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Change and Configuration Management in a nutshell

Change and Configuration Management in a nutshellThe Features of Change and Configuration Management tools that enable Large enterprise to scale Agile development to multi-team environments are the features of distributed version control (DVCS) tools such as GIT or Mecurial and document management features. As tools for project management, you might think that this would fall under project management label, - and you would be right, but when dealing with collaboration tools you cannot really separate project management from change management even though they are technically independent. Both forms of management begin by looking at the current state of affairs, identifying a change requirement and then building a change strategy. Once the plan is in place, the transition follows throughout the entire lifecycle of the needed change to finalized implementation. Throughout the change transition the application of knowledge, tools and skills or techniques for managing the project are considered as falling under the Project Management domain. Whereas under Change Management comes the processes, tools and techniques for managing people in the transition to the new state of affairs, for example an employees’ new job role.

Basic steps of Change and Configuration Management

Configuration management (CM) is a systems engineering process used principally by Military engineers and software developers to manage complex systems, to ensure continued performance over the lifetime of a product. Whatever the industry, Change Management is about managing people effectively throughout the required change period. Therefore the basic steps of Change Management are usually the same and can be summarized as follows.

  1. Identify need
  2. Investigate that need
  3. Plan the Change
  4. Implement the change (continued performance monitoring thereafter)

Although these steps are pretty much set in stone, the approach to change management varies dependent on the identified need and the business context of that need. The purpose of Change management is to create a tailored change management strategy and then implement it in such a way that it minimizes disruption to the workforce, whether it be an assembly line upgrade or a Human Resources Management need, such as rolling out a new software solution enterprise wide.

A Change Management Professional must consider the impact of the change on every level, what this means is, both planning and managing change throughout the following areas:

  • Organization Working Processes
  • Organization Systems
  • Organization Structure
  • Organization Job Roles

Change Management is typically overly complex, - a lengthy beaurocratic process, made worse by the fact that it is usually paper based. Another problem is that it is often those most effected by the change are frequently omitted from the consultation process, in the case of introducing a new piece of software to the workforce, then this would be the end user. The consequences of this particular situation are dire in that the software solution may not be a solution at all, failing to meet the requirements of the end user. A failure of both project management and change management.

There is much to learn from both the processes and the tools adopted by software developers for collaboration during software development, they are typically a group that are first to innovate and automate everything. Indeed when it comes to large enterprise with large embedded software development teams, you cannot be Agile or do Agile Software development effectively without Change Management.

Change and Configuration Management of codeBeamer ALM

When considering the procurement of a project management tool, due consideration must be made for the features for the management of people (Change Management features). codeBeamer ALM complete Application Lifecycle Management solution that covers all phases of the development process including requirements, test, and risk management as well as demand management, development management, and DevOps. In addition, it offers a comprehensive wiki and advanced document management functionality.

codeBeamer ALM is also a great collaboration tool, with features that are ideal for Change Management, digital document central repository is one great example, - necessary for Change Management to go digital. It provides the ability to ensure inclusion within the consultation process, no matter the geographical location, all thats required is an internet connection (cloud based).

Access controls allow the fine-tuning of access of personnel, enterprise wide - to the project. Of specific note is the Demand Management functionality, which collects change / project requirements from elicit individuals. I hope that this would include the end user.