it?
  • Flexibility: Essential! An IT roadmap should be able to change with the needs of your teams and support your business model as it evolves

Preparation is key

Although it may seem like an arduous process, laying out the groundwork is essential. Documenting the visions, goals, and objectives will bring your project to life. During this process, you will avoid changing orders by:

  • Document the business case and expected outcome
  • Define what deems the project a success
  • Socialize with SME’s & Key Stakeholders
  • Have the team document well-defined use cases

Research your vendor

Knowing your vendor requires some research that will pay dividends later in the project.

  • Do they have recent experience in delivering the desired solution?
  • If previously contracted by the organization, find out what the experience was like.

Know your budget

  • If budget is an issue, use a phased approach vs scaling back on “required functionality.”
  • Is the organization committed to staffing the project “as needed” to achieve the desired result?


As in any good relationship, communication is at the helm for top performance and desired results. For example, it is important to be transparent consistently. Sharing any pertinent information along the way is critical. Don’t fall into the pitfall of-IF “it was discussed then it was included”. It is important to have the following in place as a benchmark for expectations along the journey

  • Have solid rules of engagement in place (think RACI)
  • Ensure key people are available
  • Establish a realistic timeline
  • Understand & communicate other projects that may impact and/or compete for resource time
  • Have an agreed mitigation strategy for all known project risks


Having a flexible and up-to-date IT roadmap is a monumental step toward helping the companies we work with. It is a critical piece that will help them reach their business goals more effectively. An IT roadmap that involves collaboration, can help strengthen the company’s overall performance, thus creating a successful final outcome.

For more information, check out our webinar: Demystifying the ServiceNow Journey in Digital Transformation with a simple roadmap. Learn how a simple, living roadmap is critical to ServiceNow success.


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