Posted: Thu Jul 05, 2007 6:11 am Post subject: Question regarding Change Management Practices.
Hi, fellow Itilers.
I present you with a case study regarding Change Management.
I'm currently the project manager of a project for implementing ITIL in our Change Control Process.
First of all I'd like to explain that we are a Telco and ISP and the Change Control Process that we want to redesign according to ITIL involves all areas of the Operations Department, including:
Wireline Switches, including Electromecanical and IP based Switches
Fiber Optic and Radio Transport Systems
Data Equipments, including DSLAN's and Servers.
Civil Infrastructure, including temperature control, AC and DC Power Infrastructure
Outside Plant (cables, terminals and control points)
And a couple of other support groups.
Information Technology is another department of our company and already is implementing ITIL in all software changes that are done companywide. They have a couple of years experience and we are doing internal benchmarking regarding their practices.
Our IT and Operations processes are not going to run on the same platform for now since they have a proprietary (In House) software for managing changes and we use SAP, for which we already have a couple of people here that serve as first and second level support, so we intend to use that to our advantage. Later on I'll be working on merging these two processes but for now we are only developing SLA's on changes in the Operations department that affect the Software platform and vice versa. Also we plan on having CAB meetings in Operations on the same day and time of the IT CAB so we could in theory communicate with each other.
Also, we are located in a country were continuous AC power is an issue, so we must have at least two backup AC power sources in every location to ensure continual service to our clients. Those two backups are often a Generator and an inverter with an array of high capacity batteries.
This allows for a wide variety of changes that can occur in the whole department that need to be managed. We currently are doing so using SAP and have not yet implemented CABs.
I have a couple of questions regarding possible outcomes of the Change Management Process, which is in the discussion phase with all involved parties:
I'm planning on establishing one CAB for all changes that need CAB review and they should meet on a weekly basis. (I have already ran the numbers statistically and found that one meeting per week would allow for a reasonable number of changes to be reviewed, 6 to be exact).
I'm planning to allow common changes that are not Service Affecting and have a reasonably easy Method of Procedure and also are a well proven solution to a problem or situation to be approved by selected persons in the organization and not having to wait for a CAB meeting. Those persons already are approving such changes and have done so for the past years. They are known as the Technology Support Group and are themselves experts in any given technology that we use here (Wireline, Wireless, Data, Fiber Optics, etc.).
My first question would be:
Is it Right in ITIL to NOT have every change go through the CAB?
The second issue here is: Would the CAB need to have all members present at any given meeting?
I suppose the CM would only invite those members whose technologies would be affected by the change and the CAB would vary from meeting to meeting. This is, as I see it, an effective use of everybody's time and would only pose one problem: Since we have a huge array of technologies, CAB members would not necessarily feel part of a CAB, since they wouldn't have to convene in a periodic basis, and only if there is a change regarding their scope of action. I'm not sure of the effects of this in all members of the CAB.
I have stumbled upon a standardized practice in our organization stating that no change should exceed one week duration and if you needed to do something in the network that happened to last more than a week, you would have to raise two or more RFC's. This is in my opinion very limiting and doubles or triples the CM and the change raiser's work and thus should be disregarded but I have yet to convince people in the security areas that a person working on the network for more than a week would not pose too great a risk. This happens a lot in the AC and DC preventive maintenance changes that often take a month.
What would you recommend in this situation?
Well, I'll now thank you in advance for your generous feedback about these issues.
Any counsel from people as your kind is always appreciated since I'm always in search of enlightment.
Joined: Jun 20, 2007 Posts: 24 Location: Dallas, TX
Posted: Sat Jul 07, 2007 4:46 am Post subject:
1. I believe that if you are going to have CAB meetings, you should have the entire CAB with representation from each group there together. This way they get a better idea for what is going on in the entire IT environment rather than just a section of it. This will also help you measure coordinate changes to the environment which may or may not have an affect on whether or not there is a power interruption to the environment.
2. It sounds as if your Changes are being done directly to a production environment to include development, testing, and release. I say this because you talk about a group being on the network for a week to do a change. If this is the case, I would recommend having a separate environment for Dev and one for QA (test). This way you don't impact your production environment should a change occur that goes wrong.
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