Few realize Change Management has two
purposes: to limit change-related incidents and
to improve the
efficiency and effectiveness of day-to-day operations.
That last part is what most implementers
forget, often resulting in a Change Management process perceived by staff as
bureaucratic, unrealistic, and impossible to manage.
However, the ITIL has a solution that
may be able to improve your efficiency and effectiveness, cut your Change
backlog, and make IT staff more content and empowered! The secret is
using Standard Changes correctly.
The ITIL describes a Standard Change as
“...a change to the infrastructure that follows an established path, is
relatively common, and is the accepted solution to a specific requirement or
set of requirements.”
The following 7 steps outline how to
identify candidates for Standard Changes, implement them, and ensure they
- Create a Process for Authorizing
Standard Changes. Create a Request
For Change (RFC), involve the Change Advisory Board (CAB),
and create a formal process for the identification, definition,
implementation and management of Standard Changes.
The Standard Change requires pre-approval by Change Management
before authorization. Once approved, they no longer require
change management approval on a case-by-case basis.
Establish regular audit and review to make sure that as the
organization changes, Standard Changes remain appropriate.
Change Management is a dynamic process and should itself be under
Change Management control!
- Establish specific
authorizations for an approved group. Be specific here, only
the authorized group has permission to perform the Standard Change
under certain conditions.
- All standard changes require
reporting on a regular basis. Put in place regular reporting,
audit and review processes. First to track work completed; and
secondly to evaluate ‘b’ above.
- Create and agree to a definition of those
change types that are candidates for Standard Changes, for example,
"Customer Service Requests as documented in Service Level Agreements," or
other similar definitions.
- Identify Candidates for Standard
Changes. While not all-inclusive, the
following steps can help to identify candidates for Standard Changes.
- Ask IT Staff what changes or
activities they think ought to become Standard Changes.
- Review the change log and
history for the Changes done most often. Be sure to involve
functional management as well as technical staff in this evaluation.
- Look for tasks that are well known,
proven, and "done every day." These are the ones you should
document and institutionalize.
- Consider who is to perform
work. Many Standard Changes begin at the Service Desk in
response to Service Requests.
- If cost is a factor, seek those
changes where budgetary approval lies with requester.
- Document a Standard Operating
Procedure (SOP). The SOP lies at the
heart of the Standard Change. The SOP defines when (and when not),
where, how, by whom and under what circumstances the Standard Change
- Define the scope and timeframe
- Allow the group approved to
perform the Standard Change to drive the SOP creation. This
captures their organization skill-set and their buy-in to the
Standard Change. Failure to perform this step will almost
certainly result in the exact opposite of what you desire.
not forget to include procedures for failed Standard Changes.
Change Management, and the designated lead or contact from the
technical functional group that “owns” the Standard Change must
examine every occurrence of failures when performing the Standard
The approved group must record, track and report all changes made to
- Authorize the Standard Change as
Low in Organization as Appropriate.
After establishing the SOP for the Standard Change, review it to see if
it a lower level of the organization can perform the task. The
goal is to empower the lowest appropriate level of IT staff to perform
the task. Over time as the ability to perform the Standard Change
increases, it becomes "part of what we do here" -- and becomes
institutionalized as the "new normal."
- Train, Test, and Release.
Communicate as the SOP and the Standard Change
process evolves. Keep those who will do the work up to date on
- Before releasing, train staff
in how to use the SOP; and if required, how to perform the tasks
contained within the SOP.
- Have involved staff perform
supervised tests to ensure their capability and success.
- Publish a date when the new
process and the SOP "goes live".
- Put the SOP (and the Standard
Change Process) Under Change Management Control.
That is, allow no changes or modifications to the SOP without formal
Change Management review.
- Manage, Monitor, Audit and
Report. Review the success of the SOP,
and of the Standard Change process, to make sure they are indeed
- Reporting should show no
adverse impact due to the Standard Changes.
- Reporting should show a percent
reduction in change backlog.
Standard Changes empower
an organization, involve IT Staff, reduce bureaucracy, improve performance,
and cost virtually nothing to implement!
Involving the functional groups and IT
Staff that will actually do the work under the Standard Change allows you to
absorb and formalize what they already know. Those involved will feel
empowered and a part of the Change Management process. In effect, they
will be driving the process from their perspective. [See ‘Smoothing
the way to ITSM’ DITY Vol. 1 #6 for more on empowerment.]
Allowing your staff to make changes they
are competent and capable of performing has the added bonus of spreading the
work of Change Management around the organization. Benefits of this
A Wider Appreciation of Change
-- Involving all levels of staff (even customers and vendors where
appropriate) helps all involved understand the needs and benefits of
Staff Empowerment -- Since
they helped develop the SOP, this is "their process" and they will tend
to enforce it among and between themselves in ways that mandates simply
Increased Efficiency and
Effectiveness -- The Change Manager, relieved of the work now
decentralized throughout the organization, has more time to focus on
those Changes that do require stringent control, ensuring higher quality
Institutionalizing work that is already
getting done in your organization as Standard Changes can help you achieve
the twin goals of Change Management: limit
change-related incidents and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of
You will also have a reduced backlog, a happier staff that is more
empowered and committed, and no one will feel that Change Management is
bureaucratic, unrealistic, and
impossible to manage!
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