Deep Knowledge of IT Application is needed for Change Manager

Posted: November 22, 2013 in General, Information Technology
Tags: , , ,

by William Mantz, ITIL Certified Practitioner

Attribution By Perditax (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons - Public DomainIn the IT Change Management process, you are dealing with all types of change requests from any direction. In the data center alone, just think of all the countless number of Applications that are supported when you look at racks of infrastructure. This rack of equipment, as you know, serves up the IT application and Service, and has cross-platform and cross-product connections. Then, we layer on the disparate contacts for each IT application we need to reach out with a communication.

If you are the assigned the duty of the Change Manager to facilitate a change request through the system, you need to need to understand the scope and impact. In my prior article, The Value of the Configuration Management Database, I just scratched the surface on the value that the CMS/CMDB provides to the Change Management process. For that reason, those doing the role of the Change Manager has to be chosen selectively with deep knowledge of the IT Application for which they support. The Change Manager’s number 1 goal for IT Services is to facilitate Change Requests, and when the request is approved, ensure the change is implemented with the least impact to the live environment or service for which they are responsible. Obviously, many teams are involved in order to reach this goal, but the person in the role of Change Manager has to have the ability to assess the scope of the change to what parts of the application could be impacted or effected, and be able to reach out to these teams in the process. They are the first line of defense as the change request comes in to be assessed. That’s why in the prior article, I speak about the value the relationships give you in the CMDB and the type of relationships documented when assessing the change. This is also why ITIL covers these two roles very clearly in the Service.

Take the example of the Data Center, such as any of our cloud providers, they communicate a change request to downstream customers. If that component is a subset of a larger, integrated, complex system, the Change Manager for the larger complex system now has the task to slip that change in with its own customer base. To do that assessment on exactly what is effected, they need to understand the IT application and System to that architectural level to be able to state where the interruption would be, if any. Having the ability to communicate specifics of the change and it’s impact is also of value to the Support Teams that need to be present to either handle the request, respond, or simply test that the System is back up and functional after the change is made.

The other point to consider in a change request is the timing. While some timing for changes can be planned, such as your team or the internal organization’s direct control of the change, some timing can not be adjusted as in the case where SaaS services are used. The Change Manager has the role to work with Delivery, Service Desk, and Release Management to make sure the timing and activity is optimized for the effected services. In some cases, you can bundle other changes with the SaaS change timing so that you are limiting downtime of the service to the same maintenance window, then testing it as a single unit.

As you recall from reading above, I state the person selected to do the role of Change Manager is selected with a deep knowledge of the IT Application they support. The reason I state this is the role requires change ownership for any change that could impact their IT Application or service. This role requires a full, holistic view of all change activity against timing and schedules to help facilitate the change process. With this deep knowledge, they can then work with various IT teams in the organization, communicate the change planning, execute the change process, and then reach the goal to limit the change’s impact to the IT Products and Services with all the stakeholders.

William is a certified Practitioner in IT Service Management for Release and Control, with experience in Global Change, Configuration and Release Management.  He is also an experienced Project Lead in delivery, IT Automation, systems implementation, build, deployment and release practices.

This article is in a series of articles around IT Change, Configuration and Release Management using ITIL’s Foundation Framework.

Copyright. William Mantz 2013. All Rights Reserved.
Images used with permission from GNU, please see Image Description or Alt Tags for attribution.


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