Change Plan Template Stages and Tasks

This is a follow-up to my earlier post about Change Plan Templates (CPT), which mentioned that the major elements of a Change Plan were

  • Stages
  • Tasks
  • Durations for Tasks
  • Branching
  • Interested parties
  • Special Actions

Stage

A Stage is a major (actually, the major) element of a Change process, and will include at least one Task (see below), but will often include a number of Tasks. Think of it this way: take whatever you are trying to accomplish (for example, ‘Server Operating System Upgrade’) and then subdivide this into it’s major parts (such as ‘Authorisation’, ‘Scheduling’, ‘Testing’) and these will typically constitute your Stages.

Task

A Task is simply something that someone does. For instance, an Authorisation Stage (see above) might have 3 Tasks – one for each of the members of the Change Advisory Board (see my previous postings on this subject).

The thing about Tasks is that they should be self-contained – everything that people need to know on how to complete the Task should be included for them (actually, defined when you set-up the Change Plan Template).

Don’t go mad with your Change Plan Template & Tasks

If you are in the process of setting-up a Change Plan Template for the first time, stop for a moment. Are you micro-managing? Micro-management of staff involved in Change is one of the commonest mistakes I’ve seen.

Micro-management will make your CPT much harder to maintain, and may cause your colleagues to view the Change process with disdain. It’s much easier if you assume that those participating in the Change are

  • Properly trained and able to perform their jobs
  • That they have some common sense
  • Are generally supportive of IT Service Management within your organisation

(if it’s not safe to assume these things then you have some work to do outside of Change Management).

To give some examples real of micro-management I’ve seen recently:

A Change involving a software update that had a whole Task for ‘Download patch’ when it was in a vendor website that said ‘click here for latest patch’, and then followed this with a Task for ‘Unzip Patch’.

Change that had a Task called ‘reboot server’ as part of an operating system update.

The above are examples of micro-management because there is series of menial Tasks and a heavy administrative burden, and an assumption that the engineer is too daft to do the job in hand correctly.

Checklists are cool

If you have a Task that requires quite a few things to be done, and you want to make sure that these are all accomplished, the best way to accomplish this is through a checklist. When you set-up the Task, include a simple checklist for those who will be working on the Change. It’s easier to create, and of more value to engineers.

I’ll post about the other parts of a CPT later.

Remember that for full documentation on the Serio Change subsystem, consult the HowTo guide distributed with Serio products.

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