I blogged previously for someone taking up a Change Manager role in a small company, and this post is a continuation of that.
The Change Board
Change Managers interact with the Change Board – but don’t be put-off by the civil service sounding title. The Change Board is simply a forum that meets to discuss IT Change on a regular basis. If you are the Change Manager, you may chair these meetings, making sure that each Change presented is fit to be considered (as in having an impact assessment and so on) and then handling the outcome of the meeting afterwards.
Generally, you’ll present Changes for consideration, asking for approval, rejection, clarification or deferment.
The composition of the Change Board varies a lot in my experience. However there is usually someone from the actual user community present. As an example, if you provide a sales order processing system, your Change Board might have the person responsible for the sales function within your company as a member. Involvement like this helps bring a perspective on the value of certain Changes over others, or a user view on timing and implementation, that may otherwise be missing.
The actual running of the meeting varies between organisations. Some hold the meetings monthly, others weekly. Some publish the Changes in advance of the meeting, others simply introduce them when the meeting starts.
Advice for Change Manager: make sure you get the composition of the Change Board right. Make sure you are properly briefed before each meeting – you are sure to have a lot of questions to field. Make sure you record the outcome of the discussions accurately, and confirm your understanding afterwards.
In a smaller company, the Change Manager will become involved in the scheduling of Changes, and will be responsible for liasing with users of IT services that are subject to Change, particularly when downtime is involved. You may find that the Change Board provides you with a ‘window’ into which you can perform implementation tasks, but the actual timing is for you to sort out.
Advice for Change Manager: try to avoid an optimistic estimation of downtime. Be sure to communicate clearly with maintenance is taking place, even if it has been discussed at the Change Board.
You want to make sure that Changes are performed correctly, so one of the functions a new Change Manager performs will be one of review. In a nutshell, what can you learn from the Change just undertaken? Could we have performed it quicker, and with less risk? Did it deliver the benefits we had hoped for?
Advice for Change Manager: Review the completed Change against what you started with, making recommendations for improvement as required.
Owning the Change Process and the Changes
As a Change Manager, you’ll ‘own’ the Changes. You will look for Changes that are late, badly presented or thought out, intervening as and when required.
Advice for Change Manager: even if someone else is handling the Change, you still have some responsibility both for it and the overall smooth running of the Change process.