Posted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 12:12 am Post subject: Change Mgmt versus Release Mgmt
I've read over some ITIL material and haven't found a practical explanation of the difference between these two. My understanding is that change mgmt is any single change, whereas release mgmt is a bundle of changes linked together that must also go live together.
Is this accurate? If not, what's wrong with it? Or is there a better explanation?
This is a common cause of confusion in ITIL. The simple way we used to put it on Foundation courses was:
Change Management authorises
Release Management does the job
So Change Mgt is where all the discussions happen - is this okay? is this necessary? Should we go ahead?
Once a decision is made to go ahead, Release Mgt handles the physical building of the change and deployment to the live environment (after testing of course). As part of Release Mgt they might bundle changes together for convenience.
Thanks Claire. That's interesting. In most of my ITIL-based deployments of change management, the change management process handles the actual changes to the environments as well as discussion/approval. It's handled as phases in one change type (i.e. change types of "normal", "emergency", etc).
So what you're saying is that "change management" is meant in a more general sense - it's the management of true organizational change, not granular changes to production or test IT environments. And then when it comes time for the production/test IT environments, it's handled in release management. Am I summarizing what you said accurately?
I think what you're saying is that in your experience Change Mgt has handled physical implementation as well as assessment and authorisation, is that correct? Of course there is no right or wrong way to implement ITIL, it a case of whatever works for the organisation.
From an ITIL theory sense, every organisation will have some kind of business change management that handles changes that affect the whole organisation (for example: we are moving our headquarters to another city - how does this affect staff etc). This will be supported by an IT change management process which looks at the IT considerations (how do we move the servers? When do we do it etc).
IT Change Mgt will assess and authorise the change and then Release Mgt would include physically implementing it - so staff under the control of Release Mgt would do the work and then report back to Change Mgt.
Change Mgt is a purely 'management' process in that it's role is to assess and authorise changes. Release Mgt (from an ITIL perspective) is a 'doing' process that carries out work based on what's been authorised by Change Mgt.
Thanks Claire, all of that was really helpful. It's interesting to learn how different people apply the ITIL processes. It helps me to understand through experience what people mean when they say that ITIL is "descriptive", not "prescriptive".
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