4 Do’s and Don’ts of ITIL Change Management

Posted by on February 13, 2017

4 Do's and Don'ts of ITIL Change Management

Change Management is one of the most common IT service management (ITSM) processes adopted by organizations. Done right, it minimizes risk and ensures the agile and smooth incorporation of updates and implementations into the IT environment. In some organizations however, Change Management is seen as an obstruction to change rather than a facilitator of change. This can be the result of overlooking some of the key elements of the process and focusing on the Change Advisory Board as a final checkpoint before release and deployment.

Here are four key ways to make sure that Change Management is performing as intended in your organization:

DO: Collaborate, Coordinate, and Communicate

Changes affect people and processes all across the organization. Change Management, therefore, needs input and assistance from more than just IT. Keep in mind your customers' considerations: How will a planned change affect their day-to-day work? People are the key to the delivery and support of services, so make sure to get their full support behind the Change Management process.

And don't forget to share any process changes widely: When it comes to introducing changes to the technology environment, it’s hard to over-communicate. Everyone who will be affected by the change needs to be informed. Inboxes can easily get overloaded, and notification overlooked, so communicate through many channels, focusing on the ones people are most likely to encounter.

Remember that communication is a two-way street; you will have questions and comments coming from multiple sources. Plan for how you will respond effectively.

DO: Know Your Inventory

Your organization has certain capabilities and resources. Will these suffice to implement a given change, or will additional capabilities need to be developed? New and different resources may be required either to implement the change or provide a good workflow after it's in place. The Configuration Management Database (CMDB)—along with the Configuration Management System (CMS) and Service Knowledge Management System (SKMS)—are your best source for evaluating your organization's resources; together, they contain crucial information about your current capabilities, and what's underpinning the services that your organization delivers.

DON'T: Make Too Many Changes at Once

Even if you have the capacity needed to introduce a change, be cautious about over-doing it. Implementing too many changes, too frequently, can over-burden customers and your organization. Establish a cadence for the rhythm of change your organization can tolerate, along with the size and scope of changes that can be tackled without causing disruption. If every change requires a workflow adjustment, or an update or test to an application, that can become burdensome. Consider instead grouping together changes and doing them in batches.

DON'T: Think About Change in a Silo

Of course, Change Management has to work with Release and Deployment; it also needs to consider Knowledge Management, Service Asset, and Configuration Management and any other processes and functions the change will touch.

Choose technologies that support a holistic perspective; your technology should integrate across processes and functions, not just manage changes in a silo. Make sure you are managing change—not just doing change approvals. Do you have a clear view of the relationships of the various processes and functions across the lifecycle? Do you have the visibility you need to manage change at each and every stage?

Since services are delivered across the organization, any changes you make will have ripple effects that spread widely, beyond one department or process. Think about your services from an end-to-end perspective, and look for areas where the change will have an effect.

Making informed choices about how your organization will manage changes can enable the people, processes, and technologies your organization depends on to be maintained and updated as business needs arise.

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