Are changes approved or authorized

By ITIL® from Experience ©

ITIL® v2 uses the term "approved" while ITIL® v3 uses "authorized." The dictionary definitions for these terms are very similar.

  • Approve1 :
    • to accept, allow, or officially agree to something
    • to have a good opinion of someone or something
  • Authorization2 :
    • to give official permission for something to happen, or to give someone official permission to do something

Although, authorization better conveys the intent of the Change Management process, the change between ITIL® version 2 and 3 is an academic one. From a practical stand point, as long as people agree to the meaning of a term it doesn't matter which one is used as long as the organization uses it consistently.

If the organization already uses "approval" changing it to "authorized" is a lot of work. It is not simply a matter of doing a search and replace in the process document! The ITSM tool(s) configuration and historical data records, training material and even interfaces to other systems may need to be modified. More importantly, if the meaning of the current term is well understood and part of the culture, considerable time and communication effort will be needed for people to un-learn and learn to use the new one. If the term is new to the organization, changing it very early in the process implementation can be done if the project has not yet started to communicate it, otherwise changing it would cause confusion.

Be careful of dogmatic positions people may take claiming the need to be ITIL® "compliant." The organization could probably use this effort more productively than spending it on an academic debate.

Published on: 2013-04-03
Last updated on: 2017-05-06

"The change manager is like the air traffic controller of the production environment."

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