In today’s dynamic and fast-paced business environment, organizations constantly face the need to adapt, evolve, and innovate to stay competitive. Central to this process are two crucial disciplines: Change Management and Configuration Management. These twin pillars serve as the foundation for ensuring smooth transitions and maintaining the integrity of systems, processes, and projects throughout their lifecycle. Let’s delve into the fundamentals of Change Management and Configuration Management to understand their significance in driving organizational success.
Change management refers to the process of managing changes to a project. It involves identifying, documenting, and approving changes to project scope, schedule, or budget. Change management ensures that changes are made in a controlled and systematic way and that the impact of changes on the project is carefully considered before they are implemented.
A Change Management Plan is a general plan that directs the Project Manager in making any sort of change on the project particularly those that influence the baseline (scope, cost baseline, and time). It documents how these changes will be monitored and controlled. It also defines the approval matrix like CCB- Change Control Board.
Change Management applies to many kinds of changes in the project. Therefore, its important how the changes will be managed, assessed, and documented throughout the project’s lifecycle. Two imperative conditions for change management include:
- Time: If time is not managed efficiently, it will result in delays. If these interruptions are not recoverable, the project manager needs to develop a new schedule to deliver the project on time.
- Cost: In case the cost estimations are outdated, the project manager must develop a new project budget and assess the project costs again.
Suppose you are supervising a pipeline project. According to your contract, land procurement works are under the client’s responsibility. If the client couldn’t complete land procurement work on time it would result in a delay of two months. Under these circumstances, you will need to submit a change request to extend your work schedule by two months and get it approved by the client.
The primary purpose of change management is to execute strategies that effect change, control change, and help people to adapt to change. These strategies comprise of a structured process for requesting a change and systems for responding to requests and following them up.
The change management plan deals with changes to the “process” whereas the configuration management oversees how any change to the “product” should be done.
PMBOK® Guide Sixth Edition defines Configuration Management as:
“A subsystem of an inclusive project management. It is an assortment of officially recognized processes for methodological and managerial direction. It defines the physical and practical aspects of products, services, outcomes, control and any modifications in the record while at the same time report every change, support the review of products and authenticating conformance to requirements. It includes the formal documents, tracking systems, and accepted levels for sanctioning and monitoring changes.”
Configuration management ensures that the project remains consistent and operational,
even as changes are made to it
Configuration management (CM) is a business process for creating and maintaining constancy of a product’s performance, practicality, and physical qualities with its requirements, design and functional information. Configuration Management emphasizes on the specifications of deliverables and processes. It is mostly referred as a version control system for the product of the project. It outlines those elements that are configurable and require formal change control and the procedures for monitoring these changes. Change control modifies the established scope, duration, and cost baselines of a formal project management plan. These baselines are advanced in the planning phase of a project. As soon as the project enters the execution phase, the requested changes are reviewed and either approved or disapproved by the Change Control Board.
Project configuration management monitors the configuration of all project’s key products and resources. This includes final products that will be delivered to the client along with managing products such as project management plan and performance managing baseline.
- Planning: A configuration management plan provides you with the record, pathway, control, and audit configuration. This is an important part of the project quality management plan.
- Identification: In this step, all configuration requirements on a project are identified and recorded. This includes operational needs, design requirements, and other key specifications. This results in the configuration baseline for the project once the process is completed.
- Control: When the project scope is modified, the influence on the configuration needs to be evaluated, approved, and documented. Typically, this is done within the project change control procedure.
- Status Accounting: You must track the project’s configuration at all time and have the ongoing and historical record of all versions. This helps in tracking changes throughout the project.
- Audit: This step comprises of assessments to demonstrate that the product adapts with the configuration requirements. Audits and checks are developed in the completion of foremost project levels to help you identify the issues at an early stage.
Suppose you are running an electric store and a client requests you for cabling for an automated system which is not in your capacity. This request modifies the project designs, schedule, and financial plan. Subsequently, you will raise the configuration change request which needs to be accepted by the client. These changes will be carried out under the configuration management system since the specification of the product is changed.
Configuration Management primarily focuses on configurable items such as products, services, and outcomes. It leads to changes that are specific to the product configuration. The changes are primarily related to product configuration. On the other hand, change management focuses on the process. It results in changes that influence scope, schedule baseline, and cost baseline. It is important to note that both have individual plans and are part of the Project Management Plan.
Change management plan. Describes how the change requests throughout the project will be formally authorized and incorporated. PMBOK 6
Configuration management plan. Describes how the information about the items of the project (and which items) will be recorded and updated so that the product, service, or result of the project remains consistent and/or operative. PMBOK 6