There are two things to take into account for change management:

  • Ongoing maintenance of existing applications
  • New development for a modernization project

For legacy applications that are already in production, a tool to automate release management is helpful to ensure the control and the traceability of changes. In some shops, source change traceability is required by regulations in the business. Source change management tools can relieve developers of many small tasks and enhance their productivity. If you associate source control with a tracking system or a requirements management tool, you have a link between the expectations of users and the development team's work.

For the new development project that is related to modernization, the early stages of the project bring about different requirements for a change management tool. This shows where the modernization project fits. A light source management system is a good answer to provide source security and traceability. It needs to allow the team to change their mind until a stabilized solution is provided. The tool must not slow the research and trial part of the project with strict control. During a development phase, only a part of what is experimented goes to production.

Source control and development management tools 1

After entering production, the new development enters the maintenance phase and must enter regular change management phase, as shown

Source control and development management tools 2

The evaluation of the correct development management tools is important because it introduces multiple new technologies to your IT organization. You might not be using any management tools and this approach works for your existing support. Development might be managed by one group who has shared the same IT culture for years. This can be based on standards and an established manual methodology or “home-grown tools”, or one of the many change management tools that have existed for many years, and it might work well for the current environment.

However, modernization components might change the habits and introduce dependencies between components that might not be manageable by your current methodologies or by your current tools.

During a modernization project, business does not stop. Legacy applications are still moving to answer business demands. Tracking changes is a minimum requirement to ensure success and avoid loops in the change process.

The simplest minimal application lifecycle to conduct any transformation project requires two environments:

  • One reference environment
  • One development area

The reference environment is an image of the production area that is the base level of the application.

The development area is where the current changes might be and is often where developers “merge” their changes before delivering them to the reference environment and then to the production environment.

Source control and development management tools 3

This simple lifecycle works well for simple configurations that do sequential development (one change at a time). This is a simple release management system.

For more complex needs, such as parallel development, multi-level applications for multiple production environments, regulations, and quality assurance requirements, you need a more complex lifecycle.

Source control and development management tools 4

For either type of lifecycle, the lifecycle changes with your development organization. The most important criteria for implementing change management is that it allows the environment to change. It must serve the needs of your business and not become a constraint.

Carefully evaluate your choice for such a tool. Do a proof of concept (PoC) if you want to evaluate its suitability compared to your strategy. Here are some criteria to consider as you make your change management tool choice. Keep in mind that such a tool is not just an editor; it has implications for the entire IT organization.

Here are some criteria that can help you make the correct choice:

 Legacy applications must be taken into account (must be supported)
 Technologies that you want to use (most of them must be supported)
 Openness (it must be able to accept future technologies that do not exist yet)
 Teams involved (Cultures must be considered)
 Development methodologies (classical, agile (scrum …))
 Lifecycle (simple to complex)
 Regulation and compliance pressures
 Ease of use and productivity

Consider also that in some cases more than one tool might be needed. Some functions must be shared by all teams:

 Project management
 Tracking system
 Source management
 Release management

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