Like so many other types of policies for IT management, "change control" policy is used to govern the means and methods by which technology change is planned, approved and implemented. The goals are simple - to embrace required change, avoid unneccessary change and ensure that all approved change is implemented with minimal disruption to ongoing operations. This is a big task - read on to learn how it works.
Technology change is inevitable, whether it relates to systems administration, hardware configuration, software updates, or other maintenance obligations. As a standardized IT management practice, IT change control is used to support changing business and technology needs, designed to maintain overall stability, security and reliability. Technology change is beneficial, but it can also be disruptive. Quality change control practices must be designed to realize every benefit, while minimizing related problems.
Learn to Fast Track
Even under the best of circumstances, management is a challenge. When you learn to fast track, you’ll learn to work smarter, not harder. And that’s the value of every lesson, resource and template available at Fast Track Manage Learning. And you can start learning for free! Learn More
Basic Principles of Technology Change Control
The basic principles for managing "technology change" can be broken down into four (4) categories for simplified planning, covering technology use, change control targets, change delivery mechanisms and change "purpose".
How is change control used to manage technology?
- Change control is a management practice used to "control" the initiation, planning, approval, execution and processing of required changes to in-place technology.
What are the most common change control targets?
- The targets of change management practices, and related policies, are in-place technology including networks, servers, storage devices, end-user devices (desktops, laptops, notebooks, tablets), software, and related products.
How is change control delivered?
- Change control practices are delivered as documented policies, implemented through the use of related operational procedures and related tools.
What are the primary change control "goals and objectives"?
- To manage and create a documented record of required changes and ensure that each change is implemented in the most cost effective, high quality manner with minimal disruption to ongoing operations.
Standardized Steps for Effective Policy Planning
Change control policy development begins with a comprehensive needs assessment, executed to establish the basis upon which policy terms and variables will be created.
The "define, align, and approve" management methodology provides an standardized roadmap for policy planning, development and implementation).
Step 1: Identify your change control objectives.
- What are you trying to accomplish with the use of change control? Common change control objectives include problem reduction, improved control and improved service quality.
Step 2: Identify your policy development "scope".
- At this stage, you must consider the need to create new policies or update existing policies.
Step 3: Collect information and requirements in order to evaluate current needs and capabilities:
- Inventory your change control "targets" (in place systems, hardware and software).
- Identify change control requirements (what types of changes do you encounter?)
- Identify organizational requirements (number of locations, business priorities, etc).
- Evaluate change control capabilities including resource availability, SLA obligations and skill levels.
Step 4: Create "change control" policy deliverables.
- Document goals, objectives, roles, responsibilities, initiation procedures, approval procedures, design procedures, testing procedures, scheduling, communication, recovery, support, documentation, tracking, waivers and documentation.
Step 5: Implement policies and pay careful attention to communication and consistency.
- If change policies are to have any true benefit, they must be enforced. Make sure you have sufficient management support to overcome objections and minimize related conflicts.
Step 6: Plan for ongoing review of policy impact, value, and revision as may be needed.
- Continuous improvement and continued relevance are essential to IT change control value and viability. Review and evaluation should be a "baked in" element of the change control policy and related operational procedures. (Also Read: Practical Procedures for Managing Project Change).
THE IT SERVICE STRATEGY TOOLKIT
If you're looking for a fast, easy way to achieve IT service success, you'll find it inside the IT Service Strategy Toolkit. This unique, informative online course gives you everything you need to become an IT management leader and service planning expert. Here's what you'll learn:
The I.T. Service Strategy Toolkit is an easy, engaging online course, containing over 50+ education components, teaching you how to use the multi-stage 'Service Strategy Process' to organize the I.T. service function and deliver value-added I.T. services.
Topics covered include developing the IT mission, organizing the IT service department, planning IT management policies, managing the IT/end-user service relationship, performing the IT service review, and more.
Techniques covered include 'Define, Align and Approve', the 'Manage by Process Framework', the IT/End User Partnership, Proactive Problem Management and more.
Download the tools and templates to produce the I.T. Vision Statement and multiple Service Review deliverables.
Build and improve strategic planning skills, as you learn time-saving techniques to become a more productive IT manager or service professional.
Course enrollment provides lifetime access to all components, with all future updates and additions included.
Source: Unless noted otherwise, all content is created by and/or for ITtoolkit.com
ITtoolkit.com staff writers have experience working for some of the largest corporations, in various positions including marketing, systems engineering, help desk support, web and application development, and IT management.
ITtoolkit.com is part of Right Track Associates, proprietors and publishers of multiple web sites including ITtoolkit.com, Fast Track Manage, HOA Board List and more. We started ITtoolkit.com in 2001 and have continued to grow our web site portfolio, Toolkit products, and related data services. To learn more, visit us at Right Track Associates.