Introducing Change Plan Templates

This is a follow-up post to Creating your First Change Plan Template. This post, about a week later than I was expecting, is on the subject of Change Plan Templates generally, and the role they play in the Change Management subsystem.

As always, remember that this blog is additional, bite-sized info to help people get started with something new. The full documentation on Change Plan Templates and the entire CM subsystem is distributed with the tool itself, in the HowTo guide. That’s where you should go for more info.

Change Plan Templates (CPT)

Let’s talk for a moment about Change Plan Templates. If you are trying to use this Change subsystem for the first time, don’t skip this theory – it will help you to understand later articles and put them into context.

I mentioned in the last post on this subject that before approaching the Serio tool you should have a clear idea of what (in a business and procedural sense) you want to do, what problems you might be trying to resolve, and what you want to acheive. What I’m talking about is the standard way you’d like to handle certain types of Changes – what the major steps are, who is involved, and how long it should all take.

The Change Plan Template is where you store this knowledge about the standard process you’ve defined. When you have an actual Change you need to perform, like applying a server operating system patch of some kind, you take the Template and attach it to a Change so that Serio knows how the Change should be handled. In effect, you're taking a CPT and saying 'for this Change, do this'.

A Test or Training Server

If you want to get started remember that you’ll need a Test or Training Server – so you can learn what needs to be done in an environment that is not live, and will not interfere with live operations or reporting. Serio don’t charge for such server set-ups, so all you need is a Windows 2000 or 2003 machine, and a database server (ideally running a test database which is a copy of your live system).

Components of a Change Plan Template

CPTs are quite complex things. If you are starting out, it might help to think of them as a flowchart on steroids. See Figure 1 for a representation of a flowchart in the tool. Change Control

Figure 1 - Change Control (Serio Flowchart)

What you’ll find inside a CPT are as follows.

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

I’ll post later with a definition for each of these.