The Importance of Change Control

Brad Egeland

I remember my days as a configuration manager on a very large government contract: meticulously tracking changes, running the official change control board, meetings with the government and even locking down the actual source code libraries and allowing access to developers to make changes and then actually compiling the modified source code and placing it back into production. I remember writing my own security programs to catch rogue developers who were trying to circumvent the process and make production changes on their own (yes, they did…and yes, I caught them with my software). To me, this was change control.

When I became a project manager, it was hard for me to understand what change control meant without this very rigid process in place. I was looking at it more as the “keeper of the code” than the “guardian of the scope.” I soon understood that the latter is the change control vision of the project manager. You’re not concerned about whether the version of software going into production is the right version; that’s someone else’s concern. (Well, it is your concern as the project manager, but you rely on someone else to be the “owner” of that process. After all, you can’t do everything...)

So why is change control so important? With everything a project manager is responsible for, why so much…

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If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason.

- Jack Handey

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