Introduction to IT Change Management
Change Management – 3 min read

Introduction to IT Change Management for Canadians

The goal of any IT change management plan is to ensure that standardized methods and procedures are in place and are used for the smooth, efficient and prompt handling of all changes. IT change management for Canadian businesses helps to anticipate and minimize the impact of change-related incidents upon the service quality of your business.


What is IT Change Management?


IT change management is the subsection of change management pertaining to the IT industry. Want to install a new printer? Are you adopting a new software platform? Have you discovered a malicious virus? Are you adding a new domain controller? Perhaps your security has been breached and you need to immediately patch one of your servers. The standardized procedures by which you would address all of the above plus more should be contained in your documented change management plan in order to keep disruptions to a minimum.


Categories of IT Change Management


IT change management can be broken down into three categories: standard changes, normal changes and emergency changes. Each category is handled differently.


1. Standard Changes


Standard changes are changes to a service or to an IT infrastructure. The implementation process, the timing and the associated risks are entirely anticipated. These changes are managed according to prescribed policies. Examples might include installing a new printer or new software.


2. Normal Changes


Normal changes can be thought of as standard changes that involve more investment and risk. Generally, normal changes need to be reviewed and approved before they can be implemented. An example of a normal change could be adding a new server. The risks associated with normal changes should be pre-known and are also managed according to prescribed policies.


3. Emergency Changes


Lastly, emergency changes are changes that must be done immediately and on very little notice. An example of an emergency change might include a security breach that requires a patch to a number of workstations. Emergency changes can be somewhat anticipated but the specifics of the change and the timing are never known. Like the other types of change, these changes are managed according to prescribed policies.


Purpose of IT Change Management


The purpose of all changes is to make your IT infrastructure work better. The impetus for any change could be an incident or a problem. An incident is a single event within your organization that is not working as it should. A problem is a series of recurring incidents. Once an incident or a problem has been identified, IT change management procedures kick in.


Goal of IT Change Management


The main goal of IT change management is making sure all changes to the IT infrastructure and any associated risks are requested, assessed, approved, implemented, tested and reviewed in a standardized and controlled way. Every change follows the same procedure so that nothing is overlooked or forgotten. There are several steps that need to be followed, including:


  1. A formal request for change. This can be submitted in a predetermined format that will be informed by the type of change requested.

  2. There will be a review process in which the requested change will be assessed. The review process will be informed by the type of change requested.

  3. There must be an approval process in which requested changes are either approved, approved subject to modifications, or denied.

  4. Creation of a detailed project plan to implement the change including a clear definition of responsibilities. The detailed project plan is often submitted with the request for standard change.

  5. Review and possible modification of the change plan by a predetermined team of stakeholders.

  6. Implementation of the project plan.

  7. Testing the change.

  8. Creation of a test results assessment and final reporting on the IT change. The final report is to be submitted in a predetermined format, which is informed by the type of change implemented.


The creation and documentation of detailed procedures for IT change management will save Canadian companies and, most importantly your company, a lot of headaches and money.


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