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Aim for More and More Standard Changes [ITIL Tip]

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One of the first things I do in 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 of standardizing changes you might ask?

  • Standard changes reduce 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 a considerable amount of time, effort and money.

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Abhinav Kaiser
Abhinav Kaiser is an author and a management consultant. He has authored Reinventing ITIL in the Age of DevOps, Become ITIL Foundation Certified in 7 Days and Workshop in a Box: Communication for IT Professionals. He works as an agile/devops coach in one of the top consulting firms. He advises businesses, organizations and enterprises in the areas of DevOps, IT service management and agile project management frameworks.

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