Obvious statements about software change management: #5 Everything is related. A small change can have big effects

There is a theory which is called the butterfly effect. It states that the flapping of a butterfly’s wings in Beijing can cause a hurricane in the US. This is also called the chaos theory and it describes the relation of cause and effect in complex systems like the weather.


Now, I get a headache thinking about this so what I do is I try to break it down to a level that is no longer complex. To understand this problem, I imagine the engine of a car. This is also a very complex system (at least it is complex to me). Now I try to imagine what would happen if I randomly punch holes in some engine pipes, or if I remove several fasteners.

Engine damage

Will something happen?  Probably... But what exactly will happen depends on the relationships between the pipes or the fasteners with other parts of the engine. If the punctured pipe is in the supply chain of my windshield wiper fluid, then I will probably survive.  If the loosened fastener is attached to an important part of the engine, then that gentle twist of my fingers can result in serious engine damage.

Apples to oranges

Comparing complex dynamic systems like the weather to an engine is like comparing apples to oranges, but I think it paints a good picture.

The key to this issue is the necessity to know how the parts of your engine are related… just as it is necessary to know about how the pieces of your software application are related. If you change one component, you need to know which other components are impacted by this change. 

Impact Analysis

Given a solid software configuration database we can undertake a proper impact analysis like the one shown in the diagrams. With such concise information we can ensure proper planning and execution of the change no matter how complicated the component relationships are. 

Graphical impact analysis in TD/OMS

Graphical impact analysis in TD/OMS


Contact us now if you'd like to learn more about the pleasures of owning an SCCM system backed by a software configuration database and an Impact Analysis module. 

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