How You Can Improve Change Management

During a recent service management simulation activity, I was reminded of the value of perspective on roles that we do not participate in on a daily basis. It was the next morning that a manager had complained about some roadblocks she was experiencing. When I asked her what they were, she said it was someone else’s concern that was impacting her. I always like to operate under the guise that if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem. This led me to the statement:

“Just because you are not a change manager doesn’t mean that you can’t help improve the process.”

You might be saying to yourself that you already have enough going on to worry about change management too.

Here’s the thing—start to look at the big picture rather than limiting your view to the backyard. Place the business you support in your visual horizon. Here’s an example:

Service Desk

In many cases the service desk is made aware that a change has not gone as planned long before the implementers or change manager has been made aware. Despite rigorous testing and a solid implementation plan, there may be areas that we did not think to test, or in other cases were not able to test as well as we had thought. Things happen. While the change record will need to be updated to reflect this issue, we need to ensure that the ability to learn from this issue is recorded in the change. Depending on the severity of the issue, we may also need to have some level of post-implementation review to ensure that all vested parties can weigh in on the issues seen, corrective steps taken, and the learning items to prevent this from going forward.

IT Operations Manager

I have heard countless times from IT operations people that they are “in the business of keeping the lights on” and as such are not focused on service management. (Pause for thought.) Despite the term service management, we are all working to provide delivery on a—wait for it—yes, that’s right, a service. In order to do that our friends in the operations department will likely be looking at the usual testing and validation activities, but they should also be thinking about how this might impact things from an applications support perspective. Remember that big-picture thinking. Asking questions about an area that may not be your technical domain can sometimes root out an issue that was never considered by those who are in that space every day—the “Gee, I never thought of it in that context before…”


IT Application Manager

Much like the operation manager, these folks are generally thinking about testing and validation in a similar although slightly different way. They too may not be looking at the larger service delivery picture, but should be. While they may not be change managers, they are also agents of changes. They too need to ensure that all the questions are asked, even if they don’t want to sound “dumb.” Everyone has a valid voice that is generated from a multitude of experiences. Remember the only question that is dumb is the one that isn’t asked.

Everyone plays a part in change management, big or small—from filling out an RFC and attending CAB to testing, communications, and training. This will take cooperation from many people, not only the change manager and implementer. So think about what you can do today to help your change management process improve.

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