Understanding ITIL Change Management

Notes from a great talk on the do’s and don’ts of Change Management, specifically related to ITIL.

Key take-aways from this IDC Report from 2014:

  • the average cost of an infrastructure failure is $100,000 per hour.
  • 80% of failures are due to custom adjustments of current tools to meet DevOps practices – meaning: a breakdown of process, or lack of process (incorrect SOPs or human errors), causes these types of failures

Change Management is about coordinating/collaborating resources, especially people, across an organization and preparing them for a change that’s about to happen. Ensuring the people are ready, the technology is ready, and the process is ready so that it can be effective and efficient as it moves into production.

There is risk involved with Change Management. If a change fails, it can deteriorate the business. There is knowledge required for Change Management. The stakeholders need to be prepared with the right knowledge of what to expect.

With that in mind, Why is Change Management important?

  1. Operational Excellence
    It is simple to focus on doing a lot of things instead of the right things. Change Management helps keep focus on the business strategy and doing the right things.
  2. Management of Risk
    Managing Change ultimately is managing risk. Changes get thrown into the mix constantly, but if it doesn’t add business value, is it the right thing? It could be a major risk to the organization, to the financial resources, and to the customers perspective.
  3. Overall Strategy Support
    Change Managers maintain focus on keeping the business moving towards its goal.

The 8 Do’s and Don’ts of Change Management

Do Coordinate and Collaborate across the organization

Make sure all stakeholders, customers, users, and the business are aware of the change – communication is key.

Don’t overlook the role of people

People are the key. It is human nature to not like change, but as a Change Manager we need to help individuals become not just compliant, but compassionate. When people really believe in the change, they buy in and they do the right thing.

Do know your inventory

Understand your resources and their capability. Be familiar with your Configuration Management Database (CMDB), Configuration Management System (CMS), and the Service Knowledge Management Systems (SKMS). These should follow a service model (how services are delivered) underpinned by your services, infrastructure, people and capabilities. This knowledge allows the Change Manager to foresee problems and how the change in one area might affect other areas.

Don’t introduce too much change at once

There’s a rhythm to change. Too much change will cause “red flag” syndrome where the changes become ignored. The Change Manager needs to understand where the business and the customers are at and find that balanced rhythm.

Do communicate to those who need to know about the change

The Forward Schedule of Changes (FSC) is the document used to communicate change plans to the organization. Use this to: Track the list of approved changes and the proposed implementation dates. Provide visibility to key stakeholders on the status of changes being introduced in the production environment. Nothing is worse than having something change when you didn’t know anything about it. This causes incidents and distrust. Individuals will start ‘looking’ for negative aspects and things begin to be disrupted.

Don’t think about change in a silo

A change, no matter the size, can have domino effects. Therefore, any change is an organizational change and needs to be communicated in a way that anyone in the organization can see the value and its alignment with the vision.

Do approach change management from a Service-Oriented perspective

Look at the service and how it affects your customers and the relationships within the organization.

Don’t pick technology that doesn’t support a holistic perspective

This is in alignment with the “Do” from above – sometimes processes are inter-related. Make sure the technology takes the organization as a whole into account. You don’t want to change the tech in one area and it ends up causing an entire division to no longer be able to communicate strategic information. Remember from the IDC report – customization of tools accounts for 80% of failures.

Change Management affects everything in an organization.

In summary, the 8 Do’s and Don’ts of Change Management can be quickly navigated by this excellent list of the 7 R’s of Change Management: For proper impact assessment and understanding of benefits to risk, these seven questions should be asked.

  • Who RAISED the change?
  • What is the REASON for the change?
  • What is the RETURN required from the change?
  • What are the RISKS involved in the change?
  • What RESOURCES are required to deliver the change?
  • Who is RESPONSIBLE for the build, test and implementation of the change?
  • What is the RELATIONSHIP between this change and other changes?

Book Review – Every Job is a Sales Job

The pandemic that is currently deteriorating economies globally is causing businesses to take a hard look at why they do what they do. I feel that the businesses that add value will be able to weather this storm. I believe we will see businesses that are not making “win-win” sales, let’s call them greedy (i.e. they win, customers lose), are going to dry up quickly. Note: There are some businesses that fall-in the “win/lose” category which have become too powerful to die, that’s a scary thought.

Why are the greedy ones going to dry up? Due to the unemployment rates skyrocketing consumers and businesses alike are now faced with looking at their finances on a granular level. It seems that necessities will trump luxuries for the next few years and I hope that many individuals are making wiser decisions when it comes to purchasing on credit versus waiting until they have the funds to buy in cash.

With all of this said, I have been challenged by a friend to read through the book “Every Job is a Sales Job: How to Use the Art of Selling to Win at Work” by Dr. Cindy McGovern.

The first “aha” moment in the book for me, after a lot of introduction, was her statement “Kindness sells.” She discusses a few stories along the lines of:

A Chick-fil-A opened on a Sunday just so a 14-year-old boy could fulfill his dream of working at a drive-through. The store’s manager let the child, who has autism and cerebral palsy, hand out cookies to friends and family during his “shift.”

That’s where I feel like the whole purpose of this book becomes evident. If I could summarize the entire book in one sentence, one question, it would be this: “What do you do at work to create a moment that matters for someone?”

To survive the pandemic, to survive 2020 in general, I believe the companies that create moments that matter – those are the companies that survive. Something like that requires an incredible team, but you can’t just have an incredible team, you need an incredible leader that embodies that ‘kindness.’

So, to all the leaders, C-Suites, executives, and managers – how are you leading your teams? Do you see the individual in front of you? I know of many who are hurting right now, your employees are probably hurting. I know of many who are anxious at the moment, your employees are probably anxious. Beyond that, you are probably hurting and anxious as well. If you are, contact me – I’m here for you. I want to see you able to stand as the leader you are and incite courage in those who follow you.

Move in kindness. Move others to do the same.