One of the first things I do in a maturity assessments for service management in organizations, I look at their standard changes. I am interested to know what percentage of the organization’s changes are standard and what specific changes are categorized standard. And, how the standard changes are controlled.
By definition, a standard change is a change to the infrastructure (or application) that follows an established path, is relatively common, and is the accepted solution to a specific requirement or set of requirements.
More specifically, I would term a standard change based on the following requisites:
- The risk it poses is low in nature
- Potential impact is low
- It is a repeatable activity
- The procedure or work instructions to carry out the standard change are well documented
- Easy to implement
- Easier to back-out
- Every change need not go under the scanner
What are the benefits by standardizing changes you might ask?
- Standard changes reduces bureaucracy that comes with change management
- In turn, it reduces the overall overheads – imagine the efforts that go into reviewing changes and approving them
- Makes the service management organization more efficient
- Gives IT teams some teeth to carry out changes that don’t pose risk or business impact
Finally, who is accountable to identify and convert normal changes into standard changes?
I hear most of you thinking – change management. Wrong answer! Every single team within the service management realm must contribute and identify changes that can be standardized, thereby saving organizations considerable amount of time, effort and money.