More about Change Management

I’ve written in the past about change management processes, and if you’ve read my old post you know that I’m a huge fan of change management. However, I’ve noticed that while everyone loves change management in theory, most of us hate it in practice.

I suspect that the software we are using for the change management makes it such a pain to manage the changes that people are willing to take huge risks in order to avoid using it. We are currently using a home-brew system for our change management, but we will soon start using a commercial system that should be customized for our use. I’m trying to collect requirements on what the change management software should do. My main goal is to have a system that will not be a pain and will not hinder the change management process, anything better than that is a bonus.

  1. The system should have good response times. If a user already knows everything he wants to enter into the change request, filling the request should not take more than a minute or two. Users will start feeling physical pain when using the system if the change request form contains pop ups that take 30 seconds to display.
  2. It should be extremely easy to find changes you are looking for. For every change that someone creates, there will be 3-5 people that will want to read the change and will have to look for it. Make it easy for them and you just doubled the productivity in your team.
  3. The system should support whatever processes you have in place. Suppose that a change is considered major if it causes a downtime of over two hours, and major changes should be signed off by a customer representative. You want your system to recognize that a change is major and send email to the customer representative with a URL that allows him to approve. You don’t want your DBA to realize this a day before the change, look for the customer representative, ask her to send email with her approval and paste the approval into the “notes” section of the change.
  4. You want to be able to get useful reports out of the system. What percentage of the changes succeeded? was there a difference between RAC and non-RAC DBs? how many changes were rejected by customers? what were the reasons for rejections? how long does it take to approve a change? what’s the 90th percentile?
  5. You want to be able to do planning meetings and customer notifications from that system. What changes are going to be done next week? In two weeks? which systems will be affected? were customers notified?

I’m sure that by the time the new system will arrive the list will grow significantly.

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Netapp are making decisions by consensus – and live to blog about it.
Steve, on the other hand, thinks that the storage business is dead. I hope Netapp will survive this, because they are such a fun vendor with fun company culture.

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I registered to Oracle Open World 2007! I hope I’ll get to meet few of you there, it can be loads of fun.

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2 Comments on “More about Change Management”

  1. I was pretty happy with Mercury TestDirector — and it used Oracle as a data store, so custom reports were a snap.

  2. prodlife says:

    You used Mercury TestDirector for changes? Didn’t it require tons of customization, because it is actually a bug tracking software?

    I’d love to hear about your experience with it. Maybe write a post about TD in your blog?


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