August 26, 2021

By  Dave Litten


Change and Version Control

The biggest mistake project managers can make is to start planning before thinking through the best strategy to deliver the end product. There are four key strategies that need to be considered and developed, and the one concerned with version and change control is the Configuration Management Strategy.

PRINCE2 configuration management strategy is essential for the project to maintain control over its management and specialist products. To determine what aid projects products, the PRINCE2 product-based planning technique is first used. Creating the product breakdown structure will clarify what each product is, and what it is composed of.

Creating the product description for each product will determine the characteristics and quality criteria for each product. Creating the product flow diagram will show the relationship and sequence of creation of each product.

Configuration item records should be created at this point for specialist products. The only configuration item records that exist currently, are for the management products.

This information is crucial the maximum level of control required within the configuration management strategy. The initial set of configuration item records will be created during this activity. The configuration management strategy will define the format and composition of the records that need to be maintained.

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The Configuration Management Strategy document

The structure of the configuration management strategy document (remember that a strategy is a ‘how’), is as follows:

  • Purpose, objectives, and scope. Identifies who is responsible for strategy
  • Description or reference to procedure used. Should include:
    • planning
    • identification
    • control
    • security
    • handover procedures
    • status accounting
    • verification and audit
  • Description of, or reference to the procedures to be used. Should cover:
    • capturing
    • examining
    • proposing
    • deciding and implementing
  • Reference to any tools, techniques or systems to be used
  • A definition of the composition and format of the Issue Register and Configuration Item Records
  • Report composition and format (Issue Report, Product Status Account),  their purpose, timing, and recipients, including reviewing the performance of the procedures
  • When formal activities are to be undertaken – for example configuration audits
  • Who will be responsible for which aspects of what procedures. Also describes whether a Change Authority/Change Budget will be set up
  • Prioritizing requests for change/off-specifications and the management levels needed for decision-making on various levels of severity

Before creating the configuration management strategy document, PRINCE2 recommends that the following information be used to help define and create the configuration management strategy:

The Project Brief should be checked to determine if there are any corporate or programme management strategies, standards or practices related to configuration management strategy that should be applied or adhered to in this particular project.

effective prince2 change control PRINCE2 CONFIGURATION MANAGEMENT STRATEGY

Either using the Lessons Log, and/or seeking lessons from brainstorm sessions for similar previous projects, determine if there are any approaches that could be valuable in providing configuration management strategy for this project.

The issue register should be created and any issues already captured in the daily log that need to be managed formally, should be transferred to this register.

The Configuration Management Strategy needs to be created, and considerations in compiling this document should include:

The configuration management strategy or procedure currently being used within your organisation should be applied or modified to suit this particular project. PRINCE2 uses planning, identification, control, status accounting, verification and audit.

Any special tools, techniques, or records that will be kept should be captured to aid the configuration management strategy.

When the configuration management activities should occur and how the performance of the configuration management procedure should be reported, along with roles and responsibilities for the configuration management activities.

How the timing of configuration management activities and issue and change control activities will occur.

Identifying the roles and responsibilities procedures.  The project manager will want to discuss with the project board as to whether a change authority and/or a change budget.  Scales for the priority and the severity of issues should be established and agreed.

The Configuration Management Strategy should be reviewed by project assurance to ensure that it meets the needs of the project board all corporate or programme management if this project is part of a programme.

The project board may wish to approve the Configuration Management Strategy at this point, or they may prefer to review and approve it later as part of the Project Initiation Documentation.

Dave Litten

David spent 25 years as a senior project manager for USA multinationals, and has deep experience in project management. He now develops a wide range of Project Management Masterclasses, under the Projex Academy brand name. In addition, David runs project management training seminars across the world, and is a prolific writer on the many topics of project management.

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