Our world is constantly changing; from DevOps to digitization and from technical debt to the cloud. Now, more than ever, we need to meet and exceed our customer's expectations. Change management is the process that balances enabling the business with new products and services along with keeping everyone and everything safe. Depending on your organization; that’s quite a tricky balance to get right.

This is exactly why my upcoming presentation at the annual SDI Conference (SDI18) will be focused on top tips for managing change like a total rockstar, based on my real-world experiences.

A Little Headstart

Here are some of the areas that I’ll be covering in my presentation, with a little practical advice thrown in in advance:

  • Policy; aka setting out your stall. We will look at everything from confirming expectations, to setting your scope and managing exception requests because there will always be an emergency or urgent changes. The golden rule? Be clear, concise and tie into existing company practices where possible.
  • Process; how to make it easy to follow the process and to raise changes in the correct way. Spoiler alert: my session will focus on making sure it’s easy for people to follow the right process! Your change process will be your way of agreeing a way of working with the rest of IT and needs to be a living breathing document so that it remains fit for purpose.
  • Change forms; how to capture the right information so the change can be reviewed and assessed accurately without making it an epic task to raise it. We’ve all heard horror stories about it taking 15 minutes plus to raise a change so I’ll be talking about how to make capturing change information as efficiently as possible.
  • The big questions; from risk to testing to impact on other environments, we’ll look at how asking the right questions can be the difference from complaints and downtime to a complete success. Bonus tip; always, always ask about the potential impact to other environments. Never assume that any impact is limited to the production BAU.
  • Change Advisory Board (CAB); how to change it from a box-ticking exercise to one of the most important meetings on everyone’s agenda. You’ll need to be structured enough to keep things on track whilst maintaining the flexibility to look at process improvements or different ways of working.
  • Communications; how to let people know about scheduled changes in the right way. It’s not good enough to point people at a change schedule report within your ITSM tool or a page on your intranet. You’ll need to consider your service desk and support teams, end users, and customers, as well as third parties and suppliers.
  • What to do when things go wrong; with the best will in the world, there’ll always be changes that don’t go as planned or have an unforeseen impact. Sometimes it’s not about being perfect every time (although that would be nice) but it’s about responding to a crisis without panicking, alienating the business or otherwise making things worse.
  • Empowering your stakeholders; the more people you have invested in your process, the more successful it will be. This part of the session will look at how to give rockstar levels of empowerment to everyone touched by change management.
  • Process improvements; how to keep improving and taking a look at some potential improvement ideas. From using templates and models to borrowing from other best practice frameworks such as COBIT or Lean Sigma; we’ll look at not only maintaining rockstar levels of service but making them better over time.

Interested in finding out more? Come and see me on day one of the SDI18 on the 13th of March in Birmingham. You can view the agenda here. As an ITSM.tools reader you’re also entitled to 10% off the entry price, so be sure to use the code “TOOLS18” at checkout!

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Problem and Change Manager at

Vawns Murphy holds qualifications in ITIL V2 Manager (red badge) and ITIL V3 Expert (purple badge), and also has an SDI Managers certificate. Plus she holds further qualifications in COBIT, ISO 20000, SAM, PRINCE2, and Microsoft. In addition, she is an author of itSMF UK collateral on Service Transition, Software Asset Management, Problem Management and the "How to do CCRM" book. She was also a reviewer for the Service Transition ITIL 3 2011 publication.

In addition to her day job as a Problem and Change Manager at Micro Focus, she is also an Associate Analyst at ITSM.tools.

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