Change management is a hot topic of conversation among many organizations. Yet despite being at the center of much discussion, there still isn’t a consistent understanding of what comprises change management.
Many organizations believe they have a change management process in place, but when asked to describe it they will outline something that is far from a best practice change management process. In fact, many view a change approval process as synonymous with a change management process, instead of as one step in a larger change management process.
For these reasons, a good change management discussion must start with the basics to ensure that nothing is lost in translation.
To start, let’s define key terms (using ITIL definitions)
Change management: the process responsible for controlling the lifecycle of all changes.
Change: the addition, modification, or removal of anything that could have an affect on IT services.
What is the objective of change management?
The primary objective of change management is to enable beneficial changes to be made, with minimum disruption to IT services. And for this series, we will focus on service (IT service management) changes and how organizations can improve their services with change.
What are the most common mistakes related to change management?
For those who have struggled to get an effective change management process in place, it can be helpful to consider the top mistakes made in this area.
- Not understanding best practices or not doing the research necessary to develop a good change management process
- Doing what’s always been done and formalizing it
- Not understanding the value of change management and not articulating that value to the rest of the organization
- Not having organizational commitment to the process
- Having a process that is over-engineered, too complex, has too many lines of communication or a lack of the necessary underpinning trust
Now that we’ve established a firm understanding of what change management is and why it’s valuable, the next post in this series will outline the change management process and how it should be done in most organizations.
To learn more, watch our recent webinar on change management, featuring Anthony Orr, IT leader and author of ITIL v3 2011 publications.