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Software change request process

An effective software change request (SCR) process requires the use of supporting tools and procedures ranging from paper forms and a documented procedure to an electronic tool for originating change requests, enforcing the flow of the change process, capturing CCB decisions, and reporting change process information. A link between this tool capability and the problem-reporting system can facilitate the tracking of solutions for reported problems. Change process descriptions and supporting forms (information) are given in a variety of references.

Implementing software changes

Approved SCRs are implemented using the defined software procedures in accordance with the applicable schedule requirements. Since a number of approved SCRs might be implemented simultaneously, it is necessary to provide a means for tracking which SCRs are incorporated into particular software versions and baselines. As part of the closure of the change process, completed changes may undergo configuration audits and software quality verification. This includes ensuring that only approved changes have been made. The change request process described above will typically document the SCM (and other) approval information for the change.

The actual implementation of a change is supported by the library tool capabilities, which provide version management and code repository support. At a minimum, these tools provide check-in/out and associated version control capabilities. More powerful tools can support parallel development and geographically distributed environments. These tools may be manifested as separate specialized applications under the control of an independent SCM group. They may also appear as an integrated part of the software engineering environment. Finally, they may be as elementary as a rudimentary change control system provided with an operating system.

Deviations and waivers

The constraints imposed on a software engineering effort or the specifications produced during the development activities might contain provisions which cannot be satisfied at the designated point in the life cycle. A deviation is an authorization to depart from a provision prior to the development of the item. A waiver is an authorization to use an item, following its development, that departs from the provision in some way. In these cases, a formal process is used for gaining approval for deviations from, or waivers of, the provisions.

Software configuration status accounting

Software configuration status accounting (SCSA) is the recording and reporting of information needed for effective management of the software configuration.

Software configuration status information

The SCSA activity designs and operates a system for the capture and reporting of necessary information as the life cycle proceeds. As in any information system, the configuration status information to be managed for the evolving configurations must be identified, collected, and maintained. Various information and measurements are needed to support the SCM process and to meet the configuration status reporting needs of management, software engineering, and other related activities. The types of information available include the approved configuration identification, as well as the identification and current implementation status of changes, deviations, and waivers.

Questions & Answers

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