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In Information technology, change control is an important aspect of change management. Change control is mostly used in bringing additional features to software applications, modifying features of applications or systems to suit different requirements, patch installation or network upgrades. Change control mainly helps in reducing the possibility of making unnecessary changes to the application or system.
The process for change control involves a series of steps in sequence. The steps are usually:
During proposal of the change, all details of the change request are captured and recorded. In impact summary, the affected groups and associated business owners assess the risk and impact of the requested change. The decision-making process involves the formal approval from the change authority in charge in order to carry out the change, in case it is found to not be viable. Change implementation involves the implementation, monitoring and reporting of the actual implementation. Once the completed changes have been found to meet the objectives, closing and review of the change is carried out.
All information related to a change request is documented along with lessons learned along with feedback for similar future changes. During the change control process, two documents are usually created, namely, the change log which contains the record of all requested changes, and the change request form which contains the detailed information of the change, business case, risks involved and other related aspects.
There are many benefits related to change control. First and foremost it prevents any faults from being introduced to system or making unnecessary changes to applications or systems. In this manner, it ensures all changes are controlled. It also helps in cost-effective utilization of resources involved in the change control and helps in reduction in back-out activities. From the organizational perspective, it provides a much-improved visibility over different changes across the enterprise. It assures that only changes which are for the benefit of the business are accepted. It also helps in improving the ability to regress back to a previous stable state in the event of failures or risks.