Change Management and Change Control
The IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) Service Support defines these as follows:
- Change Control
The procedures to ensure that all changes are controlled, including the submission, recording, analysis, decision making, and approval of the change
- Change Management
The Service Management process responsible for controlling and managing requests to effect changes to the IT Infrastructure, or any aspect of IT services, to promote business benefit while minimising the risk of disruption to services
The Need for Change Management
The key is that whatever you call it, changes need to be managed and controlled so that their consequences are assessed before (and if) they are done and they are approved and prioritised and then introduced at at appropriate time, together with any other matching changes that need to be done elsewhere.
This is true for any product in any industry, not just IT.
Change management inevitably brings with a level of bureaucracy that can slow the process down.
The key in any new product development programme is to decide when items should be brought under formal change control and what that process looks like. In the early stages it is not productive to have too much in the way of change control, if any. While a designer is still struggling to come up with a viable design, he does not want to have to fill in a form every time he changes his drawing or CAD model.
However once other people become involved, especially purchasing and manufacturing, then it starts to become important, so that the correct release level of parts are bought and made. Thus a level of change control is usually implemented once a part has been officially released.
Types of Change Control
Change control and management processes can take many forms and sometimes there is a different (less formal) process while a product is still in its prototype stages, compared to when it is in production. One type of change control that has gained traction over the years and seems to have quite a lot to recommend it is the CMII process from the Institute of Configuration Management. Many PLM vendors have incorporated this process and one of the beauties about it is that it can have a Fast-track version for minor changes, as well as the Full Track version that you might expect. See this example for PTC’s Windchill PLM package.
A study by Harris Kern of changes in IT departments found the following:
- Not all changes are logged 95%
- Changes not thoroughly tested 90%
- Lack of process enforcement
- Poor change communication and dissemination
- Lack of centralised process ownership 60%
- Lack of change approval policy 50%
- Frequent change notification after the fact 40%
If you have these kinds of problems, not necessarily in IT, but in any kind of industry or product contact us to see if we can help you to develop a better system.