Change Management – The ITIL Way

Many organizations with small IT department, often fail to establish standardized methods and policies to manage change. As a result, they resort to haphazard and ad-hoc practices resulting in utter mismanagement of IT changes. We all recognize that changes in the IT may arise out of some reactive responses to problems, or as exogenously imposed requirements, e.g. legislative or regulatory imperatives, or out of proactive quests for improved efficiency,or just as business improvement initiatives.

The Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) defines, among other areas of service management, a set of standard operational management procedures and practices to allow the organization to manage changes within IT infrastructure. ITIL was originally created by an agency CCTA under the auspices of the British government, and ITIL is a registered trademark of the UK Government’s Office of Government Commerce (OGC).The challenges and risks in successfully managing IT changes are many. For many successful IT departments or divisions, the ITIL Change Management doctrines work as the guiding principles, which integrate itself seamlessly with its associated network of service management forces like configuration management, service desk, request management, service catalog management, service level management and others.

The critical success factors in IT Change Management are basically dependent on the organization’s capability in controlling IT changes, protecting existing services during the change implementation and its aftermath, and also effecting quick and accurate changes based on business requirements. The goals of ITIL aligned Change Management process embrace many aspects – setting the policies and guidelines as a framework of methods and techniques of efficient change handling, structurally creating role-based incumbents as change manager(s) or change coordinator(s), formalizing a change assessment and approval examination body often known as Change Advisory Board(CAB), making visible a Forward Schedule of Changes (also known as change calendar), publishing contextual service availability reports and, among other things, communicating pre and post change notifications and performing post-change review. organisational change management software

Is it necessary to have a tool or application to controlĀ IT Change Management? Not necessarily. But it is absolutely necessary to have a well-defined process and a set of strictly enforced guidelines. That is why ITIL principles are basically process-driven, which can be practiced without any ITIL compliant Change Management application, or tool. The ITIL key-activities recommend who, how, when to (i) register and accept proposed changes,(ii) classify, prioritize changes,(iii) perform risk and impact assessment, (iv) coordinate change approval,(v) schedule and coordinate change implementation,(vi) conduct post-change review, and (vii) periodically disseminate management information and reports.

One critical aspect of change management is obviously to mitigate any change-related risk. It is necessary to have a clear visibility into the relationship-network of all the services,applications and CMDB repository items. The question is to ask: how many applications/services are to be directly or /indirectly impacted by this change? The next question is to know: in the context of the enterprise how critical are theses services? If this assessment leads to an answer that the proposed change is fraught with risk, proper mitigation policies should be in place.

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