How to identify standard changes

By ITIL® from Experience©

To identify a standard change it helps to know what to look for. As a reminder a standard change is: "a pre-authorized change that is low risk, relatively common and follows a procedure or work instruction."1

Given that it is "an accepted and established procedure to provide a specific change requirement”2 , processes used to deliver services published in the Service Catalogue of backend Technical Teams can be good candidates for a standard change. Moreover, activities performed to support and maintain services, the infrastructure, or to enable a project to deploy can be good prospects.

The fact that they are a category of Request For Change (RFC) is a point often overlooked. As a result similar methods to identify categories can be used as described in How to come up with categories for our service requests. Alternatively, review the Configuration Management Database (CMDB) and identify the type of activities carried out on the configuration items in one of its branches.

Once a prospect has been identified the following checklist can be used to validate its suitability. A good candidate is a change that:

  • “Has been built and tested, and the deployment procedure has been used successfully one or more times”3
  • Is made frequently or repeatedly - like:
    • Once a month
    • To life-cycle configuration items
    • To carry out a phased deployment
  • Has a history of success – like at least 95% success over the previous 3 months
  • Is a low risk to business services – like low impact if it fails
  • Meets a specific risk category4
  • Can be executed repeatedly using the same pre-defined method
  • Could be automated
  • Has no impact on the IT Service Continuity plans

Correctly identifying a standard change is not imperative at this stage. Further evaluation will be done when it is documented and approved (see What is the content of a standard change and How is a Standard Change Pre-Approved). Finally, when a process is in place to maintain standard changes issues of poor quality, low predictability can be identified during its regular review cycle and as it generates incidents.

"There is nothing wrong with change, if it is in the right direction." Winston Churchill.

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Category: ITIL Process > Change Management > Standard Change


ITIL® Service Transition, (2007 Edition) Section Standard Changes (pre-authorized), p. 48 -or Section, p. 67 in the 2011 Edition

3 ITIL® Service Transition, (2011 Edition) Section 4.2.5 Process activities methods and techniques, p.68
4 ibid, Table 4.5 Example of a change impact and risk categorization matrix, p.75


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