Evolving Change Management
Written by Matthew Catania
In Service Management, the process dimension is often thought of as a rigid, inflexible set of activities that dictate the exact “how” of doing things.
Probably, the origin of this perception stands from early IT Service Management practices which heavily relied on process-based approaches and thus, broadly put, on the linear execution of work to create outputs for consumption, potentially disregarding the service aspect.
One process which is largely considered a tough gatekeeper or watchtower within Service Management is Change Management. It is often seen as adding unnecessary overhead to the agility in value co-creation as required by interested parties, whether internal or external.
This may have some valid weight. Yet, comparing the earlier years of Service Management approaches with today’s methodologies, we observe considerable evolution.
Change Management has evolved, from a top-down approach to one which promotes organizational-wide involvement and contribution thus committing more value through the right levels of control.
Since its inception, the Malta Information Technology Agency (MITA) has embraced Change Management as one of its core practices. It has since then iterated through innumerable improvements, adopting to the evolving needs of the business as the years go by. This is also because Change Management is considered as a critical practice supporting the stability of the Government infrastructure, enabling changes while balancing between delivering the required value at the required velocity, and safeguarding the current baseline.
In the earlier process-based years, capabilities such as Change Management were ticked as completed once a document outlining the steps was created and circulated for adherence. Yet, it is now clear that it takes more than just a process to create value.
In fact, the right balance of focus and improvement is constantly considered within MITA, across all elements that form the whole Change Management picture. Apart from the process aspect itself, which is consistently evolving, also aiming to embrace the needs of high-velocity IT, the Service Management Department is also continually balancing the evolution of, the people involved as well as the related technology.
The people whose primary role is managing or enabling changes, are supported by improving their knowledge as well as their competence, while creating the right culture for their ideas and contributions to flourish. These are the people within the Service Management Department who evaluate change requests, seek more detail and clarifications, set up meetings to discuss implementation plans, report on progress, and perform post implementation reviews amongst other activities and responsibilities.
With a (constantly evolving) process and competent people in place, another pillar is technology. MITA ensures that the right tools permitting communication, evaluation, tracking of change requests, approvals, and other, are in place to permit the right value, at the right level, at the right time. Without the right technology, it would not matter how competent the people are, or how agile the process is.
This practice is also not immune to the needs accommodated via automation, and the Change Management team within MITA is constantly mapping the respective value streams to optimizing them, eliminating waste, and of course increase effectiveness and efficiency where applicable. This thoroughly contributes to our vision of agile Service Management especially in the era where infrastructure has turned to software and thus processes, or practices, should not just align to the fast needs of the business, but rather shall enable and anticipate them.