Change Control Process in Software Engineering with Steps

What is Change Control?

Change Control is the process that a company uses to document, identify and authorize changes to an IT environment. It reduces the chances of unauthorized alterations, disruption and errors in the system.

Why Change Control?

Whenever any new or different changes are requested for the system, especially by stakeholders, it is neither optional nor ignorable. It has to be implemented without affecting other components of the system. This is when the change control comes handy. It helps project teams to modify the scope of the project using specified controls and policies. Change Control is practiced whenever a project is not progressing as planned.

It is mandatory that a formal document for change request is completed and reviewed in order to keep control of change requests.

Number of question one might encounter while analyzing Change Control like

  • Who will approve the change?
  • Does it require to run through a change control board?
  • How much time will be required to research and implement the change?
  • What are the impacts of changes to other components of the system (schedules, cost, resources, etc.)?
  • Is there any threshold under which the project management can approve it?

Different factors of Change Control process

There are various factors that a Change Control process should consider

Steps in Change Control Process Action taken in Change Control
  • Change request initiation and Control
  • Request for changes should be standardized and subject to management review
  • Change requestor should be kept informed
  • Impact Assessment
  • Make sure that all requests for change are assessed in a structured way for analyzing possible impacts
  • Control and Documentation of Changes
  • A change log should be maintained that tells the date, person details who made changes and changes implemented
  • Only authorized individual should be able to make changes
  • A process for rolling back to the previous version should be identified
  • Documentation and Procedures
  • Whenever system changes are implemented the procedures and associated document should update accordingly
  • Authorized Maintenance
  • System access right should be controlled to avert unauthorized access
  • Testing and User signoff
  • Software should be thoroughly tested
  • Version Control
  • Control should be placed on production source code to make sure that only the latest version is updated
  • Emergency Changes
  • A verbal authorization should be obtained, and the change should be documented as soon as possible

Process of Change Control

Before we look into what is involved in Change Control process, we will get familiarize with what documents are used in Change Control. While carrying out Change Control, there are mainly two documents involved

  • Change Log: A change log is a document that list the details about all the Change Requests like project number, PCR (project change request) ID, priority, Owner details, Target date, status and status date, raised by, date when raised etc.
  • Change Control Process Tutorial

  • Change Request Form: It is used to document details required to support the decision making process like type of change, benefits of change, name of resource requesting the change, time and estimate cost, priority of change, authorized person detail, change request status etc.

    Change Control Process Tutorial

Change Process Flow-Diagram

Change Process follows a specific pattern to implement the changes in the product or system. Here through flow-diagram we explained what are the steps involved in the Change Process.

Change Control Process Tutorial

Steps for Change Control

Steps for Change Control Action
  • Change request identification
  • Identify the need for a change and describe it on the project change request form
  • Change request assessment
  • If the change is not valid, it has to be deferred or rejected
  • Determine appropriate resources required to analyze the change request
  • Perform quick assessment of the potential impact and update the change request form
  • At this stage, rejected change request should stopped
  • Change request analysis
  • For analysis assign the change request to an authorized member
  • Deferred change re-enter this analysis step
  • At this stage, rejected change request should stopped
  • Change request approval
  • Identify change risk and complexity level before approval
  • Identify the impact level of the change before approval
  • Review impact of Change Request to authorized person for approval
  • At this stage, rejected change request should stopped
  • Change request implementation
  • Update project procedure and management plans
  • Inform about the changes to the team
  • Monitor progress of change request
  • Record the completion of change request
  • Close change request

NOTE: The approval for Change Control may be done by Project Manager, Lead IT or Lead Developer, Stakeholder.

Change Management Vs Change Control

Change Management Change Control
  • It is responsible for managing and controlling change requests to effect changes to the IT infrastructure or any aspect of IT services to minimize the risk of disruption of services and promoting business benefit
  • Change control includes activities like submission, recording, analyzing and approval of change to improve the overall performance of the system or product