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.