You could say that the opposite of version control—from the perspective of internal software development—is chaos. If development teams don’t manage various versions of their work, things can quickly spiral out of control.

Version-control software, a component of software configuration management, helps teams manage changes to documents, programs, websites, and other development initiatives. Given the fact that so many development efforts rely on teams working on the same files at the same time, a lack of version control could create serious problems.

When multiple teams design, develop, and deploy applications, often more than one version of the same software is deployed at different sites, and developers work on updates simultaneously. Some features—and in many cases some bugs—might be present in only certain versions of the software.

Version control defined

To make changes requires the ability to retrieve and run different versions of the software so developers can determine which version has problems.