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An IT Service Management Perspective on Managing Change

written by: Sheryl R. • edited by: Marlene Gundlach • updated: 3/30/2013

Change Management manages the process of change, thus minimizing introduction of errors and incidents related to changes. This article discusses the need for change, the utilization of the RFC--Request for Change--and more.

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    The Need For Change

    I’m sure you agree that change is truly a constant within the Information Technology (IT) realm, such that it requires a discipline and framework within which the entire process can be effectively managed and controlled. IT Service Management (ITSM), a component within the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL), offers that discipline while complying with best practices for managing change.

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    The Process

    Change Management, within the ITSM framework and facilitated by the Project Manager, embodies the processes necessary to ensure that all Requests for Change (RFCs) are appropriately approved or rejected. Decisions regarding more significant changes are addressed by the Change Advisory Board (CAB), which includes representation from various parts of the organization. However, Configuration Management provides information about the potential impact of proposed changes.

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    Activities for Processing Change

    ITSM Change Management includes six activities for processing changes:

    1. Recording – Documentation that ensures the RFCs can be submitted by all sources of changes and that the changes are adequately recorded.
    2. Acceptance – Filtering of RFCs and accepting them for further consideration.
    3. Classification – Sorting of RFCs by category and priority.
    4. Planning and Approval – Consolidating changes; planning and approving their development and implementation; ensuring the required resources are available, and involving the CAB as necessary.
    5. Coordination – Coordinating the building, testing and implementation of the change.
    6. Evaluation – Determining whether each change has been successful and conducting lessons learned in order to improve the process.
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    Process Control

    Process Control is the aspect of Change Management that ensures procedures are in place so that changes are properly introduced and controlled. ITSM uses management reports and performance indicators in this process.

    Management reports are used to convey information such as the number of changes implemented in a certain period, the number of successfully implemented changes and the number of incidents related to implemented changes.

    Performance indicators are used to show the extent to which the Change Management process is successful in handling changes, with the least possible adverse impact on the agreed service level.

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    Costs and Possible Problems

    ITSM identifies two types of costs:

    1. Personnel Costs – Usually pertain to fulfilling Change Manager and CAB tasks; and
    2. Tool Costs – Typically includes costs for hardware and software.

    As with any Change Management effort, various problems may be encountered. A few problems noted by ITSM include:

    1. Complexity of paper-based systems, which are too difficult to use and present too many problems;
    2. Attempts to implement changes that do not go through the proper channels or agreed-upon procedures; and
    3. Possible resistance to umbrella Change Management authority that monitors all aspects of the IT infrastructure. This means personnel must be trained to develop an awareness of the significant impact of IT infrastructure components on each other and that configuration changes require overall coordination.