The success of any ITIL Change Management process is dependant upon the involvement or representation of the Business/Customer community. Primarily IT underpins the Business and therefore the Business need to provide appropriate input and direction to IT and on an operational basis the Change process provides one interface where such input can be provided.
Part of the Change process involves the assessment and authorization of requests for change (RFC) and the Business representative(s) need to undertake this role from a business perspective. Other representatives from within IT will also take part in the assessment and authorization phases providing input from their area of expertise, for example IT Security, IT Operations and also third party suppliers.
Change Schedule or Forward Schedule of Change - Part of the assessment should undertake a review of the change requests that are already scheduled for the proposed implementation date. The information will be contained on either on the 'Change Schedule' (ITIL v3 term) or on the 'Forward Schedule of Change' (ITIL v2 term). The v3 Change Schedule also contains additional information regarding implemented changes. The identification of any potential conflicting changes is a very important activity of the review and furthermore the involvement of the Business (representative) can assist with correctly prioritizing or sequencing the Changes. It is perhaps obvious but worthy of reiterating that Change Management schedule changes to meet business needs rather than IT needs - therefore some changes may only be practical during periods when the business will not be effected, for example possibly at weekends, bank holidays or outside business hours.
Change Status report - The frequency of this report will be dependant on the volume and frequency that Changes are implemented. From experience more often than not Changes are applied on a daily basis and therefore the frequency of the report is requested on a daily basis. The report should as a minimum contain details of the Changes that were planned to be implemented in the previous twenty four hours or if following a weekend seventy-two hours (Friday, Saturday and Sunday). A very important piece of information is the 'current status', which provides an indication as to whether the change was implemented, backed-out, failed or implementing (still being implemented) Such information is often of immense importance to the Business community, for example if a change that was requested by the Business and was scheduled for implementation last night failed and was backed out it may well be critical to ensure the information is communicated to the appropriate parties so they can act upon it accordingly and thus potentially limit the exposure to the Customer community. Obviously the same may apply if a change has been successfully implemented. Also included in the report are those Changes that are scheduled for implementation for that day (or over the weekend). Again this information is imperative, for the simple reason that if a Change had failed from the previous day or there is a high severity incident has potentially detrimental impact upon a scheduled Change then a decision may need to be made as to whether or not the Change(s) need to be re-scheduled or potential the decision to implement or not needs to be taken a later time during the day.
For completeness and as mentioned above the review of scheduled Changes needs to take into account the receptiveness of the production environments to accept the Change(s), therefore visibility of high severity incidents of the past twenty-four (or seventy-two) hours is imperative if an informed management decision is to be made regarding the planned implementation of Changes.
One further consideration regarding the implementation of Changes is the availability of those members of staff involved in the implementation, both from an IT perspective and also a Business perspective, especially when the verification phase of the Change is provided by members of the Business. I have experienced Changes being re-scheduled due to staff illness (flu and colds) and also due to weather conditions, which have made it impossible for staff to attend site, which often effects members of the Business community whom are not located in the same location as the IT department.
Going forward as an ITIL Change Manager, I would advise meeting with your Business Relationship Managers and Business representatives to discuss management information requirements. The reports as outlined above should address most if not all requirements, the key is to only produce reports that provide value and thus will be read.
Finally, arranging access to the Change Management software for the nominated Business Representatives would also be of great value.
Another article which we feel may be of interest is entitled 'Change Management - The Missing Link'.
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