Change request

Change request

Ask a question about 'Change request'
Start a new discussion about 'Change request'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
A change request is a document
The term document has multiple meanings in ordinary language and in scholarship. WordNet 3.1. lists four meanings :* document, written document, papers...

 containing a call for an adjustment of a system
System is a set of interacting or interdependent components forming an integrated whole....

; it is of great importance in the change management process
Change management process
The change management process in systems engineering is the process of requesting, determining attainability, planning, implementing, and evaluating of changes to a system...

. A change request is not raised for a wording change in a letter.

A change request is declarative, i.e. it states what needs to be accomplished, but leaves out how the change should be carried out. Important elements of a change request are an ID, the customer (ID), the deadline (if applicable), an indication whether the change is required or optional, the change type (often chosen from a domain-specific ontology
Ontology (computer science)
In computer science and information science, an ontology formally represents knowledge as a set of concepts within a domain, and the relationships between those concepts. It can be used to reason about the entities within that domain and may be used to describe the domain.In theory, an ontology is...

) and a change abstract
Abstract (summary)
An abstract is a brief summary of a research article, thesis, review, conference proceeding or any in-depth analysis of a particular subject or discipline, and is often used to help the reader quickly ascertain the paper's purpose. When used, an abstract always appears at the beginning of a...

, which is a piece of narrative (Keller, 2005). An example of a change request can be found in Figure 1 on the right.

Change requests typically originate from one of five sources: (i) problem reports that identify bugs
Software bug
A software bug is the common term used to describe an error, flaw, mistake, failure, or fault in a computer program or system that produces an incorrect or unexpected result, or causes it to behave in unintended ways. Most bugs arise from mistakes and errors made by people in either a program's...

 that must be fixed, which forms the most common source, (ii) system enhancement requests from users
User (computing)
A user is an agent, either a human agent or software agent, who uses a computer or network service. A user often has a user account and is identified by a username , screen name , nickname , or handle, which is derived from the identical Citizen's Band radio term.Users are...

, (iii) events in the development of other systems, (iv) changes in underlying structure and or standards (e.g. in software development this could be a new operating system), and (v) demands from senior management (Dennis, Wixom & Tegarden, 2002). Additionally, in Project Management
Project management
Project management is the discipline of planning, organizing, securing, and managing resources to achieve specific goals. A project is a temporary endeavor with a defined beginning and end , undertaken to meet unique goals and objectives, typically to bring about beneficial change or added value...

, change requests may also originate from an unclear understanding of the goals and the objectives of the project.

Change requests have many different names, which essentially describe the same concept:
  • Engineering Change (EC) by Huang and Mak (1999);
  • Engineering Change Request (ECR) at Aero (Helms, 2002);
  • Engineering Change Order (ECO) by Loch and Terwiesch (1999) and Pikosz and Malmqvist (1998). Engineering Change Order is a separate step after ECR. After ECR is approved by Engineering Department then an ECO is made for making the change;
  • Change Notice at Chemical (Helms, 2002);
  • Action Request (AR) at ABB Robotics AB (Kajko-Mattson, 1999);
  • Request For Change (RFC) by Rajlich (1999); RFC is also a common term in ITIL
    Itil may mean:*Atil or Itil, the ancient capital of Khazaria*Itil , also Idel, Atil, Atal, the ancient and modern Turkic name of the river Volga.ITIL can stand for:*Information Technology Infrastructure Library...

     (Keller, 2005) and PRINCE2
    PRojects IN Controlled Environments 2 is a structured project management method endorsed by the UK government as the project management standard for public projects. The methodology encompasses the management, control and organisation of a project...

    (Onna & Koning, 2003);
  • Change Request (CR) is, among others, used by Lam (1998), Mäkäräinen (2000), Dennis, et al. (2002), Crnkovic, Asklund and Persson-Dahlqvist (2003) and at ABB Automation Products AB (Kajko-Mattsson, 1999).

Further reading

  • Crnkovic I., Asklund, U. & Persson-Dahlqvist, A. (2003). Implementing and Integrating Product Data Management and Software Configuration Management. London: Artech House.
  • Dennis, A., Wixom, B.H. & Tegarden, D. (2002). System Analysis & Design: An Object-Oriented Approach with UML. Hoboken, New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
  • Helms, R.W. (2002). Product Data Management as enabler for Concurrent Engineering. PhD dissertation. Eindhoven: Eindhoven University of Technology press. Available online:
  • Huang, G.H. & Mak, K.L. (1999). Current practices of engineering change management in UK manufacturing industries. International Journal of Operations & Production Management, 19(1), 21-37.
  • Kajko-Mattsson, M. (1999). Maintenance at ABB (II): Change Execution Processes (The State of Practice). Proceedings of the International Conference on Software Maintenance, 307-315.
  • Keller, A. (2005). Automating the Change Management Process with Electronic Contracts. Proceedings of the 2005 Seventh IEEE International Conference on E-Commerce Technology Workshops, 99-108.
  • Lam, W. (1998). Change Analysis and Management in a Reuse-Oriented Software Development Setting. In Pernici, B. & Thanos, C. (Eds.) Proceedings of the Tenth International Conference on Advanced Information Systems Engineering, 219–236.
  • Loch, C.H. & Terwiesch, C. (1999). Accelerating the Process of Engineering Change Orders: Capacity and Congestion Effects. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 16(2), 145-159.
  • Mäkäräinen, M. (2000). Software change management processes in the development of embedded software. PhD dissertation. Espoo: VTT Publications. Available online:
  • Onna, M. van & Koning, A. (2003). The Little Prince 2: A Practical Guide to Project Management, Pink Roccade Educational Services/Ten Hagen Stam.
  • Pikosz, P. & Malmqvist, J. (1998). A comparative study of engineering change management in three Swedish engineering companies. Proceedings of the DETC98 ASME Design Engineering Technical Conference, 78-85.
  • Rajlich, V. (1999). Software Change and Evolution. In Pavelka, J., Tel, G. & Bartošek, M. (Eds.), SOFSEM'99, Lecture Notes in Computer Science 1725, 189-202.
  • DiDonato, P. (2001). Oakley Inc, Developing XML systems with (CRF).