In Focus – IT Change Management

I’ve spent a lot of time over the years working in both corporate IT (“in-house”) and in the managed services / outsourced space.

Read Part 1 of my In Focus series to discover why having a proper Change Management process is essential and the questions you should ask your IT supplier to assure you that IT Change Management is being managed properly.

On both sides of the fence (outsourced and in-house), there is often a lackadaisical approach to Change Management and from a general management perspective, this should concern even the most relaxed Executive level manager.

The old approach to Change Management was for a bunch of IT guys to make a decision on behalf of the entire business on whether to make a particular change without necessarily thinking their way through the change in detail.

It’s this old way of thinking which has resulted in many organisations experiencing unexplained downtime, poor service availability, and results in IT taking a hit to overall customer satisfaction.

Why is IT Change Management Important?

It’s important for a number of reasons, but first and foremost is to provide the business with comfort that the proposed change has been satisfactorily thought through and that there is a roll back plan in the event things do not go to plan.

Another pertinent aspect of having an effective Change Management process is to ensure that the IT engineer performing the work has adequately thought out the change end to end and understands:

  1. the business impact of the change
  2. any application functionality impacted
  3. the rollback plan (if it fails or breaks)
  4. who from the business will approve the change.

 What should I ask my IT Provider for?

Regardless of whether your IT team is an in-house team or services and support are outsourced – you should ask them for a current Change Management Process and their RFC template.

Get them to step you through their approach to IT Change Management – if only to provide you with comfort that a) they know what they’re doing and b) your organisation is protected in the event of a problem.

Personally, I would ask your IT outsourcing partner the following questions:

  • Who in our business is your primary Change Authoriser?
  • Can you show me the most recent RFC for our organization and tell me who approved it?
  • For the last change implemented, what was the roll back plan?
  • Who in IT has accountability for Change Management?
  • Can you show me your internal approval process in the event a roll back is necessary?

Part 2 of the In Focus Series: IT Change Management will be up online toward the end of July 2014.

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