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Simple Process Deviation Request Form

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Here is the Process Deviation Request Form I said I would post. This is used to help ensure the right people are signing off on a process deviation and that the right people are informed. It also creates a paper trail so that no one can say they didn’t know about the change of plan.

The form only has 5 sections. There is a lot more you can add to a form like this, but I prefer to start simple and add more once people get used to the process. If you start with a complicated monstrosity of a form, you’ll have more resistance. Everything on this form is information you really should know before deviating from your standard process. We’re just formalizing the process by putting it on paper.

The first section is the Scope of the Deviation. This section should include the specific process or parts of the process you want to do differently and the timeframe if it applies. For instance, if you want to handle lighting differently on a pre-rendered animation project, do you want to handle the lighting this new way for one shot, an entire scene, or the whole project? If it’s just one shot, which shot is it? This needs to be clearly defined so include all the relevant details. You should include any time limitations to the deviation as well. For instance, maybe test rendering will be done locally on the artist workstations with lowered settings for the next two weeks while upgrades to the render farm are taken care of. You should include that timeframe here. The reasons and specifics of how you’re going to work different are left for the following sections.

The second section is the Reason for the Deviation. If you don’t want to follow procedure, there needs to be a reason for it. Describe the reason here. If you don’t have a good reason, you should probably just follow procedure. In the render farm example about the reason would be that the farm is unavailable do to upgrades for the given time period.

The next section is the Suggested Plan. If you’re not going to follow the standard procedure, what are you going to do? Describe it in detail here. You need to include as many specifics as possible in your plan. This way later, there is no disagreement over whether you followed your plan or whether the plan documented is the plan you described to others over the phone. If the plan is worded vaguely, different people might have different ideas about what was meant. If you’re using different render settings for a shot, include the specific settings and values you’ll be using.

The Need Signoff From section is a list of people you need to have sign off on the change. Depending on how you like to work, this could be the person’s name or title or both. The checkboxes exist so you can have a standard list of people and just check off the ones you need for this deviation. The line next to the X is for the person to actually sign the document.

The last section of the document is the Need to Inform section. This is a list of people who need to be informed about the change. This is very similar to the Need Signoff From section, but these people don’t need to approve the change. They’re signing off that they are aware of the change. This way you have proof later when someone claims they were never told about the change. Make sure to think through who the stakeholders are when filling out this section. In general it’s better to put too inform too many people rather than not enough. Depending on your team size and structure, you may use group or team names instead of individuals. If this is the case, it’s good to have a lead or spokesperson be responsible for verifying the whole group is informed. This person would be the one to sign off on the document.

I tried to design this document to target teams that are just starting to use Process Deviation Requests. The easiest way to start out is to fill out most of the document on the computer, then print it out and walk it around for signoff. You can have a quick meeting or email to get the idea approved before making it official. Make sure to file the physical paper somewhere you can find it, or scan it in to a pdf. You could potentially use it with a tablet computer to prevent using paper. I’d like to hear if anyone tries this. Make sure you have some way to verify that the stakeholders have signed off or been informed though. That’s why I recommend signatures to start.

 

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