Image credit: Flickr / spursfan_ace Configuration Control and Change Control are often used interchangeably. Both are related activities in the sense that they are concerned with "management of change". Both are subsets of the overall Configuration Management System. However, they are distinct activities with different focus, and one is not a substitute for other. This article is a follow-up to Configuration Management System - A Quick Refresher. In this article, we'll review Configuration Control and Change Control and learn how these two activities are similar, yet distinct.
Configuration Control is the activity of managing the product (or project's deliverables) and related documents, throughout the lifecycle of the product. An effective Configuration Control system ensures that:
- The latest approved version of the product and its components are used at all times.
- No change is made to the product baselines without authorization.
- A clear audit trail of all proposed, approved or implemented changes exists.
Change Control is the process of identifying, documenting, approving or rejecting, and controlling changes to the project baselines (including scope baselines, schedule baselines, cost baselines, etc.). In other words, it is used to control changes to all aspects of an approved project plan. An effective Change Control system ensures that:
- Proposed changes are reviewed and their impact is analyzed, prior to approving or rejecting them.
- All requests and changes are properly documented to provide a clear audit trail.
Configuration Control and Change Control are distinct in the following ways:
- Configuration Control addresses the management of the product (or project's deliverables), whereas Change Control addresses the management of the project.
- Configuration Control manages changes to the product baseline, whereas Change Control manages changes to the project baseline.
- Configuration Control is applied throughout the lifecycle of the product (concept -> design -> develop/manufacture -> service -> dispose), whereas Change Control is applied during the lifecycle of the project subsequent to establishing the project baselines.
I hope now you can better appreciate the distinction between Configuration Control and Change Control. Look forward to more articles in this series on Configuration Management.