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Four ways to improve your change management strategy

When I talked to IT Service Management expert Derek Lonsdale about change-management strategy challenges, he kept coming back to the change management advisory board.

True, the advisory board approval process tends to be too bureaucratic at some enterprises, but the real problem is what happens — or should be happening — before a change request even gets to the board.

Here is a rundown of four ways Lonsdale, service management leader and lean expert in the Cambridge, Mass. offices of the London-based PA Consulting Group, recommends tackling change management strategy challenges.

Define what a change is. A poorly defined change management process leads to way too many low-priority changes going to the advisory board. Is it a change request or a project, for example? If a request takes more than 10 days’ effort, it’s a project, not a change request, and shouldn’t go to the advisory board.

Define emergency change request. If you have a lot of emergency change-requests going before your advisory board, your project managers are doing something wrong. The only valid emergency change request is an outage. A last-minute server request is just bad planning, not an emergency change request. In these cases, the project manager should have to queue up behind everyone else’s requests for similar changes.

Automate change management. The approval process has to be automated. You can have standard changes that should be automated — for example, regular changes that happen every month, such as rebooting a server. “Anything that is repeatable, you understand the risk, it’s the same resources involved in it all of the time, it’s never caused an outage — so therefore, it can be a standard change,” Lonsdale says.

Before a change hits the advisory board, complete all approvals and admin processes. “Too often advisory boards waste a lot of time asking, ‘Do you have the right approvals?’ or ‘Have they said yes?’ A lot of the steps that should have been done before it got to the advisory board don’t get done, and it makes the meeting very ineffective,” Lonsdale says.

Let us know what you think about this blog post; email: Christina Torode, News Director