Change Control Overview
In the world of project management, change control is best described as the process which is responsible for the management of change. The standard method which is used for managing the change within a typical PM project is called the Change Control form. When this form is used, it will basically be utilized for the purpose of comprising the scope of the change, as well as the impact which is made to the project.
Once it has been approved, it will be placed within the project master plan. The Change Control process is also used by the operation departments for the management, deployment, and the promotion of code for different environments. It offers documentation which allows the operations team to make the right deployment.
The problem with the classical view of change control is that it is in direct opposition to methodologies which are considered to be agile. Typically change is seen as being non-typical, meaning that the project may be running fairly smoothly until a change was added to the project.
Agile projects are defined as being dependent on the assumption that changes for typical events are not really that special. In the most basic sense, change requests are little more than waterfall designs which are miniature. The requirements which are necessary for the change will need to be properly documented up front, and it is critical for them to be analyzed. Stakeholders will also need to make sure they approve of the changes which are made.
Historically, Change Control processes have always been defined as being heavy when it comes to documents. The process is structured in such a way that it is possible to not only document change, but capture it as well. Change control forms may be kept around for a long period of time, and they may be comprised of identifiers and dates which allow you to see who approved a specific change.
In some situations, these can also be printed on paper, which will eventually require you to maintain huge binders that contains signatures for each change that is made. In a project which is considered to be agile, one of the primary goals is for the team to be flattened.
Change Control for Team Structure
The purpose of flattening the team and lowering the hierarchies is so that the people can communicate in a more effective manner. At the same time, standard change control processes will need knowledge which is specialized, and it will also require approval from those who have the authority. It is also crucial to make sure that a command and control structure is set in place, one that has a hierarchy.
The project manager is typically the person who is responsible for writing the forms for change control, but they will need to get approval from the Stakeholders who will be responsible for blessing the change. When PMs operate in an environment which is highly bureaucratic, the change control process may become too heavy.
When you think about it, just taking the time to handle the process documentation can be highly tedious. While I’m not trying to say that change control is bad, the classical objectives behind change control are large in line with those objectives which are available for the methodologies which are agile.
The first thing you will need to do is take the time to define the change and anticipate these changes early as opposed to leaving it for the end. It will also be necessary to create a process which allows you to incorporate the change inside the development for the project. It is also necessary to communicate the impacts and risks that come with change.
In addition to everything stated in the last paragraph, it will be necessary for you to offer the proper review and process for approval that can be used to allow the change to become authorized. While change control isn’t necessarily a bad thing, the evolution for the project methodologies which are formal may lead to heavy processes which are quite bureaucratic.
One thing that you must always keep in mind is that the processes were specific designed prior to the introduction of digital tools like emails, Wiki, and Word. Because of this, the change control process makes use of things that predate the digital era.