What is change management?

Change management is a scientific approach to managing all changes made to a product or system. The aim is to make sure that no unnecessary changes are made, all changes are documented, services should not unnecessarily disrupted and resources are used efficiently. Within data technology (IT), change control is a part of change management.

The change control process is usually carried out as a sequence of steps proceeding from the submission of a change request. Typical IT change requests include the addition of options to software applications, the installation of patches and upgrades to network equipment or systems.

What is the process of change management?

Here’s an instance of a six-step process for a software change request:

Documenting the change request. The client’s change request or proposal is categorized and recorded alongside with informal assessments of the significance of that change and the difficulty of implementing it.

Formal assessment. This step evaluates the justification for the change and the risks and benefits of making or not making the change. If the change request is accepted, a development crew will be assigned. If the change request is rejected, that’s documented and communicated to the client.

Planning. The team responsible for the change creates a detailed plan for its design and implementation, as well as for rolling back the change should it be deemed unsuccessful.

Designing and testing. The team designs the program for the software change and tests it. If the change is deemed successful, the team requests approval and an implementation date.

Implementation and review. The staff implements the program and stakeholders evaluate the change.

Final assessment. If the client is satisfied with the implementation of the change, the change request is closed. If the client is just not satisfied, the project is reassessed and steps may be repeated.

Change management in project administration

Change management is a vital part of project administration in IT and non-IT areas — together with manufacturing and prescribed drugs — and could be a formal or casual process. Project managers study change requests to determine their potential impact on the project or system as a whole. Efficient change management processes are critical for incorporating necessary adjustments, while ensuring they do not disrupt other project activities or delay progress. Every potential change must be evaluated in relation to its potential impact on the next:

scope of the project;

schedule of progress and milestones;

costs of additional labor and other resource necessities;

quality of the finished project, as excessive quantities of work can lead to rushed work, leading to a higher likelihood of defects;

human resources, as change requests may require additional labor or specialized skills;

risk, as even minor modifications can have a domino effect on the project leading to potential logistical, financial or security risks;

procurement of supplies, labor, skills and different vital project resources; and

stakeholders — together with project managers, executives, firm owners, staff members or investors — who might voice their help or push back on a project.

Benefits of change control

Efficient change control can provide the next potential benefits for projects in any business:

better price and risk avoidance;

lower risk associated with every individual change;

reduced period of time needed for changes;

changes will be factored in with less disruption to project schedule, as requests will be considered and managed around the project timeline; and

project managers will be told about change needs within the planning part and have time to consider doable courses of action.

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