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Change Management - What Exactly Is it? How Is It Done?

written by: Nicky LaMarco • edited by: Marlene Gundlach • updated: 3/8/2013

Here is an overview of change management from a beginner's perspective. Take a look at the processes as well as the definitions of change. Consider the three important stages that include unfreezing, changing, and refreezing.

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    Change management is the process during which the possible and probable changes of a system are assessed in a controlled method by using an already existing or a created framework.

    In this article we are focusing on the IT Service Management, or Change Management ITSM. This technique creates effective responses to change within a project. It is the analyzation of any and all possible changes and the most effective ways to handle those changes.

    ITSM or IT service management is the change management that focuses on changes within an IT project such as within the configuration, live use, testing, and training situations. Its purpose is to lessen the effect of changes during a project.

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    Change Management Process

    Change management for hardware, software, communications equipment, and systems (ITSM) includes the following processes:

    • Requested changes
    • Recording changes
    • Impact assessment
    • Cost assessment
    • Benefits and risks
    • Managing the change
    • Monitoring
    • Reporting
    • Close

    Change Management Overall Process:

    • Filtering changes
    • Managing changes
    • Chairing the change advisory board
    • Reviewing change requests (RFCs) and their approval
    • Reporting on changes

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    Changes in Change Management

    Managing change is all about dealing with the changes involved in an already-planned project. Any changes that need to be made to the planned project must go through change management to ensure effectiveness. All of the changes are controlled to make sure the project remains on schedule, within budget, and at the same level of high quality.

    Change management used to be known as version control. This term has changed and is now known as change management or configuration management. OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) requires chemical processing plants to have specific requirements during the process of making changes.

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    4 Definitions

    There are four basic definitions of change management to cover all types of change:

    1. Task of Managing Change from Reactions or Proactive Change Making

    2. The Professional Practice of Managing Change

    3. Area of Knowledge with Techniques, Methods, Tools, and Models

    4. Control Tool with Requirements, Processes, Standards, and Procedures.

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    Unfreezing, Changing, Refreezing

    There are three stages of change management: unfreezing, changing, and refreezing. This change management process allows the manager to carefully plan the possible change and approve or disapprove. These three stages happen together very quickly. This process doesn't allow the project to stay frozen, open, or unfrozen.

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    Problem Location and Solving

    Another process of change management is in problem solving. Change management sees a project through from problem to solution. A project manager could use this process to determine any problems and plan for them accordingly. It may also be effective to incorporate the problem-solving process directly into the overall plan for change management.

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    4 Strategies

    1. Empirical Rational: In general, people are rational. They will seek their own interests when they are shown to them. This strategy focuses on the communication of information.
    2. Normative Reeducative: People are generally social. People stay within what is considered normal in their culture. This strategy uses the revising of existing norms and help to develop new ones.
    3. Power Coercive: People will usually do as they are told. This strategy of change management uses authority.
    4. Environmental Adaptive: People can adapt to new situations. This strategy helps people move from an old environment to a new one.
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