IT Governance

Why Your Change Request Fell at the First Hurdle

Change managers have gotten a lot of flack over the years, often labeled as parking wardens of the ITSM world. These IT functionaries simply want to make the right decisions, and as Rob Spencer for The ITSM Review sees it, there are limits to what the change manager can do based on the requests they are given. To be fair, that is why some change requests get the boot even before they’re accepted.

Garbage in, Garbage Out

Requests can be blocked for any number of reasons, having to do with a field being left blank or simply listed N/A, answers that are too short or too long, change descriptions that consist of mere code, hasty or unrealistic requests, and so forth. Unfortunately, change managers hate missing information, even if that information seems inconsequential to the user. Rob Spencer explains:

…change management is a decision game. And the only way to consistently win decision games is to make decisions based on the best information possible. If you don’t give us this information, we’ll make bad decisions which ultimately expose the business to unnecessary risk due to operational instability or sacrifice our responsiveness to changing business demands. Or to be brutally direct: garbage in, garbage out.

When a change manager reviews your change request, they’re not out to condemn you as lazy. Really, what they are looking for boils down to a few simple but important requirements:

a) Is the change process easy to understand in the way it is presented?
b) Are there bottlenecks that need to be removed?
c) Can the change be executed with a simpler and less risky approach?
d) Are common change request standards being adhered to? (Are policy and procedures documents being used to inform standards)?

To approach the root of the problem, a cultural change may be required. Otherwise, the issue of proper change requests can be addressed in training. Spencer recommends a graduated approach to educating users that avoids the messiness of involving HR.

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