How to Manage Change Through the Software Development Lifecycle
Many IT businesses rely on change management processes which are bureaucratic and slow to make a real business difference. Part of the reason for this is that they do not directly approach their customers or request feedback on prioritizing change management objectives.
Customers today have a lot of options and ever-changing product needs, and therefore, incorporating a hasty business change would mean chaos.
Still, change is constant in the agile software development industry. New non-functional and functional needs might arise unexpectedly, with existing requirements being impacted. Failure to handle such additional needs effectively might result in business failure.
Therefore, software development teams must cope with a constantly changing business landscape to prevent this predicament and deliver the result. How is this possible? The answer lies in adopting more simplified methods for effective change.
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The Need for Effective Change Management in SDLC
Creating a high-quality product requires a well-defined and fast-moving Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC). And even though change management is not exactly a part of the SDLC, it plays a key role in the software development process.
Businesses need to equip themselves with robust change management tools for many reasons, including quick adoption, greater control, change representation, and change implementation. This involves creating flowcharts and emphasizing the project planning that helps manage business changes.
Now, a series of steps are followed when any software program or product undergoes any modifications in an IT environment:
- Create a change request
- Review and analyze a change request
- Planning the change
- Testing the change
- Crafting a change proposal
- Implementing changes
- Reviewing change performance
- Finalizing the procedure
So, Why Exactly is Change Management Important?
Here are three key reasons why change management is important:
- Operational excellence: Organizations often pivot resources to accomplishing too many things at once rather than concentrating on the required actions. Adopting change helps businesses correct activities in line with their business plan.
- Risk management: Managing change through secured SDLC is all about minimizing risk. Before establishing a new policy or procedure, it is best to consider the business values. You can do away with taking the risk if it does not align with your key business goals in the longer run.
- Overall strategy: The adjustment for the change should remain consistent with the company’s overall strategy. A change manager must know where the company is headed to determine whether a change should be adopted or put on the “skip” list.
If you decide to refine your change management processes, here are some best practices to consider:
Get customer input
Ensure prioritizing key business aspects — customers, product/service quality, vendors, etc. Aim to maintain a balance between risk and pace of change by explaining to key stakeholders that this is a business risk they must embrace and take responsibility for.
Next, decide on software that assigns importance for change to each involved business entity going forward. You may discover that these objectives are different for various services or business divisions, and be prepared to make some changes to your procedures that accommodate them.
Get input from people who request changes
Project teams and business managers are examples of functional groups that could fall into this category. It is better not to assume what motivates them and what you can do to help them unlock success. Work together rather than relying on competing systems to enhance the overall flow.
Sometimes, customers demand a single process owner for the software development lifecycle (SDLC), IT change, and deployment management. Although these processes are different, the tools, activities, and KPIs are integrated and harmonized across the full-service lifecycle.
Get familiar with agile and DevOps
It is good to speak with practitioners who adopt agile and DevOps as a part of SDLC. This way, you can know whether your business should incorporate any of these concepts as a part of your change management process. This does not mean that you abandon everything you’re doing and start over. Still, you should see if you can incorporate portions of some alternative approaches that have proven effective for other IT businesses.
Review the change processes
Check to see if you can streamline your change management process operations. Reduce the number of individuals who need to authorize every change but hold the remaining change auditors responsible for its success. This may sometimes considerably speed up the process of change in an organization.
Review change management metrics
Ensuring striking a great balance between the risk management and speed of change metrics before you start monitoring those as a part of SDLC.
4 Steps to Effective Change Management
Enabling change management through SDLC requires adopting a strategic approach that ensures effective change with the least effect on the current business operations. Here are the four steps to follow when implementing change.
Step 1. Identify the change
Begin with identifying the change and specify the sort of change taking place within your business environment. Considering an SDLC point of view will need you to take the name, type, scope, and budget project that describe your change. Doing so will make it easy for everyone engaged in your project to get hold of this change.
Step 2. Assess the impact
Identify the potential risks and consequences of the modification, its effects on the software development team and the end-users. Beware of any possible adverse effects and how the change will affect your whole system. It is best to consider changes in the project’s budget, timeframe, and the resources, including human and IT, required to implement the change.
Step 3. Prepare to introduce change
You need to decide whether to implement the change straightaway or get permission. This starts with involving the key decision-makers and implementing the change at a functional level.
As soon as possible, address the change process to help frame the right strategy that responds to changes when they take place. It is better to keep everyone on board and updated at every step of the change process that helps push the right decision.
Step 4. Plan the introduction of the change
If required, you can change the initial project plan to include the effect of each proposed change within the scope of your software or any other components. This means preparedness to adjust to the modification in an agile manner.
Include any response to the challenges or backlogs that the whole organization will face when the change is implemented. Consider the additional challenges that the change may entail, such as modifying the nature of the job performed by everyone within the ecosystem.
To sum up
It is best to identify and realize the changing context before defining your change management methods. Software development also considers keeping track of changes to your documentation and code. This involves implementing changes to your business that will impact many people.
Ask questions about whether your IT infrastructure is ready to adapt to the change. Regardless of the nature of the change, a well-managed transition may frequently be the difference between failure and success.
Ensure that they communicate the change to customers and see change management as a valuable process. SDLC transformation should help them accomplish their business objectives at the business end.
About The Author
Lucy Manole is a creative content writer and strategist at Marketing Digest. She specializes in writing about emerging technologies like big data, AI, machine learning, and much more. When she is not writing or editing, she spends time reading books, cooking and traveling.