Unrecognized activities of Change Management (Part 2)

By Laurent Duenas, September 18th 2013 


A fragile maturity about a widespread notion


Organizations often think they have a good knowledge of “Change Management” and “Release and Deployment Management” processes. As a matter of fact, when assessing their maturity level, we find out that many of them have already implemented good practices, such as:


►   Formalizing a Request for Change (RFC)

►   Clarifying and prioritizing recorded changes

►   Setting up a Change Advisory Board

►   Planning changes through a Forward Schedule of Change

►   Also formalizing release activities (assembly, integration, approval)



Based on the fact that good practices are already implemented, the maturity level of organizations should normally be high. At least, they should get good ratings in terms of Change Management and compliance with professionals' expectations as a benefit of good practice implementation. Conclusions, however, are just the opposite.


Even when the process does exist, it is not systematically implemented for the whole range of changes. There are always cases when principles and controls “fail”. Examples are numerous: small changes, application changes or those linked to a specific platform managed by a more independent team, etc. The fact is that it is clearly difficult to implement minimal principles, common to all stakeholders, in all situations and circumstances.


Processes are often implemented within an incomplete scope particularly Change Management activities which only cover the controls closest to Release & Deployment activities, depriving the organization from its maximum added value.


Statistics coming from field observation (carried out in France between 2006 and 2010).



In the above picture, the author classifies results in two categories: “the good”, and “the less good” but there is no place for “bad”. For the author, the good practices implemented all aim at improving something such as quality, compliance with professional requirements or cost optimization. All of these criteria are goals of the ITIL framework. The fact that they are incomplete, insufficient, not very widespread or not really adapted is very often linked to the complexity or the scope of the context, to the ability of an organization to change, to the context evolving quicker than the speed of process adjustment, etc. Attempting to implement a few principles is already a positive approach in itself. That is why initiatives should never be considered as bad.


Difficulties met by the organizations

In the top 10 problems met by IT organizations, we have selected those linked to assessed failed opportunities (subject of this book):


►   Compliance with Change Management guidelines is not a complete reality yet and organizations face persistent unauthorized changes

►   Access to the release environment is normally restricted to authorized stakeholders, which is not the case and makes the previous point easier

►   Change planning and timing do not take place to meet real business requirements (i.e. assessing potential revenue loss or any other impact on business)

►   Difficulty in affecting change to a release window, which leads, as business records, to frequent and/or high impacts because of unplanned stops linked to changes

►   High number of urgent changes and associated difficulty to assess their priority level

►   Difficulty in controlling change costs because large parts are unexpected and therefore unplanned, or reproduced without capitalizing on previous experience



Others issues can also be met, such as Change Management scope, RFC formalization and classification, change cost assessment, CAB relevance, involvement of CAB members, communication around change and coordination of stakeholders, processes control, etc. 


* Records gathered by the following studies:

►  Study on business oriented change planning by the Federal University of Campina Grande Paraiba in Brazil, 2006

►  Main Transition constraints to manage (OGC Service Transition ITIL V3 reference book)

►  itSMF workshops reports, France, 2009

Change Management "true life"

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