This post maybe a little “ranty”. It seems in the past few months, I seem to have encountered a number of instances where changes to the database were made without a Change Request. Which has sparked a few conversations with developers over why there is a need for change control in the first place. Not to mention the one vendor who just arbitrarily logged in, made change, and then lied about the changes when called out. While this isn’t unusual in the sense it never happens, it does seem to reflect a pattern.
I’m not sure if it’s the Spring weather, kids getting out school, the impending solar eclipse, or what. But I do know, this rash behavior needs to stop forthwith. The purpose of Change Control is to make sure all changes are documented, both for troubleshooting and audit purposes. It also is a great way to communicate to other teams/business units that changes are going to be made to a system. It also gives those other teams/business units a formal method of validating your change or even rejecting it.
That’s right, water torture. Water torture should be used on anyone that violates the tenets of change control. Any willy nilly change, any configuration or schema alterations should be announced and vetted in a formal process. Why such an extreme method of punishment? Because it fits the crime. Have you ever had a stable system just start performing badly, or data go missing like cigarettes on fishing boat? Only to troubleshoot the issue and discover someone made a change and didn’t 1) document it and 2) let people know he was going to do it? Ever spent hours/days working problems like that? It can all be avoided by using Change Control.
Yes, it adds steps. Yes, it may add a meeting. It’s still better to add the meeting and lose the minutes to paperwork than to lose hours troubleshooting blindly. Especially if the party responsible suddenly goes home for the weekend/vacation. Yep….water torture. That’s time you’re not getting back, that’s stress you didn’t ned to endure. It doesn’t matter if you a company of 25 or 25,000, you should be using formal change control processes. For no other reason, than it helps stabilize your environment as well as tell you exactly what is going on with your environment.