Everybody knows change is inevitable and inherent in almost all projects. But managing a change requires thorough understanding of change management process, by project management professionals and their team members, a lack of this process knowledge leads to cascading repercussions, escalations and dissatisfaction among stakeholders.

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Through this article we will get to know -

What is Change Management?
What are the features of Change Management Plan?
Who manages the Change Management process?
What is the role of Change Manager?

Change Management
By definition, change management is a process to ensure that changes are recorded and then evaluated, authorized, prioritized, planned, tested, implemented, documented and reviewed in a controlled manner.

The change management process is all about the defining the change management plan and enforcing it in the organization with full spirit.

In general, the Change Management process includes following activities –

1. Planning and controlling changes.
2. Understanding the impact of the change.
3. Change and release scheduling.
4. Change decision making and change authorization.
5. Managing communication.
6. Measurement and control.
7. Management reporting.
8. Continual improvement.
9. Ensuring that there are remediation plan.

Change Management plan

The change management plan guides the project team on procedure to be followed for any change request to be initiated and fulfilled. Few standard guidelines that must be included in a change management plan, independent of the size of the organization, are –

n  A change request or more commonly known as Request for change (RFC) should come through formal communication while seeking any change, modification, removal or alteration to one or more project deliverables.

n  While designing the change management plan it is important to consider that the change management process should be designed in conjunction with other depending processes like release and deployment process and configuration management process. This allows the change management team to evaluate the impact of the change on the current and the planned services/products and releases more effectively.

n  No change should be approved without having explicitly addressing the question of what to do in case the change is not successful or worked as desired.

Who manages the Change Management process?
Usually large organizations assign Change Management responsibility to a Change Manager who established the change management plan in line with the organizational guidelines. The Change Manager works in conjunction with Change Advisory Board (CAB). 

Change Advisory Board is an advisory body, requiring appropriate terms of reference which formally authorized each change. CAB includes individuals who are functional experts, technical experts, domain experts, business executives and other key stakeholders.

The impact assessment of any change is done by Change Advisory Board by answering and analyzing the following 7 ‘R’s questionnaire

Requestor – Who raised the change?
Reason – What is the reason for the change?
Relationship – What is the relationship between this change and other requested change?
Responsible – Who is responsible for the build, test and implementation of the change?
Resources – What resources are required to deliver the change?
Return – What is the return (outcome) required from the change?
Risks -What are the risks associated with the change?

Role of Change Manager
It is important to understand the role of Change manager to differentiate its responsibilities from the Change advisory board.
- Receives, logs and allocates priority to the change requests.
- Tables all RFCs in a CAB meeting.
- Decides which people will come to which meetings related to change requests.
- Convenes CAB or Emergency CAB (ECAB) meetings for RFC assessment.
- Chairs all CAB and ECAB meetings.
- Authorizes acceptable changes.

In the next article, we will get to know - the types of change requests, lifecycle of a change request, reasons for change request rejections, post implementation review and Key Performance Indicators in effective Change Management.

Reference – ITIL® v3 Foundation Study Guide

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