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Organizations are unwilling, or reluctant, to reduce the number of performance criteria against which individuals are held accountable, which is a guarantee of poor performance. Although each step is absolutely critical, and none can be reordered, skipped or dropped, we will not review all these points here, but simply comment on points not already covered elsewhere in this framework. First, the Board of Directors and the CEO need to fully understand the existing culture, decide what are the expected culture and behaviors and plot a plan to change it. The objective of the change management process is to minimize service downtime by ensuring that requests for changes are recorded and then evaluated, authorized, prioritized, planned, tested, implemented, documented and reviewed in a controlled and consistent manner. Organizations in all industries-particularly financial services, retail, and communications-are increasingly dependent upon IT and a highly available network to meet their business objectives. While this paper reflects leading practices assembled from various publications and the collective experience of Cisco subject matter experts, the practices are consistent to a large extent to the Information Technology Infrastructure Library Version 3 (ITIL V3) best practices, in particular Service Transition. A service change is any addition, modification, or removal of authorized, planned, or supported service or service component and its associated documentation. There are four major roles involved with the change management process, each with separate and distinct responsibilities. The change initiator is the person who initially perceives the need for the change and develops, plans, and executes the steps necessary to meet the initial requirements for a Request for Change (RFC). The change advisory board (CAB) is a body that exists to support the authorization of changes and to assist change management in the assessment and prioritization of changes.
The CAB may be asked to consider and recommend the adoption or rejection of changes appropriate for higher-level authorization and then recommendations will be submitted to the appropriate change authority. To achieve this, the CAB needs to include people with a clear understanding across the whole range of stakeholder needs. No change should be considered unless the change initiator or requestor and SMEs in the potentially impacted areas review the change. When the need for emergency change arises, such as when there may not be time to convene the full CAB, it is necessary to identify a smaller organization with authority to make emergency decisions. Handling the change reviews electronically is more convenient time-wise for CAB members but is also highly inefficient when questions or concerns are raised such that many communications go back and forth. Practical experience shows that regular meetings combined with electronic automation is a viable approach for many organizations. Many organizations do not review the technical content of the changes during the CAB meetings. Organizations will find it helpful to predefine change process models and apply them to appropriate changes when they occur. These models are usually input to the change management support tools in use and the tools then automate the handling, management, reporting, and escalation of the process.
Once the requirement for a change has been determined, the change is planned in terms of schedule and necessary resources, such as testing environment and time, personnel, budget, etc.


If the change proposal is not required or has been approved, the testing continues in a laboratory replicating the production environment.
The change proposal must be entered in the change management tool just like any Request for Change (RFC).
All the procedures for preparation, installation, verification, and back-out must be documented in detail.
The following list is an example of the information that can be captured and recorded for a proposed change in no particular order. Generally the change management (CAB) assessment of the RFC does not include a review of the technical content of the change. With the workforce also becoming more ethnically diverse it is important that an employer's diversity initiative focuses on managing and valuing their diversity.
It is intended for managers, network operations personnel and practitioners in IT service management.
In particular, the advent of online business transactions has made the network a critical business component that is expected to function properly with little or no downtime. The change is documented in the change tracking system when the change initiator has completed the required level of technical verification and completes a change request. When a CAB is convened, members should be chosen who are capable of ensuring that all changes within the scope of the CAB are adequately assessed from both a business and a technical viewpoint.
A face-to-face meeting is generally more efficient, but poses scheduling and time conflicts among CAB members as well as significant travel and staff costs for widely dispersed organizations. It is generally a good practice to schedule a regular meeting when major projects are due to deliver releases. Therefore all RFCs, together with the change schedule and PSO, should be circulated in advance, and flexibility allowed to CAB members on whether to attend in person, to send a deputy, or to send any comments. If the CAB cannot agree to a recommendation, the final decision on whether to authorize changes, and commit to the expense involved, is the responsibility of management (normally the director of IT or the services director, services manager, or change manager as their delegated representative).
Such a model provides the framework for defining the steps needed to handle changes consistently and effectively.
A subset of these activities will be used in other types of changes, such as standard or emergency. The goals of this test are to assess the feasibility and the costs (effort, resources) of the change. The reason for this approval is to avoid unnecessary costs in testing and documenting changes that do not meet business needs or are deemed too risky.
The testing should include procedures to install the proposed change, to back out from the change in the event it cannot be successfully implemented, and to verify the success of the change after it has been implemented. Impact and risk analysis of the change must also be recorded, in particular the worst-case impact, analyzing the situation of a failed change and a failed back-out procedure.


Consequently, prior to submitting the RFC for CAB review, each RFC must undergo a technical review.
GH Consulting will collaborate with your organization on a change process that will focus on leadership, research and measurement, knowledge management, alignment of organizational systems and assess the ROI. As customer expectations and demands rise, network operations teams are focusing on IT service-quality improvement and achieving higher levels of availability by re-examining processes and procedures-particularly in the area of change management-because changes to the network are often a source of downtime.
Change procedures should specify how the composition of the CAB and ECAB will be determined in each instance, based on the criteria listed previously and any other criteria that may be appropriate to the business. Much of the assessment and referral activities can be handled electronically with support tools or e-mail. The meetings are used to provide a formal review and sign-off of authorized changes, a review of outstanding changes, and, of course, to discuss any impending major changes. The change management authorization plan should specifically name the person(s) authorized to sign off RFCs. A complete back-out or remediation plan must be documented, including procedures to back out at various stages of the change for each change deemed risky enough to require it. Other information related to the change must also be included in the documentation, such as prerequisites for the change, proposed schedule, required resources, engineering and design documentation, physical diagrams, etc. Some information is recorded when the change request is initiated and some information is collected or updated as the RFC progresses through its lifecycle.
This helps ensure that the composition of the CAB will be flexible in order to represent business interests properly when major changes are proposed. The need for a back-out plan, from a process standpoint, is usually tied to the level of risk calculated for a given change. Some information is recorded directly on the RFC form and details of the change may be recorded in other documents and referenced from the RFC, such as engineering documents and impact assessment reports.
It will also help ensure that the composition of the ECAB will provide the ability, both from a business perspective and from a technical standpoint, to make appropriate decisions in any conceivable eventuality. The plan must also include a verification procedure to check that the environment has been restored to the initial configuration that existed prior to the change attempt and that there are no negative side effects resulting from the attempted change. It is a good idea to keep the RFC form simple especially at the beginning of implementing change management in order to encourage compliance with the process.



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