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This content is part of the Essential Guide: IT services management and best practices: An enterprise CIO guide
Definition

change request

A change request is a formal proposal for an alteration to some product or system.

In project management, a change request often arises when the client wants an addition or alteration to the agreed-upon deliverables for a project. Such a change may involve an additional feature or customization or an extension of service, among other things. Because change requests are beyond the scope of the agreement, they generally mean that the client will have to pay for the extra resources required to satisfy them.

One of the more challenging aspects of change management is ensuring that all details are sufficiently explicated and that all parties are in agreement as to what is expected. Explicit and detailed documentation makes it easier to identify when a change request must be submitted.

Change requests can also originate internally. Internal change requests can involve a wide variety of actions including patching and software and hardware upgrades.

Once a change request has been made, the process of change control should be undertaken to make sure that the request is satisfied efficiently and without unnecessary use of resources.

See also: requirements analysis, feature creep, change log, IT controls

Continue reading about change requests:
> Estimating change requests in requirements
> How change management fits in an ITIL methodology

This was last updated in February 2011

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