2. Articulate the benefits of Change Management to each level of the organization. Using a top-down organizational approach is usually the most effective way to establish Change Management. When the leaders of an organization demonstrate the commitment and participation to implement a Change Management program, the better the chance for success. Getting buy-in at all levels is critical to the success of the program. The first step to achieving a successful buy-in is identifying all stakeholder groups that are affected by such an implementation. Stakeholders need to understand the benefits on a personal and organizational level (What’s in it for me?). Clearly defining and presenting to each stakeholder what those benefits will be, and conversely, establishing and enforcing policies that address the penalties and repercussions for bypassing the process is essential. Finally, to ensure buy-in and understanding among everyone, be sure to communicate the same message to everyone involved as to what those policies will cover.
3. Define what a Change is. The most important concept to convey is that everything in the IT world can have a change element to it. Nothing should fly under the radar. All Installs, Moves, Adds and Changes (IMAC’s) to the infrastructure, and any software changes should fall under the control of Change Management. Even the most seemingly innocuous changes can cause major disruptions if no one knows about them. This can be especially true if you are implementing Change Management in an immature, silo-structured organization.
4. Establish clear roles and responsibilities for the Change Advisory Board (CAB), Change Manager, and Change Authority. Creating an Executive Committee for the CAB is a good way to keep the executives engaged in the process without subjecting them to the low level details that change management sometimes involves. Having executive sponsorship increases your leverage when encountering parties resistant to changing the status quo. An effective and successful Change Manager is one who proactively ensures that the right resources, both technical and business, attend the CAB and present viable, justifiable changes. The Change Manager can be the final arbiter in resolving disputes over classifications and prioritizations. (Some organizations use the Executive Committee for issue resolution). Ensure that the Change Authorities who are representing changes to the CAB are well-informed and can speak to their items when challenged. Their role is to present the business case, the impact analysis, the resource plan and execution plan for each change. The CAB is not just an IT operation. A successful CAB will have a wide rotating mix of participants from the IT, Operations and Business groups. Embrace the flexibility that the CAB offers by limiting the standing participants and ensuring only those resources that can add value to the discussions are invited to the meetings.
6. Establish and Stabilize the Change Management Process before introducing tools. In theory, it seems logical to buy a tool that can guide your change management implementation and utilize it as a key component of your change program. In practice, this approach is rarely effective. Introducing new processes, making them more efficient and finalizing them will lay the groundwork for defining the requirements for a tool selection. You can then better evaluate a tool fit for your purposes instead of getting lost in the various options that most tools present. 7. Define Key Performance Indicators (KPI) and Critical Success Factors (CSF) that highlight the improvements that Change Management brings to the organization. Bring metrics to Senior Management’s attention on a regular basis showing how CM is benefiting the organization.
8. Ensure back-out plans are documented and realistic. Although no one ever intentionally introduces defects into the production environment, it is a fact of life that problems will sometimes arise as a result of new submissions. To combat these instances, there must be a robust contingency plan in place to minimize the amount and length of production outages. Ensuring that the Release Management team comes prepared to the CAB with both their implementation plan and back-out strategy is an essential check-point for the Change Manager.
9. Accentuate the positive by building on successes and leveraging lessons learned. Discussing lessons learned, whether good or bad, is important for everyone involved to better prepare for the next instance.
While it is important to correct bad behaviors after a release, it is just as important to highlight what went well. Showcase success stories and integrate lessons learned into plans for further roll-outs.
10. Use the Change Management Initiative to promote other ITIL processes. Many organizations are only familiar with the Change Management component of ITIL. · Use the success story from implementing Change Management to promote the benefits of the other processes and how it will improve the overall performance of IT. Change Management cannot be truly effective in isolation.
When Release and Configuration Management processes are absent, consider combining all three into a centralized function. The three processes have many close links to each other and together can stabilize an organization’s production environment. In summary, implementing Change Management is and should be viewed as a major strategic undertaking. It is much more than a simple process roll-out. As a starting point, organizations need to know where they stand in terms of ITIL maturity, where gaps exist, and where they want to be. Any ITIL implementation is a major change program that warrants a roadmap, a realistic project plan and associated communications to achieve the desired outcomes. It also requires training of the support organization as well as the users receiving the service on new processes and procedures. Piloting the new processes or performing dry runs will furthermore ensure smooth transition and higher effectiveness.