Is it common practice in the software development/engineering profession for engineering change orders (ECOs) to be used for or in conjunction with software version control? Is this a good idea? Are there any pros or cons?

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    Do you mean by "ECO" what most of the software engineering world calls a "change request"? Please clarify.
    – Doc Brown
    Jun 1, 2017 at 10:45
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    @reformed: then please enlighten software engineers like me who are not educated in electrical engineering terms what that you mean by ECO and how it is different from a change request.
    – Doc Brown
    Jun 1, 2017 at 14:51
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    @reformed: maybe SEs just use just a different term for it? From the Wikipedia article about ECO it appears to me an ECO does not really differ from a formal change request, and change requests are often (but not always) used in conjunction with source control.
    – Doc Brown
    Jun 1, 2017 at 15:49
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    @DocBrown Thanks for the reference. I agree, that it looks like ECOs are similar enough to change requests that they could be synonymous. In that case then this answers my question in the affirmative.
    – reformed
    Jun 1, 2017 at 15:59
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    Define "In conjunction". Jun 1, 2017 at 19:27

1 Answer 1


AFAIK what you call "ECO" in electrical engineering is called a "change request" in software development. Many development teams use issue or bug tracking systems to manage their change requests in form of "tickets", and I am pretty sure a certain percentage of those teams add the issue ID, or bug ID, or ticket number, to the commit messages when committing to version control (see here for example). There are even some bug trackers with version control integration (see this older SO post), or fully integrated products like Microsoft's TFS.

So the answer to your question "is it common practice" is, yes, to some degree. Not 100% popular, not necessary for everyone or every team, but some find it helpful and use it.

  • Some companies provide multiple development products and have some fun integrations. I'll use Jira and BitBucket as an example. If you link the two and have the Jira Story Number (XXX-123) in your commit message, when your viewing the Jira Story there is a section where it links directly to the commit. One of the reasons it became mandatory on my team. Jun 1, 2017 at 18:09

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