By ITIL® from Experience©
If the organization is in a situation where it does changes whenever there is a need chances are good that these uncontrolled changes are affecting/impacting the business.
Every organization has a pattern of business activity. Although each organisation is unique, their pattern is similar to other organizations in the same industry. A retailer for example, has a pattern usually centered around store hours, key shopping periods like December and inventory times. For a manufacturer its usually centered around a production run while for a political party its usually an election or a crisis.
To quickly implement a discipline to minimize the impact of changes to the business has, have the CIO declare that absolutely "NO" changes are to be done without his approval during critical times of the business pattern. People with industry experience or that understand your business should know what this pattern is.
The policy needs to be simple and have few exceptions to help people comply. Ideally its one sentence such as:
- No changes 2 hours before or after customers are in the store
- No changes 30 days before or after an election
There will be situations when exceptions to this rule will need to be made to implement an emergency change. In that case, the CIO must approve the change as he/she is ultimately responsible for accepting the risk of the IT organization. At minimum, an executive or a senior manager should approve the change until the organization has a change manager.
This policy may cause the following issues:
- Customers may be dissatisfied with IT’s lack of agility since they used to get what they wanted whenever they wanted it
- Increased overtime costs if the IT organization is not used to work evenings or week ends. (This can be mitigated by adjusting work schedules. For example, employees involved in the release could work from noon to 8 p.m. so that the change can be made outside the core business hours).
This policy is the first step to establishing a change management discipline and it can be done with or without a CAB or a Change Management process in place.
- What are the stages of maturity for the ITIL Change Management Process
- Do we need CIO support to succeed
- What level should the Change Manager position be to have the authority to reject RFCs
- Does the change manager need technical skills and expertise
- Why spend effort documenting processes
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