ITIL Change Management

The change management process is one of the most popularly adopted processes from the ITIL framework. Change management constitutes the efforts organizations undergo to manage the lifecycle of all changes within an organization while maintaining an overall objective to have minimal disruptions of IT Services. To begin our discussion of change management, it’s important to define what a change is within the context of the ITIL framework.

A change is any addition, removal or modification of anything that could affect the delivery/quality of IT services. This includes any changes to architectures, processes, services, metrics, documentation practices, designs, configuration items and operational policies. As you can see, you can make changes to almost every aspect of an organization driving the need for organizations to manage those changes to first and foremost maintain governance over proposed changes and to maintain proper documentation detailing the change so that there’s a compilation of archival data available. This allows organizations to maintain a clear line of sight between desired outcomes and how these changes will help them achieve those outcomes.

The ITIL framework refers to the “7 R’s of Change Management” as a guide for organizations trying to define an effective change management process. The 7 R’s are a series of questions that provide the basis for the impact analysis that should accompany every change proposal. They are as follows:

  • Who raised the change?
  • What is the reason for this change?
  • What’s the expected return from the change?
  • What are the risks involved with this change?
  • What resources are required to make the change?
  • Who will be responsible for the change process?
  • What is the relationship between this change and other changes?

Without answers to these questions, companies risk several detrimental outcomes such as unexpected disruptions of service, unsuccessful change implementations, changes not having the desired results, or diminished service quality. All these consequences translate into a loss of revenue, customer satisfaction, and efficiency. By adopting the change management process from the ITIL framework, organizations are trying to mitigate these negative outcomes by effectively managing their changes from infancy to live operation. To reiterate, it’s imperative that organizations maintain proper documentation on all proposed, active and live changes. Without these records, the change management process is less like an efficient way to manage your business and more like a shootout at the OK Corral. An organization may hit their target but it’s chaotic not knowing where these changes are coming from, where they’re going and how they’re being made.