Change Control Board: Process & Best Practices

Instructor: Mike Miller
Have you ever run a project that has or needed a requirement to be changed? How would you get the change approved? In this lesson you will learn about the change control board, including the process and best practices.

What Is a Change Control Board?

Steve, a project engineer, is reviewing technical and regulatory specifications for a new smartphone. He notices that the frequency in the technical specification does not meet regulatory specifications. He brings the issue to Ron, the project manager. After Ron reviews the issue he agrees a change is needed. How does Ron incorporate the change? Well, Ron speaks to Jim, project sponsor, and Jim arranges for a change control board.

You are probably asking yourself what is a change control board? A change control board is a group of individuals that will make decisions on whether or not a proposed change to a project should be approved. The change control board is mostly used in the software/ information technology field.

Roles on the Change Control Board

To better understand a change control board, it helps to know a bit more about who makes one up. Let's take a look at the different positions on the board.

  • Chair - calls the board to order, runs the change control board meetings and has final approval on the changes
  • Board members - can be from various projects or groups in the company; decide if the change is approved or rejected
  • Evaluator - has the responsibility to evaluate how the change will affect scope, schedule and cost of the project
  • Originator - the person that is requesting a change to be approved; presents the information to board
  • Modifier - responsible for making changes to the project
  • Project Manager - responsible for successful completion of the project
  • Verifier - ensures that approved changes were made

Change Control Board Process

Now that we know who is on the change control board and what each person's function is. Let's look at the steps in the change control process.

Step 1: Submit the change request

In this step, the originator sees the need for a change and submits a change request to the board. Changes can come from new scope or a change in technical requirements, purchased products or vendors. The originator needs to document what the requested change is and why it is needed.

Step 2: Evaluation

The change control chair assigns an evaluator to evaluate what the change is, why it is needed and how it will affect the project's scope, budget and schedule.

Step 3: Board review

The chair calls the change control board to order and lists the evaluator's findings. The evaluator presents the findings in a non-biased presentation. The board listens, take notes and asks clarifying questions. Once the board is satisfied, the chair calls the board to vote. The change will either be rejected or approved.

After the change is approved the change can be cancelled during any one of the remaining steps for any reason but would need board approval to cancel the change. The cancelled change would then be closed. If the change request is rejected during Step 3, then the process would skip to step 6 and be closed.

Step 4: Incorporation

When the change is approved, the modifier then begins working on the changes by incorporating the changes into the project as documented on the approved change request form. When completed, the modifier reports the status back to the change control chair.

Step 5: Verification

Once the change control chair has received confirmation that the modifier has incorporated the change or changes, the chair assigns a verifier. The verifier takes the approved change request and checks that the changes were incorporated.

Step 6: Closing

Once the verifier has reported that the changes were incorporated as per the approved change request, the change control board can close out the change request.

Change Control Best Practices

Change is something that should not be taken lightly and can be met with resistance. A few best practices can help decrease the resistance to change. A best practice is a technique or process that has been proven to provide a desired and positive result. Let's look at some best practices when it comes to a change control board.

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