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Tips for Developing a Structured Change Control Process

written by: Kevin-F • edited by: Linda Richter • updated: 1/5/2011

A structured change control process is an important component of the project plan. It defines the procedure for analyzing a change and, subsequently, either approving or rejecting the change. The decision regarding the examination is communicated to all concerned.

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    Definition Structured Change Control Process

    A structured change control process is an essential component in the organization's quality management system. It is a procedure that ensures introduction of changes in the product with a systematic approach and minimizes the inclusion of needless changes. The aim of thechange control process  change control process is to ensure minimum disturbance, decrease in the activities being withdrawn, and economical use of resources for the implementation of changes. Change control process is normally being used in most types of systems. In information technology, the change management includes change control process. Examples from network systems include installation of another operating system, routing tables upgrade, and change in electrical systems.

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    Elements of the Change Control Process

    Record: The change is initiated by the client by a proper request for a change. The request is recorded and categorized by the change control process. The classification includes estimate of significance, effect, and complication.

    Evaluate: The change is assessed by conducting a risk analysis, including evaluation of risks to the product and the process. All stakeholders of the change assess the justification of change, and the change is forwarded for planning purposes. The individual or group to introduce the change is decided.

    Plan: The change is assigned to a specific individual or team for incorporation of the change in product or services. The plan is prepared for executing the change, including the regression plan, if the change needs to be canceled.

    Build: The solution is built by the team and subsequently tested. The change is approved for implementation, including its schedule.

    Implement: The change is implemented and later reviewed for evaluating the results of change.

    Close: After agreement by the customer regarding the successful implementation of the change, it is closed.

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    Change Control Process

    Project managers must concentrate on proper scope management since any deviation may cause additional cost, time, increased risks, and effect on reputation. Several projects are terminated or failed because of improper scope management. Often, numerous minor changes in scope lead to project failure, compared to the larger scope changes. It has been established that scope was controlled carefully in projects that were successful in the goals of schedule, cost, and quality.

    The project manager should focus on the delivery of planned scope on budget and time and also maximize the results produced by the projects. All changes in scope may not be unnecessary. Whenever a change in scope produces enhanced project benefits, it should be properly analyzed by the project integrated change control board and executed accordingly. However, deliberate efforts may be applied by the contractors to create scope change to enhance their work. Such efforts need to be more carefully analyzed to distinguish between the necessary and non-essential changes.

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    Executing Change Control Process

    The structured change control process includes procedures and responsibilities regarding the analysis and implementation of changes. An efficient change control process may include the following:

    • Basis on which the changes may be sanctioned.
    • Change control board members.
    • Individuals or groups responsible for the change.
    • Forms to be used for the change control process.
    • Authority level regarding the change approval.
    • Relationship with management procedures, like configuration management.

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    • Scheid, J. Bright Hub - How to Define a Change Control Process
    • Mashchak, P. SANS Institute - Change Control Process example, retrieved at
    • Europa - European eCTD Standards Change Control Process for European eCTD Standard, retrieved at