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Allen White

What Is Your Change Management Process?

Large(r) companies tend to have a defined process for implementing change in their data centers, but small(er) companies tend not to. (Your Mileage May Vary.) This makes sense, as large companies usually have more systems dependent on each other, and a change made to one system can dramatically impact the effectiveness of another system. Small(er) shops tend to feel that those implementing the changes know the impact of the change they're making.

What is change management? Well, it's a well-defined process to document changes made to your systems. The changes include hardware, software, network infrastructure, configuration settings, or anything that can disrupt the normal processing of your business applications. The process usually includes a description of what change will be made, who will make the change, when it will be made and (most importantly) what steps will be taken if the changes were unsuccessful. The changes are generally reviewed by people representing groups who will be impacted by the change.  These people often have the responsibility to approve the proposed changes.

The documentation of the changes provides a great reference tool for those times when problems occur and are traced to some change event, because it's then known when the change was made, by whom, and the anticipated effects of the change.

I think the most important aspect of the change management process is the backout plan should the change not be successful. In too many cases the processes necessary to reverse changes aren't researched until after problems occur, when the change is disrupting business and there's significant pressure on those making the changes to "get it fixed". Sufficient time spent ahead of the change documenting what steps are required to back the change out can minimize the downtime and minimize that pressure.

(This is why flight training focuses so much on emergency procedures - keeping a level head when problems occur can truly save lives.)

If you haven't implemented a comprehensive change management process it's well worth your time.

Allen

Published Monday, October 20, 2008 10:07 PM by AllenMWhite

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Comments

 

Jason said:

I agree. The change management process in the company I work for has gone from none to requiring god's signature in triplicate over the past 10 years. We have found a happy medium.

October 21, 2008 6:06 PM
 

PM Hut said:

There's also an overhead, for smaller projects, when adopting a Change Management Process. On the other hand, a Change Management Process in place will keep the client (or other involved parties) from hindering the project with constant changes.

I did publish once an article about the Change Management Process ( http://www.pmhut.com/change-management-change-management-process ), take a look whenever you have the time.

November 27, 2008 6:00 PM

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About AllenMWhite

Allen White is a consultant and mentor for Upsearch Technology Services in Northeast Ohio. He has worked as a Database Administrator, Architect and Developer for over 30 years, supporting both the Sybase and Microsoft SQL Server platforms over that period.

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