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What is Change Control?

By Troy Holmes
Updated May 16, 2024
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Building software applications requires formal change management processes. Change control is method of managing the changes for a software program. These typically include software bugs, enhancements, and hardware upgrade requests. Change management processes help a company manage the workload of information technology.

A change control board is an effective way to manage a company's software changes. This group prioritizes the work and business needs of the company. A control board should include people with business and software expertise. This helps a company estimate the time and money needed for specific software enhancements.

Most businesses have formal processes for requesting changes in software applications. A good example of this process is a change order request form. This request form is completed by business users and submitted to the control board for consideration. This request is then reviewed, estimated, and prioritized by the board members.

A change control board must include the company's key decision makers. This group determines the business needs of specific system changes and prioritizes those needs for the company. Once the change request has been prioritized, it can be sent to the software development team for delivery.

One of the most important aspects to change control is open communication with users of the system. The change process should support a wide variety of suggestions from the business community. A good example of this type approach is a generic suggestion box. This approach enables an open dialog with business users, which can generate new ideas for the company.

Estimating system changes is a difficult undertaking that requires expertise in project management and systems development. Change control is the tool that helps to ensure this estimating process is completed before a company commits resources to a software enhancement. Many requests will be rejected by the control board because they are either too expensive or have limited value for the business.

Change control is an efficient way to manage the money spent on information technology. This is an opportunity to determine the future work requirements of software applications. These groups meet on a periodic basis to review the upcoming work for the organization.

Several software applications are available to organize and manage the change control processes. These programs are basically documentation tools that can assist a manager in recording the decisions made from the board. It is important to create a standard method of documenting changes because this ensures all changes are approved before they are completed.

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