Service Manager


About Change Management

Change management is the process of managing changes in a controlled, efficient, and standardized way with the goal of minimizing business risk and maintaining service continuity. Change management assesses any impact or potential risk a proposed change could have on your organization before it is introduced.

While change management manages the process of updating or introducing a new configuration item, release management manages the deployment of those configuration items that are implemented by change management. Change management thus works with the Release Management module to roll out changes in the organization.

Effective change management ensures that changes are processed properly. During change management, you assess any impact or potential risk that a proposed change could have on your organization before that change is introduced. During change management, you control the lifecycle of all changes and ensure that changes are made with as little disruption to the organization as possible. A change is an action that results in a new status for one or more configuration items.

The goal of change management is to ensure that standardized methods and procedures are used to process change requests. Successful change management minimizes the impact of change-related issues and improves daily operations.

After a change has been approved, release management begins the release process, which includes creating a back-out plan to return to an operational start point.

Change State Transitions

A change request is constrained by the different states in its lifecycle. For example, after a change is in implemented state, it cannot be reverted to the scheduled state. Change Managers can take a change through different states and is not constrained by its status-driven lifecycle. However, we recommend that the change be driven by its lifecycle states.

An emergency change request is not constrained by state transitions as these types of changes are usually created after the fact, solely for recording purposes. Your administrator can create additional statuses as needed.

Change Approval, Planning, and Scheduling

One of the key principles of change management is to ensure that there is approval from key stakeholders to move forward with the change. Change approvers are sometimes referred to as Change Approval Board (CAB) members. The approval boards set up for change management analyze the impact, risks, and cost associated with most types of changes. In Service Manager, standard and minor changes are approved by the Change Manager and do not require CAB, but significant, major, and emergency changes require additional levels of approval. The approval workflow set up by default (which can be reconfigured by your administrator) determines whether a change requires additional levels of approval before it can be accepted and scheduled. See Approving a Change Request for more information about the approval process.

The CAB, ECAB (emergency CAB), and management committee teams determine the risk and cost associated with a potential change. In Service Manager, the risk score allows for an appropriate assessment when approving a change. See Setting the Risk Level.

When a change is approved, the change is scheduled. The Change Manager can use the change scheduler to schedule the change at a time that will cause the least impact to the organization.

From the change record itself, the Change Manager can view which incidents, problem, configuration items (including services), and release the change is linked to, thereby reducing the potential for adversely impacting other configuration items (and services) during the change process. The configuration item owner can define lockout periods for the configuration item as well as identify a favorable change window for implementing the configuration item. In Service Manager, the change calendar (see Using the Change Calendar) and change lockout feature lets the Change Manager effectively manage changes and reduce impact and other conflicts.

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