Often times people confuse ‘Standard’ and ‘Normal’ Change in IT Change Management. There’s an important concept that gets missed when they’re mixed up. This article will help you keep them straight.
Scope of IT Change Management
First things first. IT Change Management is a control process. In addition to its widely understood role of evaluating changes for risk and unintended consequences, and protecting customers from unplanned downtime, Change Management is the single point of control for changes to the infrastructure. Which means all changes have to go through Change Management, or you defeat the whole purpose.
But, seriously, ALL changes have to go though Change Management?
All Changes Go to CAB?
We all know that many changes happen every day in the production environment. These are required to effectively manage the environment. But if changes are happening every day, and they’re all suppose to come to CAB, isn’t that a problem? Aren’t we either violating our Change Management policy on one hand, or hamstringing IT Operations on the other?
This is where a lot of anti-Change Management feelings come from. No offense, but at first glance, formal Change Management just seem out of sync with the pace of modern IT.
But before you throw the baby out with the bathwater, hear me out. Standard Changes to the rescue!
Standard Changes are pre-approved changes that are considered relatively low risk, are performed frequently, and follow a documented (and Change Management approved) process. Think standard, as in, ‘done according to the approved, standard process’. Not standard, as in run-of-the-mill.
Standard Changes are not tracked as a Request for Change (RFC), but are tracked elsewhere, often as Service Request records.
The process for a proposed Standard Change is presented to Change Management to review/approve. The proposed Standard change describes how the change and associated risks will be managed. Once Change Management has approved the Standard Change, it can be carried out in production as needed (per the defined process.)
It’s worth noting that Standard Changes, even after approval, are still under the jurisdiction of Change Management. If Standard Changes start causing Incidents, Change Management can bring the Standard Change back for review and request changes as needed.
Standard Changes are the antidote to the complaint that “every little change has to wait for CAB approval”, and “Change Management just slows everything down”.
Far from bureaucratic, Standard Changes enables rapid implementation of frequent changes while managing the risk
Normal Changes, on the other hand are just that – the normal, run of the mill not ‘Standard’ and non-emergency Changes that require full Change Management review. They are raised as Request for Change (RFC), reviewed by CAB, and approved or rejected by the Change Manager.
Normal changes are often non-trivial changes to services, processes, and infrastructure.
What’s in a Name?
While ‘Normal’ and ‘Standard’ sound like two ways to describe the same thing, there’s a big difference. A Standard change must have a documented process that’s been reviewed and approved by Change Management. A Normal change is a non-emergency proposed change that needs to be reviewed by Change Management.
Thinking about Change Management? Check out How to Implement Basic IT Change Management, How to Mature a Basic IT Change Management Process. You may also be interested in Five Lessons Learned Implementing IT Change Management.
18 comments on „The Difference Between Standard and Normal Changes in ITSM”
Hi Greg, I like what you are doing here. Breaking down the ITIL framework into bite sized chunks is just what the industry needs. People are often overwhelmed with it all initially. You have pulled out the big hitting areas and explained them simply. Valuable blog. I came here via bloggers helping bloggers.
Thanks for stopping by and thanks for the encouragement Mike!
This is bonkers. Articles like these, written to delineate Normal and Standard changes always include something along the lines of: “People are often confused by the similarity in the labels Normal and Standard, but they are actually very different.”
Yes, they are. And the elephant in the room (which no article avers) is that there was NO reason to use synonyms to describe different things. The ITIL world over, people are collectively scratching their heads and wading through unnecessary confusion. It’s one of the daftest failures of imagination I’ve seen in my career.
In my company, we introduced the ‘Standard’ change alongside ‘Normals’, and our most junior team members immediately began pointing to the absurdity.
The following article may be of interest:
People are confused between a normal and a standard change. What is another name for it
It’s the most access article at http://www.ITILfromExperience.com !
While I agree with you, generally, that it confuses people, I wouldn’t go as far as “absurdity”. Any word the ITIL authors could have picked, given the global nature of ITIL, would have some ambiguity to in in some language or culture. Practitioners can call it what they like, and in some organizations that may make perfect sense. The important point is that there’s a significant difference between changes that need full oversight and CAB review, and those that are pre approved.
What words would you find more helpful?
What Greg says is not Bonkers
In your company people attitude and usage of English is different hence the reaction and response is what it is
What is senior member responce
And if junior members response is absurd then it does not mean ITIL is absurd
Wow! A ‘Gate’ obviously designed to keep management knowledge out!
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