Project Integration Management: Change Control vs Configuration Control for PMP Exam

Change Control vs Configuration Control for PMP Exam

One of the vital element for project management success is to control changes as in the Perform Integrated Change Control process, otherwise scope creep and missed requirements may result. Change management in projects involve Change Control and Configuration Control. These two terms are often used interchangeably in daily work, however, PMBOK® Guide has put specific meaning to each of them that Aspirants should not get confused.

Change Control and Configuration Control

  • Change Control: In project management, change control is the process to identify, document, approve/reject and communicate changes to the baselines of the project (project baselines include scope, schedule, cost and other relevant baselines as required by the project management plan).
    • The exact steps of change control is specified in the Change Management Plan by using the Change Control System.
    • Changes need to be proposed in written form as Change Requests which will be studied, analyzed and approved/rejected by the relevant authorities.
    • Change Control ensures all changes to the project are authorized which prevents scope creep and gold plating.
  • Configuration Control: In project management, configuration control is about managing the specifications of the deliverables and processes with appropriate documentation throughout the lifecycle of the project from the very beginning to the closure of the project.
    • The project configuration provides the information of the latest version of all the approved product and related documents/components and an archive of all previous versions.
    • All the items under Configuration Control are known as Configuration Items (CI).
    • Configuration Control is facilitated by the Configuration Control System.
    • The exact details of Configuration Management is documented in the Configuration Management Plan, which is a subsidiary of the Project Management Plan.
    • Configuration Management activities usually include:
      • configuration identification
      • configuration status accounting
      • configuration verification / audit to ensure the latest configuration is adopted and delivered

The PMIS (Project Management Information System) is a tool that facilitates both the Configuration Control System as well as the Change Control System.

Mock Exam Question

  1. It was near the end of a software development project when the developer suddenly discovered that they had developed a feature based on an outdated component from the previous step. Rework was needed to correct the problem. Which of the following might not be performed well that would be the cause of the issue?
    1. Earned Value Control
    2. Configuration Control
    3. Change Control
    4. Project Control
    Solution: B
    Configuration Control is implemented to ensure the information of the latest versions of the software, specifications, etc. are to be available to the project team. If a feature is developed based on an outdated component, it is highly possible that the Configuration Control documents have not been updated timely.


Both the Change Control and Configuration Control processes aim to protect the project from :

  • Change Control is about protecting the project from undocumented changes to the project baselines by addition/changing requirements, etc.
  • Configuration Control is about managing the specifications/versions of the deliverables, processes and related documents throughout the lifecycle of the project.
recommended PMP resourcesAdditional FREE PMP resources: 47+ Commonly Confused Term Pairs with detailed explanations. If you found this article useful, you may wish to reference other Commonly Confused Term articles.

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Edward Chung

Edward Chung aspires to become a full-stack web developer and project manager. In the quest to become a more competent professional, Edward studied for and passed the PMP Certification, ITIL v3 Foundation Certification, PMI-ACP Certification and Zend PHP Certification. Edward shares his certification experience and resources here in the hope of helping others who are pursuing these certification exams to achieve exam success.

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8 Responses

  1. Suresh says:

    Hi Edward Chung,

    I’m confined between configuration management Vs Change management Plan , could you please define and differences between both ?

    • Edward Chung says:

      Sure, configuration management is about configuration item recording and changing while the change management is about changes introduced to the project. A project change request can be a configuration change or not.

      Hope this clarifies. Wish you PMP success!

  2. Kadir Vedachalam says:

    Thanks Edward, very informative content and easy to understand examples. BR.

  3. Sam D. says:

    I’ve been preparing for my upcoming PMP exam and your site by far is the best source of information out there. I can’t believe you don’t charge for this, it’s amazing! Thank you for your time and energy, excellent work.

    • Edward Chung says:

      Hi Sam,

      Thanks for your kind words. It is my aim to be able to assist fellow PMP Aspirants as my way to give back to the community. Wish you PMP success!

  4. Crystal says:

    Hi Edward- I LOVE your website. As an instructor, I often send students to your sight for clarification on concepts. I noticed, however, your use of terms in this section conflicts with v5 of the PMBOK. Namely, configuration control plan is actually configuration management plan. Wanted you to know!