Concept

Change control

Summary
Within quality management systems (QMS) and information technology (IT) systems, change control is a process—either formal or informal—used to ensure that changes to a product or system are introduced in a controlled and coordinated manner. It reduces the possibility that unnecessary changes will be introduced to a system without forethought, introducing faults into the system or undoing changes made by other users of software. The goals of a change control procedure usually include minimal disruption to services, reduction in back-out activities, and cost-effective utilization of resources involved in implementing change. According to the Project Management Institute, change control is a "process whereby modifications to documents, deliverables, or baselines associated with the project are identified, documented, approved, or rejected." Change control is used in various industries, including in IT, software development, the pharmaceutical industry, the medical device industry, and other engineering/manufacturing industries. For the IT and software industries, change control is a major aspect of the broader discipline of change management. Typical examples from the computer and network environments are patches to software products, installation of new operating systems, upgrades to network routing tables, or changes to the electrical power systems supporting such infrastructure. Certain portions of ITIL cover change control. There is considerable overlap and confusion between change management, configuration management and change control. The definition below is not yet integrated with definitions of the others. Change control can be described as a set of six steps: Plan / scope Assess / analyze Review / approval Build / test Implement Close Consider the primary and ancillary detail of the proposed change. This should include aspects such as identifying the change, its owner(s), how it will be communicated and executed, how success will be verified, the change's estimate of importance, its added value, its conformity to business and industry standards, and its target date for completion.
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