Back to CM Basics: Change Control

  • would the change affect the project's resource allocation? Would it add work to people already on the project's critical path?
  • Can the change be deferred to a later project phase or a later version?
  • Would the change destabilize the product?

The actions of the CCB must include:

  • Being pro-active
  • Being responsive
  • The approval/rejection of all proposed changes
  • Documenting all decisions
  • The assurance approved changes are implemented

The entire project team must embrace change control if it is to be executed successfully.  That is, there must be an overall understanding and acceptance of the process, and the process must be clearly and concisely documented for consistency of use.  Change control expectations must consider:

  • What needs to be controlled?
  • Who has approval/rejection authority?
  • Who (resources) will implement the change?
  • What (process and/or tools) will be used to implement the change?
  • How will changes be tracked through closure?
  • What should be measured to demonstrate clear benefit?

Remember that business cultures and problem domains are and will be different, so what works well for one does not guarantee success everywhere.  Before change control is installed or written into law, make sure that there is total buy-in from all major and intermediate stakeholders.  Without stakeholder buy-in, you have a process that is doomed for failure.  Ensure the involvement of stakeholders and communicate results of change activities.

Dick Carlson is the founder of Software Engineering Solutions, a training and mentoring consulting firm.  Dick has 20+ years of software engineering experience that focused on training and mentoring, development and implementation of software lifecycle methodologies, software configuration management, software quality assurance, and software process improvement.  
Dick has trained and mentored teams and individuals on efficient SCM activities, project management, requirements development and management, risk management, business modeling, and business re-engineering.  He has also been involved in software process improvement initiatives in preparing organizations for SEI CMM Levels 2 and 3 compliance.  Dick is the VP of Education with the Association for Configuration and Data Management (ACDM) and can be reached at
[email protected].

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