Managing change is one of the most difficult challenges facing IT organizations. To effectively support and facilitate enterprise business goals, IT must continually change. While planned, authorized changes have obvious benefits to systems and users, unexpected and even imperceptible changes can result in serious negative impact to IT systems and processes.
IT organizations are responsible for a complex structure of “systems of systems”, all of which must work together. Each service requires an integrated stack of systems (applications, databases, middleware, directory services, operating systems, and networks) to successfully deliver a set of functions or processes. This complexity means that changes in any given layer can potentially affect every part of a business operation, posing various degrees of risk to the enterprise.
The first goal of change management at K-State is to ensure that everyone potentially affected by a change has the opportunity to be informed of the change in a timely manner. The phrase “everyone potentially affected by a change” refers to
colleagues - potentially in other units and responsible for other layers of the software stack. The reason to communicate with colleagues is to allow them to determine whether a pending change will impact the systems they have responsibility for.
users - the faculty, staff, and students that depend on our applications, as well as the helpdesk staff charged with aiding their use. This communication is needed both to announce outages and to educate people about changes in the user experience after the change.
The phrase “has the opportunity to be informed of the change” indicates that the effective communication requires two parties. It is the responsibility of the technical staff in charge of the change to announce the change in appropriate forums and in appropriate terms. It is the responsibility of the colleagues and users to read and understand the change. Questions are to be expected.
The phrase “in a timely manner” is a realization that there are many different magnitudes of changes. Announcements must be early enough for colleagues to determine if the change affects other systems, ask and answer questions, and to allow for postponement if warranted.
The second goal of change management is to encourage the adoption of best practices. Many best practices are specific to the details of the change, and are not included in this document. However, some best practices apply to almost all changes, such as scheduling. Visit Best Practices to learn more about recommended scheduling and communication guidelines.
Questions concerning the Change Management Board or the review process may be directed to the e-mail address at the left.