Understanding Effective Change Management
Once a change is planned and is being built, its actual implementation needs to be scheduled. A confusing part of ITIL is the relationship between change and release and deployment management. Change is the governing risk management process. Release and deployment is concerned about the actual implementation.
ITIL v2, however, used to make it sound like the use of release was optional. The truth is that aspects of release were always used and the real question is, What is the best method to get this change into production safely so that operational systems are not disrupted and the business can make best use of it? Answering that question and following the release policy can help guide how best to deploy a change, or collection of changes.
Changes are reviewed at two points: immediately following when they were scheduled to be implemented and also after 90 days. The first review is operational in nature and serves to identify if the change went in as planned and to communicate such to the organization.
The second review is to determine if the change was ultimately successful or not and if it caused incidents or problems. If it caused the latter then the reasons need to be understood and steps taken to both correct any deficiencies in production systems as well as how changes are built in the future.
An effective and efficient change management process is critical today for organizations who must avoid needless work. Rather than work on incidents that arise from errors, we need resources working on what matters and change management can help make that a reality.
There are a number of resources available to help organizations design and implement a change management process:
- British Educational Communications and Technology Agency (BECTA) Framework for ICT Technical Support (FITS)
- ITILs Service Transition Volume
- Microsoft Operations Framework v4.0
- Pepperweed Process Model
George Spafford is a principal consultant with Pepperweed Consulting and a long-time IT professional. George's professional focus is on compliance, security, management and overall process improvement.